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Mozilla CEO attacks Microsoft for ‘very disturbing’ Windows 10 browser feature


Windows 10

The CEO of Mozilla has hit out at Microsoft for making it more difficult for users to change their default browser in Windows 10.

Chris Beard voiced his criticisms in an open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, branding the new process a “very disturbing aspect” of the operating system.

“The update experience appears to have been designed to throw away the choice your customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have,” he wrote.

“It now takes more than twice the number of mouse clicks, scrolling through content and some technical sophistication for people to reassert the choices they had previously made in earlier versions of Windows.

“It’s confusing, hard to navigate and easy to get lost.”

When a non-Microsoft browser, such as Firefox or Chrome, prompts you to choose it as the default browser over Edge, Windows 10 takes you to a new settings page, which again requires you to pick your default browser of choice.

It’s hardly impossible to navigate, but seems like an unnecessary step designed to make the process more long-winded and confusing.

Microsoft, however, is sticking to its guns for now.

“We designed Windows 10 to provide a simple upgrade experience for users and a cohesive experience following the upgrade,” the firm told The Verge. “During the upgrade, consumers have the choice to set defaults, including for web browsing.

SEE ALSO: How to install Windows 10

“Following the upgrade, they can easily choose the default browser of their choice. As with all aspects of the product, we have designed Windows 10 as a service; if we learn from user experience that there are ways to make improvements, we will do so.”

Windows 10 has generally gone down very well amongst consumers, and we think it’s far superior to Windows 8. Cortana and the revamped Start Menu are particularly impressive.

jp maertens

July 31, 2015, 12:29 pm

Upgraded to Windows 10 from 8.1 yesterday. The lock screen doesn't automatically turn on num lock (neither did it in 8.1, but I had solved that... but now the problem is back). Kaspersky was gone, no Dutch update available, had to switch to an English version. Sound controls were buggy, downloaded a new driver, now ok. The white title captions... difficult to see which application is active, The high contrast themes have colored title captionbars, but they are sooo ugly. Why not let the user choose the color of the title bar (active and non-active). Media files now coupled to apps I do not want to use, had to change extension by extension...
It took me the best part of a day to get it more or less like I want it, and I am an IT consultant...
All other applications seem to be working fine. I like the new look and the way to search. Choosing an other browser made difficult for normal users.


July 31, 2015, 12:52 pm

Users who chose to install Firefox and wish to continue using it after the upgrade would surely seek out the program from the start menu. Or if they had pinned it to the taskbar it would still be there after the upgrade.
If they chose to reset to default 'express' setting during the upgrade, they will be prompted by Firefox if they'd like to change the default browser upon launching it the first time.

It's hardly 'disturbing' or underhand is it?

jp maertens

July 31, 2015, 2:15 pm

But then you are redirected to a Microsoft screen, that wants you to keep on Edge, which will be confusing a lot of users. Of course calling that "disturbing"... it's a nuissance.

Søren Fjelstrup

July 31, 2015, 3:15 pm

I'm just curious.. When you buy a new mac computer, do you have to choose a browser from an available selection? Or is this just forced on windows computers?


July 31, 2015, 5:21 pm

I don't know how confusing it is - it says default browser with a button to change next to it, at which point Firefox is in the list.
I'd guess for the majority of users who have installed Firefox this won't be an issue.

Alain Sylvestre

July 31, 2015, 6:25 pm

And your are a "IT consultant" ? I am a IT network and I had any problem with Windows 10.

Prem Desai

July 31, 2015, 7:12 pm

What a cry baby ....

The option is there. Anybody who has the mental capability to know the difference between one browser and another should be able to work it out.

Chris should focus his energy in making Firefox the number 1 browser again rather than whining about others.

For several years, Firefox was my browser of choice, but lately it has become quite rubbish when dealing with shockwaves and flash. Sort that out first Chris.

Prem Desai

July 31, 2015, 7:15 pm

IT guy here too. Upgraded 4 PCs from 7/8/8.1 to 10. Various av utilities, etc. not a single issue.

Normally I would only do 1 PC, but it went so smoothly, I did 3 more. Nice one Microsoft!


August 1, 2015, 12:46 am

Its just pathetic sounding like Microsoft are begging please reconsider leaving us.


August 1, 2015, 3:02 am

No, there's no "button to change next to it". You have to know to click on the MS Edge logo, to get Firefox. Makes perfect sense!


August 1, 2015, 5:27 am

I don't see what the fuss is about. There are more pressing matters in the world than a few flippin' mouse clicks, get a grip!

BTW, Using Firefox right now on Windows 10 - no problems.

Scott Wittig

August 1, 2015, 7:57 am

Just a side note, I have been experiencing trouble with the other browser's like chrome , or Firefox. They seem to disable my LAN adapter. I had to uninstall them it was so bad. Only the new ms web browser works.


August 1, 2015, 10:20 pm

Windows 10 Edge does not have full screen mode. Until it does I'll be keeping Windows 8.1 for my tablet. I want a totally uncluttered screen when browsing and have access to all controls and tabs by swiping up or left.


August 2, 2015, 7:42 am

Just another nag to make sure they have all your information and your browser history.


August 2, 2015, 9:10 am



August 3, 2015, 9:02 am

True. It's not the most intuitive, but I'd say it's failed design rather than purposefully difficult.


August 3, 2015, 9:05 am

It was forced on Microsoft because of others complaining they had a monopoly. I seem to recall this only being for a 5 year period though, which is now over.

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