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Windows 11 Default apps settings for browsers is facing backlash from rivals

Windows 11 logo white on top of a fractal variant of the Windows 11 default wallpaper

Microsoft's Windows 11 has a lot of changes when it comes to the overall UI and the feel of it, in comparison to Windows 10. While some changes are probably welcomed by users and Microsoft's partners, others, perhaps, not so much. Among the latter is the redesigned Default apps selection in Windows 11 for web browsers and rivals of Edge like Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and Vivaldi are apparently not too happy with how it is presently.

The process to set a Default apps choice in the new OS could be a tedious one for some as you'd have to choose the default app for different file types separately. Furthermore, you'd also be asked via a prompt to reconsider your decision if switching away from Edge. Apparently, this is how Default apps works in most of the popular browsers in Windows 11 except Mozilla Firefox.

Windows 11 Default apps options for choosing browsers

That is not all as Windows 11 widgets are said to ignore the set Default apps choices entirely and launch Edge instead. Here's what a Brave spokesperson has said in a statement to The Verge regarding this:

It appears that Windows 11 widgets will ignore a user’s default browser choice and open Microsoft Edge for the content instead,

Brave puts users first and we condemn this Windows 11 approach, because the choice of a default browser has many implications for individuals and their privacy. Users should be free to choose.

Firefox, Vivaldi, and Opera have also responded to The Verge as they too appear annoyed at how Default apps settings for browsers currently function. Their statements are given below.

Selena Deckelmann, SVP at Firefox:

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.

Opera EVP, Krystian Kolondra:

It’s very unfortunate when a platform vendor is obscurifying a common use case to improve the standing of their own product,

We would like to encourage all platform vendors to respect user choice and allow competition on their platforms. Taking away user choice is a step backwards.


Microsoft has a history of doing this, and it seems they are getting progressively worse,

With every new version of Windows, it is getting harder [to change defaults]. They understand that the only way they can get people to use their browsers is to lock them in.

Google Chrome SVP, Hiroshi Lockheimer, on Twitter:

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."

So far, Microsoft hasn't put out any statement in response to this criticism. It is possible that the change is only experimentation in the preview builds as Lockheimer mentions, perhaps to gauge the reaction and feedback of its rivals and users. Or it could be something permanent.

Source and image: The Verge

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