Rival browsers are frustrated with Microsoft’s default browser options in Windows 11

Microsoft has recently changed to allow users to re-change their default browser with a single click in Windows 11. Available as an optional download, installed users can easily switch between their browsers – functionality that was available in Windows 10 but absent in Windows 11. However, some of Microsoft’s rival browsers are still not happy with the change.

Prior to this (optional) update, users were required to set their browser of choice for each file type that could be used, such as HTTP, HTTPS, .HTML, etc. Many have argued that by making the process so specific and lengthy and breathless, it would cause fewer users to switch to any browser other than Microsoft’s own Edge, which is the default in the operating system.

Now Microsoft is offering a simpler switch, but as a cumulative upgrade, most users will have to upgrade on their own. To do this, just check the Windows Update tab under Settings for ‘Cumulative Update 2022-03 for Windows 11 for x64-based Systems (KB5011563)’.

But browser rivals aren’t too happy with how this all turned out. Both Vivaldi and Firefox have raised concerns about The register (opens in new tab) about change.

“This should apply to all users, not just those who are technically competent enough to realize that they need to install an optional update and know how to do it. It should be installed for all users,” says Jon von Tetzchner of Vivaldi. .

“While they made an attempt, the fact that it was done the way it was done leads to the assumption that it’s just being done to avoid being sued for anti-competitive behavior, not to actually solve the underlying problem.”

Vivaldi goes even further when he says that “They [Microsoft] keep trying to make it difficult to switch and use other browsers. We look forward to the EU following up on this bad practice.”

Strong words.

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Pre-update default app settings (Image credit: Future)
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Microsoft Windows 11 Default Browser Apps Comparison Between Windows 11 Updates

Post-upgrade with new default option set (Image credit: Future)

Firefox maker Mozilla seems to agree with the sentiment that Microsoft could do more to make this change easy for users, though it doesn’t voice its disagreement so vehemently.

“People should have the ability to set defaults simply and easily and all operating systems should officially support the developer for default status.

“In practice, we would also like to see progress in reducing the number of steps required to set a new browser as the default and in opening and making APIs available for applications to set the standard that other Microsoft applications use,” Mozilla tells The Registry.

It’s understandably frustrating for browser developers who don’t hold the majority of the market captive to be marginalized in this way. Edge should be the least of concern for Vivaldi and Firefox as Google Chrome swallows up nearly 70% of browser users. However, these smaller browsers have to compete with Chrome’s supremacy and Edge’s home territory advantage.

It’s promising, at least, to see Microsoft recognize that it should be a simple change for users to switch browsers and other default apps. While it’s understandable that the OS creator wants people to use their apps, ultimately they need to make them do so by offering the superior option.

Undoubtedly, it is difficult to get users to switch browsers these days as they have become much more involved apps than ever before. You have logins, with passwords, addresses, bookmarks, bookmarks and maybe even game streaming available via browser, which makes it harder for smaller browser companies to convince users to make the switch.

However, if you want our vote, we’ve tested today’s top browsers and decided Firefox was the best for PC gaming (opens in new tab). That’s good news for me too, as I’m decidedly a Firefox man.

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