How operating systems can prevent browser choice

Consumers forced to use products which are worse for privacy and security
06 October 2022
Image by Simon from Pixabay

Mozilla has published new research into how consumers across a number of countries and continents install and use web browsers. It shows the importance of browsers to consumers, with the vast majority of people surveyed using them each day. 

It also shows that although many people report knowing how to install a browser in theory, lots of people never actually install an alternative browser in practice. 

Crucially, people raise concerns about privacy and security, but they fail to act on these concerns.

This places the responsibility for consumers in the hands of software providers, and particularly the operating systems which gatekeep consumer access to products like browsers. 

Unfortunately, operating systems are incentivized to preference their own browsers at the expense of consumer choice and independent alternatives.

Operating systems regularly design their systems to undermine rather than facilitate consumer choice.

They can make it difficult to change default settings or install new browsers, and deploy nudges and deceptive messaging to push consumers to their own products.

This means that consumers are not only deprived of choice, but they can also receive lower quality products and less innovation. 

They might be forced to use products which are worse for privacy and security. 

Removing choice and competition harms consumers and society and as a whole. 

- CyberBeat

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