Microsoft will go ahead with its plan to distribute IE7 to XP users via Automatic Updates but it won’t change Firefox or Opera users’ default browser setting the software giant has clarified.
In response to an APC Magazine query Microsoft Australia responded:
Many customers who have a chosen a different default browser may still occasionally use Internet Explorer to view certain websites. By upgrading to Internet Explorer 7 customers stand to benefit from its enhanced security features and more secure architecture if and when they do use IE. That being said choosing to upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 will not change a user’s default browser from an alternate browser. If IE6 is a user’s default browser and they opt to install IE7 then IE7 will become the default browser. If another browser is the default browser before IE7 is installed that browser will remain the default after IE7 is installed. The installation of IE7 will not override the user’s preferences or settings.
This is a responsible approach by Microsoft and good news for the developers of alternate browsers such as Firefox and Opera who had feared Microsoft would use its auto-update strategy to switch people’s browser defaults back to IE en-masse.
Microsoft last month unveiled 12 voluntary principles it will follow to play fair with competitors.
Parts of its agreeement with the US government over its past anti-competive behaviour are starting to expire and Microsoft says it is pre-empting any concern the public may have over its future behaviour by adopting voluntary rules about the way it does business.
However Microsoft may be fearful of its own machinations having just shelled out AÂ¢aâ¬Å¡AÂ¬280million ($467.5million) to the European Commission in fines for its anti-competitive behaviour.
The principles revolve around giving users developers and system builders choice in the software they use and supply along with Windows.
However none specifically address the issue of Microsoft modifying system defaults post-installation so it is impressive that Microsoft is respecting users’ browser defaults as part of its IE7 installation process.