Update to Microsoft’s IE8 Tolerates Other Browsers

Microsoft has issued an update to Internet Explorer 8 that allows users to either keep an alternate browser as the default installation, or else choose to install IE8 as the default.

The reason? A more open Microsoft that is both losing market share to Mozilla’s Firefox and other browsers, as well as negotiating with European antitrust officials about provisions in its upcoming Windows 7 operating system.

The update has been rolled out as part of this week’s Patch Tuesday. “IE will never install, or become the default browser without your explicit consent,” stated Microsoft’s original corporate blog posting on July 16.

After installing Internet Explorer 8, users who already have a rival browser set as their default will be presented with a screen that asks, “Do you want to make Internet Explorer your default browser?” Those who have already set Internet Explorer as their default browser will not see this screen.

“This change applies not only to IE8 installations on Vista and XP, but also when those users with a non-IE default browser install Windows 7,” the Internet Explorer team mentioned on the blog. “We will make this change available in the next cumulative security update for Internet

In Europe, while Microsoft originally countered with plans to ship an EU-only version of its upcoming operating system without the browser (due antitrust regulators who argued that the inclusion of Internet Explorer 8 with Windows 7 represented a monopolistic violation), it now plans to issue the same version of Windows 7 to Europe that it will issue to the rest of the world.

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