The EU’s European commission has fined Microsoft €561 million(£484 million). The fine comes as a punishment for not promoting alternative web browsers made by it’s rivals as opposed to Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer(IE).
In March 2010, when users brought a new computer, or installed/re-installed Windows on their computer, they would get a screen which would allow them to choose rival web browsers. Choices included popular browsers such as Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome web browsers. People would be able to then download and install them. In February 2011, Microsoft took this feature out of Windows with the release of Windows 7 Service Pack 1. They said that this was due to a “technical error”. This screen was supposed to be displayed until 2014.
On one hand, this is down to a problem which a security researcher calls “the tyranny of the default”. The idea is that the average consumer would think that the option which was chosen for them by default is the best one available for them, because someone who is smarter than them chose that option. Since IE comes bundled with Windows, a some people would think that this is the best browser for them.
On the other hand, I think that this is good for something that consumers should have: choice. This is the kind of thing which also gets competitors in this space and other spaces to improve their offerings. It gets people aware that there are choices out there.
As this browser choice screen demonstrates, there are some great web browser choices out there. Of course, you have Firefox, Chrome, Opera and many others out there. I personally like Google Chrome and I encourage you to at least try some of these choices out since they are free. Even on iOS and Android, you have a choice of web browser. You don’t have to use Safari or whichever one ships with your mobile device, as there are choices. Most of them are free to download. If you can, then try some of these choices out for yourself and if you don’t like what you are trying then don’t use it. It’s that simple.
So this brings me onto a question for you to answer. What is your favourite web browser? Why do you like it? Let me know in the comments.