An Open Letter to Microsoft’s CEO: Don’t Roll Back the Clock on Choice and Control
I am writing to you about a very disturbing aspect of Windows 10. Specifically, that the update experience appears to have been designed to throw away the choice your customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have.
When we first saw the Windows 10 upgrade experience that strips users of their choice by effectively overriding existing user preferences for the Web browser and other apps, we reached out to your team to discuss this issue. Unfortunately, it didn’t result in any meaningful progress, hence this letter.
We appreciate that it’s still technically possible to preserve people’s previous settings and defaults, but the design of the whole upgrade experience and the default settings APIs have been changed to make this less obvious and more difficult. 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. It’s confusing, hard to navigate and easy to get lost.
Mozilla exists to bring choice, control and opportunity to everyone. We build Firefox and our other products for this reason. We build Mozilla as a non-profit organization for this reason. And we work to make the Internet experience beyond our products represent these values as much as we can.
Sometimes we see great progress, where consumer products respect individuals and their choices. However, with the launch of Windows 10 we are deeply disappointed to see Microsoft take such a dramatic step backwards.
These changes aren’t unsettling to us because we’re the organization that makes Firefox. They are unsettling because there are millions of users who love Windows and who are having their choices ignored, and because of the increased complexity put into everyone’s way if and when they choose to make a choice different than what Microsoft prefers.
We strongly urge you to reconsider your business tactic here and again respect people’s right to choice and control of their online experience by making it easier, more obvious and intuitive for people to maintain the choices they have already made through the upgrade experience. It also should be easier for people to assert new choices and preferences, not just for other Microsoft products, through the default settings APIs and user interfaces.
Please give your users the choice and control they deserve in Windows 10.
Blog Post: Safeguarding Choice and Control Online