Windows 10
Computer says 'No': Vivaldi's CEO has taken Microsoft to task over taking away users' choices when it comes to using web browsers on Windows 10Getty

The chief executive of web browser firm Vivaldi has criticised Microsoft for forcing Windows 10 users to use the Edge browser on the operating system. He also said that the computing giant should allow its products to compete against rivals based on its merits, rather than trying to create a monopoly by forcing a specific software onto users by default.

Jon von Tetzchner, CEO and co-founder of Vivaldi, who also founded the Opera web browser in the 1990s, has written a blog post saying that his patience has run out with Microsoft.

"Recently I got a call from an old friend of mine. She called with what has turned into a significant problem for her. It all started with the operating system on her PC upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 10 – without her will and consent. Even worse, her default browser has been changed to Edge, even though she had no interest in using it," wrote Tetzchner.

"I understand that Microsoft is concerned with the low usage of Edge, but instead of building a better browser, Microsoft is forcing its product onto people in the most unapologetic manner. Every time Windows 10 upgrades, it changes the default browser to Edge."

Windows 10 has a history of changing default software

Tetzchner also highlights the fact that it is very difficult for PC users who do not have technical knowledge to get the program they actually want to use back, because every time Windows 10 upgrades, it restores Edge as the default option, completely ignoring the user's chosen settings.

And even if the user decides to then redownload a new web browser, install it and then set it as the default browser, Windows 10 would override the user's choice and set Edge as the default web browser once more.

This is not the first time that the computing giant has been accused of forcing Windows 10 users to use default Microsoft software: the issue was first complained about by Reddit users in February 2016.

The users said that a Windows update released at the time, known as 'KB3135173', was causing users' default software to revert back to Microsoft alternatives. One of the complaints was that Google Chrome kept reverting back to Edge. Microsoft said that they were working to resolve the issue, but it seems that it can't have been fixed if the browser-switching issue is still occurring.

"Our goal as technology companies should be to provide great software to our users. At the same time, we should accept that some users prefer software created by other companies. It is our responsibility to be fair to the users, and this is what should drive the technology industry forward. Stripping users of their ability to choose or forcefully limiting their options stalls progress. Focusing on building great products is what should drive us to excel," said Tetzchner.

"What Microsoft is doing is simply imposing their own browser – Edge – on users. So here is my question to you, Microsoft. Where has the user's absolute prerogative to make a choice gone? It is time to do the right thing. Stop stealing the default browser, accept user choice and compete on the merits."

Windows 10 updates that hijack PCs

In a related issue, CNET's Sean Hollister reports that Microsoft hijacks the PC whenever it wants to install a new Windows 10 upgrade, even if the user has work open in various software that hasn't been saved, and as a result many users now don't trust leaving crucial tasks switched on overnight on Windows 10, such as 3D-printing projects.

"Windows doesn't care. Windows will take control of your computer, force-feed it updates and flip the reset switch automatically – and there's not a damn thing you can do about it once it gets started," Hollister wrote.

"If you haven't saved your work, it's gone. Your browser tabs are toast. And don't expect to use your computer again soon; depending on the speed of your drive and the size of the update, it could be anywhere from 10 minutes to well over an hour before your PC is ready for work."

IBTimes UK has contacted Microsoft about the browser and updates issue and is waiting for a response.