Windows 7 hasn't even been released in its final form but it has already drawn the ire of rival developers for its alleged anti-competitive behavior. If youve recently upgraded to the Release Candidate version of the OS from Vista rather than performing a fresh install, and chose the express option, you might have noticed how your default browser is reverted to Internet Explorer 8 regardless of your previous setting.
This of course has triggered new complaints from browser competitors that Microsoft is still abusing its dominant position to favor IE. Sure, there is also a Custom install option that lets users maintain their browser settings, but Opera and Mozilla argue that most users will opt for the easiest upgrade path and they have reason to complain. The latest incarnation of Windows, although still in a test phase, has caught the attention of many and will be offered free to anyone for a full year.
Microsoft might change this rather dubious behavior when the final version of Windows 7 arrives, but at the very least it will help them regain some of their slipping market share in the meantime. The complaints are ill-timed for the software giant, however, as it faces a June antitrust hearing where it will defend itself against European Commission accusations that its practices are hurting alternative browsers.