Wired Workplace

Keith Collins | Quartz | May 4, 2017 | 0 Comments

Newest Version of Windows Won’t Let You Change Default Web Browser or Search Engine

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Richard Drew/AP

On Windows 10 S, the new operating system Microsoft unveiled this week, users will not be able to change the default web browser to something other than Microsoft Edge, or the default search engine to anything but Bing. They will also not be able to download alternative browsers like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, because Windows 10 S will only install apps included in the Windows Store. Google and Mozilla have not yet made their browsers available there.

Microsoft says this is all for the sake of security, and users who don’t like it can install Windows 10 Pro instead, which is free for students and teachers, and $49 for everyone else. A Microsoft spokesperson also said it’s up to browser vendors, not Microsoft, to make their apps available in the Windows Store.

“Currently, Chrome is not a verified app in the Windows Store, but we welcome Google to join us and submit it,” the spokesperson said.

Whatever the reason, Microsoft has a checkered history with such restrictions. In 2013, it was fined $731 million by the European Union for forcing Internet Explorer on its users, and in 1998 was sued by the United States Department of Justice, which alleged the software company had broken antitrust laws by bundling the browser with Windows.

Of course, the digital world is a very different place today than it was in 1998, and it’s become common for companies to create walled-garden environments. The iPhone doesn’t let you change its default browser to something other than Safari, and on Google’s Chromebook laptops, the operating system literally is the Chrome web browser.

Another big difference is that while Internet Explorer was by far the dominant browser in 1998, Microsoft Edge does not exactly share that advantage today. It’s currently hovering just under 5% of the market share, while Chrome is around 75 percent.

Windows 10 S is the operating system that comes with Microsoft’s new flagship Surface laptop, which was just introduced with a price tag of $999. But consumers who’ve grown used to having the freedom to download and install any software they want, unless they’re students or teachers, should probably be prepared to pay an extra $49.

Comments
JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.