I know this applies mostly to our European friends, but I wanted to talk about the issues raised at Open to Choice. For those who don’t know, Microsoft and the European Commission agreed to a landmark settlement which allows Windows PC users in Europe to select something other than Internet Explorer as their default Web browser. A “Browser Choice” screen will appear in the next few weeks, giving users an opportunity to make an active choice in the source of the software that acts as their spyglass into the Web.
Permit me to steal from the open letter at Open to Choice: “It’s an important choice because the Web browser has become one of the most critical and trusted relationships of our modern lives – with nearly perfect knowledge of everything we do. The browser you choose is responsible for providing you with the necessary tools to manage your online life, and to protect your privacy and security.”
I’m not technically savvy enough to know how my browser works or collects data, but the monopolization of the browser market by a single corporate for-profit entity makes me nervous. I’m not a Microsoft naysayer – I use their products daily in my personal and professional life, and I think they’re remarkable. But it is simply a good idea to talk to your friends, teachers, colleagues, classmates, whoever and ask them what they use. Explore your options. Make a conscious choice.