I must admit I feel sorry for Microsoft this time round. They’ve already circled round to become the underdog while people realise that Apple are a far worse dictator. Now the EU is kicking them while they’re down for what is probably their most painfully expensive bug yet: not showing the browser choice screen for a whole year.
But what gets my goat is – why is Apple getting away with worse behaviour? When will the EU break Apple in two and force them to stop preventing me from choosing Chrome as my default browser on my iPhone? It frustrates me every day. As a user I cannot perform basic functions without complex sequences of URL copypasta between apps and browsers. Every time I click a link in an email it annoyingly launches Safari which I don’t use. I use Chrome. It’s synced with my desktop, has all my bookmarks and bookmarklets and generally feels nicer. But hang on – do I really have to justify my choice?
Microsoft always allowed the option of changing the default browser (buggy and incomplete as that was) but they got slammed just for defaulting to their product. In my mind this seemed like a relatively sensible thing to do for the end user – provide them with a unified and feature complete experience. Most people never knew there even was a browser, they just “went on the Internet”; even Internet Explorer is barely a brand name, most people probably just thought it was a description of its function. So for the Windows user demographic this new browser choice thingy is a confusing process of technical jargon and irrelevant differences.
All the browsers are pretty much the same to the user. The only difference is who gets the advertising revenue from the traffic to the default search engine. That’s what it’s always been about – not the user. The user is just a dollar-generating eyeball.
If I was Microsoft I’d have trolled the EU and made the “user choice” screen describe the real choice they were making: