Microsoft and friends. It is no big secret that platform holders like Microsoft, Apple, and Google like to steer users towards their own browsers. These claims are neither new nor entirely unsubstantiated.
This time around, the nonprofit organization behind Firefox has once again implied that tech giants that control the popular operating platforms and web services use their position to deprive consumers of choice when it comes to web browsers.
Mozilla detailed this in a new report they just released.
Appropriately titled Five Walled Gardens: Why Browsers are Essential to the Internet and How Operating Systems Are Holding Them Back, it focuses on how people these days use web browsers in their daily lives.
The firm claims that the three most popular web browsers today are Chrome, Safari, and Edge, and the reason these enjoy a bigger user base is because of their parent companies.
Firefox, of course, is not far behind, but it has definitely slipped a lot in standing over the years.
The report argues that tech giants employ a variety of methods to make it difficult or impossible to switch web browsers. This ultimately results in lowering the quality and experience for end users, but it can also increase risks for them.
Outlined then are five examples of consumer harm from operating system self-preferencing, and these include limited or frustrating choice, lower quality, lower innovation, poor privacy, as well as unfair contracts.
Worth a read if you are into the browser wars and all that.
Not the first time that Microsoft has been accused or indirectly limiting the choice of web browsers for Windows users, with similar criticisms have also been levied at Apple with its iOS and macOS and Google with its Android platform.
These companies have also faced lawsuits for restricting and influencing the browser choice for users on their operating platforms. What’s equally interesting is that there have been occasions when these smaller browser makers have taken things into their own hands.
But ultimately, this is something that looks like will continue far into the future.
Any thoughts here?