It’s finally coming.
Many months ago, Microsoft lost an argument with the European Commission, the result of which is that it has to give Windows users a choice of which browser to use on their system, instead of just installing Internet Explorer 8 and leaving it up to users to go and find, then install, an alternative browser if they wished.
This choice will shortly be rolled out to Windows users in the UK, France and Belgium via Windows Update, with the rest of Europe following in March. Here’s a taste of what you’ll see.
This is all fine and dandy, and personally I would urge you to choose a non-Microsoft browser (Chrome is my current favourite), due to Internet Explorer’s ongoing security problems. You will find Chrome and Opera in particular to be much faster than Internet Explorer. Alternatively, if you like fiddling around under the hood, choose Firefox for its massive range of plugins.
However, there is one sad fact about all this: the millions of users out there who are likely to benefit most from switching browsers – the ones whose computers are most at risk – are the same users who probably have automatic updates turned off and have no idea how or why to turn it on, and will therefore never be given this choice. And conversely, users who have automatic updates turned on and know a little more about their computer are more likely to have switched to an alternative browser already.
I’m not sure if there is a solution.