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Windows 11 makes it tough to switch default browsers, rivals fume

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Windows 11 makes it tough to switch default browsers, rivals fume

San Francisco: Microsoft has changed the way default apps are assigned in the upcoming Windows 11, make it extremely difficult for users to switch default browsers if they miss the first and only prompt. The move has left rivals like Google, Mozilla Firefox and Opera fuming.

According to a report in The Verge, if you forget to set your default browser at first launch of Windows 11, the experience for switching defaults is now very confusing compared to Windows 10. 

“The default app prompt in Windows 11 that you’ll only see once,” the report said on Wednesday.

In Windows 11, there’s a prompt that appears when you install a new browser and open a web link for the first time. 

It’s the only opportunity to easily switch browsers in Windows 11 which, once missed, will ask you to set defaults by file or link type instead of a single switch.

“Chrome and many other rival browsers will often prompt users to set them as default and will throw Windows users into the default apps part of settings to enable this,” the report noted.

The Microsoft move has received criticism from other browser players.

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“We have been increasingly worried about the trend on Windows. Since Windows 10, users have had to take additional and unnecessary steps to set and retain their default browser settings. These barriers are confusing at best and seem designed to undermine a user’s choice for a non-Microsoft browser,” Selena Deckelmann, senior vice president of Firefox, told The Verge.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s head of Android, Chrome and Chrome OS added: “This from the company that claims to be the most open, with ‘the most choice’.”

“I hope this is just a developer preview thing, and the shipping version of Windows 11 lives up to their claims. This is far from ‘choice,’” he was quoted as saying.

Opera, another rival to Microsoft Edge, said that its is “very unfortunate when a platform vendor is obscurifying a common use case to improve the standing of their own product”.

Microsoft was yet to comment on the report.

The tech giant has started testing its new Office Office UI, which is designed to complement Windows 11, with rounded corners and subtle changes.

The main changes are a rounded look to the Office ribbon bar, with subtle tweaks to some of the buttons throughout Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.


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