Mozilla, the company behind the web browser Firefox, is accusing Microsoft of discouraging users from changing default applications in Windows 10. Microsoft's latest operating system, released this week, changed the way to set preferred applications for Internet browsing, calendar and other apps. Now a user has to work through more options and pages to make basic changes.
The move drove Mozilla CEO Chris Beard to pen an open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, urging the company to respect user choice.
"It now takes more than twice the number of mouse clicks, scrolling through content and some technical sophistication for people to reassert the choices they had previously made in earlier versions of Windows," he said in the letter. "It's confusing, hard to navigate and easy to get lost."
Microsoft released a statement of its own, asserting that they give users ample chances to set their preferences.
"During the upgrade, consumers have the choice to set defaults, including for web browsing. Following the upgrade, they can easily choose the default browser of their choice,” the company told Mashable in an emailed statement.
But a Mozilla video tutorial underscores how much harder it is to change preferred apps.
In previous versions of Windows (and currently in Mac OS X), it asks if you want to set it as default the first time you use a browser different from the built-in one. All you have to do is click yes, and the change is made.
But now, if you click yes, you’re taken to a settings page where you’ll have to manually designate a different browser as default.
Microsoft has tremendous incentive to prevent users from using third party apps. The company's new Edge browser launched alongside Windows 10. The company also now leans on its own apps and services more than ever, going so far as putting them on competing platforms like iOS and Android too. If people don't use and depend on Microsoft services on Windows, they might leave for other apps or platforms.
Mozilla isn’t your usual tech company; it's a nonprofit which promotes free open-source programs on the web.
"Mozilla exists to bring choice, control and opportunity to everyone. We build Firefox and our other products for this reason," said Beard in the open letter.