back to article Mozilla-Microsoft spat latest: Firefox yanks Cortana away from Bing

Mozilla has upped the stakes in its squabble with Microsoft over user choice, having released a new version of Firefox that can sneakily subvert internet searches fed to Windows 10's Cortana personal assistant. Firefox 40, which shipped on Tuesday, comes with "a fresh new look for Windows 10" that includes "bigger, bolder …

  1. elDog

    Windows 10? Does anyone remember that?

    What a balls-up way of trying to climb into everyone's pants. Hey, Microsoft - why don't you just embrace (or be embraced by) the Apple-Sauce.

    Me, after 20+ years of playing with MS-this/that have had enough. Maybe put it into a very secure VM for those poor clients that I consult with, but otherwise NO.

  2. elDog

    Oh, and BTW, congrats to Firefox to standing up the the almost dead lion

    I'm glad they (Mozilla) are carrying the water for everyone else. I haven't heard much from our Chromium overlords.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Mushroom

    I'm Mullah-levels of mad

    Dear Microsoft.

    Stop your shit. Stop it. Did you utter idiots look at "patch Tuesday"? Yes. That Tuesday. Are there any comments about forceful, uncalled-for upgrades to Windows 10? You know what I'm talking about. What's that you say? I need "WSUS"? I need "Mcrosoft inTune?" I need Microsoft Cruddy Directory of unwanted Complexity? Yes, that. The thing that needs a telephony directory by O'Reilly to be "explained". Do you nethermost dumbfucks think you are in a position to play games with your Cortina shit and forcefully collect user data per fas et nefas? STOP IT. Guess what's crawling onto my shitlist? Yes, Microsoft "Enterprise" (more like "play-doo" amirite?) solutions. I knew a few people who want to close the sale before end of year. We will see about that.

    Did I mention that your helpdesk seems to be populated by people who are recuperating from crack addiction and have difficulty concentrating for 5 minutes? START INVESTING YOUR BILLIONS WISELY.

    1. Charles Manning

      Re: I'm Mullah-levels of mad

      But still you support them by buying this shit.

      MS don't care a damn who bitches and moans, so long as you keep buying.

      Yes I realise that you personally might not be buying the stuff - a company does. But you choose to be a BOFH there. Enough BOFHs start demanding "mental danger pay" or taking stress/sick leave for working with MS products and the management will take notice and eventually look for alternatives.

      But, hey, if you think yelling into an echo chamber is going to help you feel better then by all means just carry on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm Mullah-levels of mad

        I'm not particularly mad - it's just the biggest dick move so far by a company famous for them. I have advised all my clients not to go near W10. Here in Spain the government is getting very picky about client data, and is throwing some large fines about (including a jihad against contact forms, for some reason, but that's still better than Cameon's "ban encryption" guff). Using W10 here runs a very real risk of bankruptcy-level fines if you do any client data stuff.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: I'm Mullah-levels of mad

          I believe it's because it's so easy to go after contact forms, almost nobody's legal because the law is an ass...

          http://www.bonillaware.com/web-internet-lopd-proteccion-datos

      2. Fatman

        Re: I'm Mullah-levels of mad

        <quote>Enough BOFHs start demanding "mental danger pay" or taking stress/sick leave for working with MS products and the management will take notice and eventually look for alternatives.</quote>

        In a word: BULLSHIT!!!!

        All manglement cares about is how to duck responsibility for their clusterfuxks. If the use of Nicrosoft shaft products allows that, then they will continue to use that shitty O/S.

        If you make too much noise, you might end up hearing: "Clear out your desk."

      3. kb

        Re: I'm Mullah-levels of mad

        I haven't given them a red cent since Windows 7 and am advising my customers to treat Win 10 like a plague blanket, pretty to look at but very VERY bad to own!

        What is sad is I fricking HATE Linux with a purple passion but if MSFT keeps this crap up? I'll end up with an SSD with a stripped to hell Windows 10 "upgrade" (more like downgrade) for what games won't play in Steam for Linux and the rest will all be done in some Linux distro with a Win 7 skin on it.

  4. John Tserkezis

    "But Tuesday's blog post added that Firefox will eventually disable uncertified add-ons by default – although that won't happen until an unknown, future version."

    Nice how they snuck that one in when they thought no-one was looking.

    It's like Firefox and Microsoft are in bed together - even though it *appears* as if they're not fond of each other.

    1. Teiwaz
      Coat

      disable uncertified add-ons

      > "But Tuesday's blog post added that Firefox will eventually disable uncertified add-ons by default – although that won't happen until an unknown, future version."

      Just says disable, not remove.

      I'm going to assume Mozila are not stupid enough to override users if they really really want to re-enable them. i'd hate to have to get in development add-ons certified just to run them in test.

      "It's like Firefox and Microsoft are in bed together - even though it *appears* as if they're not fond of each other."

      And if that's true, it would probably be an ultimate surrender match (no, you're not getting a link - find it yourself, very special 'add-ons' included).

      1. MrWibble

        Re: disable uncertified add-ons

        "release" versions of FF will block unsigned plugins - you'll need to use the dev channel / unbranded versions to run unsigned stuff - at some point:

        https://wiki.mozilla.org/Addons/Extension_Signing

  5. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Re: elDog

    Er, is anyone actually still using Firefox?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: elDog

      Sort of. My go to browser these days is x64 Palemoon. Does what I want and comes nicely configured out of the box. At least it doesn't eat all the available RAM and munch the pagefile for snack food.

    2. Orwell

      Re: elDog

      You bet!

      It is the best browser out there - by far - yes, I've tried most of them.

    3. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: elDog

      Some of us can't because FF 40.0 launches straight into crash reporter. I know - my fault for having a Mac.

  6. joed

    taking your OS back, one hack at a time

    almost a substitute for 127.0.0.1 bing.com

    though knowing MS one has to stay alert and keep checking the settings (even IE on corporate system somehow enabled url suggestions and sending keystrokes to MS, nice try). Or better yet, block the crap at router level and disable IPv6 routing while there (just in case;).

    It's a shame it's come to desperate measures when trying to keep OS from being compromised by its vendor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: taking your OS back, one hack at a time

      it'd be amusing if Google set up a little statically addressed server somewhere to translate bing queries to its own format then forward them into its engine...

  7. W. Anderson

    Open Source looking more effective and ethical every day

    I commend Mozills for allowing Firef0x to prevent subversive actions by Microsoft in swapping a Windows 10 previous Search Engine for Bing/Cortana.

    These type shenanigans have been taking place with Microsoft, Apple and Google for years, all to the detriment of user Freedom! in technology use.

    Fortunately, for most of the other switcheroos that Microsft constantly pulls, my default use of tightly configured Arch Linux has eliminated any concerns about Redmond trickery.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Open Source looking more effective and ethical every day

      I find Chrome obeys my default search engine throughout updates on Manjaro. It has never changed the default to Google. It seems the overlords at Google and a less evil in this instance than the overlords at MS.

  8. Kurt 4

    I'm getting fed up with Firefox and their constant crying. All because I change my default search engine in Firefox doesn't mean I want it changed in Windows \ Cortana.

    Luckily there's a new option in Firefox to disable this feature, just uncheck "Use this search engine for searches from Windows" in settings.

    Nobody will be using Firefox anymore anyway because according Firefox users are so stupid that two clicks instead of one is too difficult to make it the default browser.

    Sorry but once edge has plugin support, Firefox will be put into storage.

    1. ratfox
      WTF?

      All because I change my default search engine in Firefox doesn't mean I want it changed in Windows \ Cortana.

      …I'm trying to imagine a universe where I want to use a different search engine depending on whether I start my search from the browser or the OS. I think it's the first time I've ever seen somebody claim they want this, but maybe I just lack imagination.

      1. MrWibble

        @ratfox

        I agree - but at least Mozilla gives you the choice - something MS doesn't seem to want to do.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There does seem to be a problem with Cortana

    Microsoft wants it everywhere so they appear to have embedded the thing right in the heart of the OS.

    You can't rip it out and still have a working OS.

    Well, that's the impression that I get from reading a number of blogs where prople have tried to rip it out and run into problems.

    I guess that very soon the word Cortana will get the meaning of 'That Windows Nag that just won't go away'

    I am sure that a good many of the readers of this site can like me see a place for these tools but for most of us working in an office with maybe a hundred others? do you really want a voice assistance?

    Whats the betting that even with it disabled some cock up in a patch won't turn it on again and at a very in-opportune moment that voice will say "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that:"?

    Well, Mr Microsoft, "I don't want this feature on my desktop/laptop."

    1. ratfox
      Trollface

      Re: There does seem to be a problem with Cortana

      I guess that very soon the word Cortana will get the meaning of 'That Windows Nag that just won't go away'

      a.k.a Clippy 2.0

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There does seem to be a problem with Cortana

        Cortana is Clippy with an attention seeking disorder me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me i need to do that for you you cant do without me stalker behaviour and a crack addiction,

    2. The Vociferous Time Waster

      Re: There does seem to be a problem with Cortana

      The paper clip has a voice now

    3. Wensleydale Cheese
      Unhappy

      Re: There does seem to be a problem with Cortana

      'Whats the betting that even with it disabled some cock up in a patch won't turn it on again and at a very in-opportune moment that voice will say "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that:"?'

      That brings back painful memories of Clippy, which would periodically reappear even when you thought you had disabled it for good.

      Edit: Three of you beat me to it. :-)

  10. ntevanza

    Having used Edge,

    I'm sticking with Firefox.

    You can switch Cortana off. It's a good effort, but like any of these tools, its value is in integration, for example with your mail and calendar. It's not that useful for anyone who doesn't buy into the whole bundle. Techies therefore aren't the audience. For the rest, it is a credible ploy to grab market share for Bing and Edge, and to target ads. That is smart.

    However, given past form, and the antitrust reaction, MS are sailing fucking close to the wind by changing the default browser on upgrade. Now that Firefox has demonstrated that it's possible, they will also attract attention for failing to offer an alternative search engine behind Cortana. That is dumb.

  11. bill 36
    Linux

    i thought i'd educate myself

    So i looked up Cortana to get an idea of what it was capable of.

    One wiki page later, i've learned all i need to know.

    Not only is it a fortune teller but it can convert Celsius to Fahrenheit....really useful.

    But the one that had the cornflakes over the keyboard was this..and i quote.

    "Cortana is region-specific, and adapts its voice to match the everyday language, culture and speech patterns of the country its user lives in. For example, the UK version of Cortana speaks with a British accent and uses British idioms,"

    Class!

    1. dogged

      Re: i thought i'd educate myself

      I note your penguin icon.

      I hope your research usually goes a little deeper than wikipedia if you're using that commercially.

    2. F0rdPrefect

      Re: i thought i'd educate myself

      Which British accent?

      We've probably got more of them in just Scotland than the Yanks of Redmond realise, Never mind Wales, Northern Island and England.

      1. launcap Silver badge

        Re: i thought i'd educate myself

        > England.

        Which has a pretty wide selection of accents (one of my previous (Californian) managers had great difficulty with my wife's soft South Devon/Plymouth accent).

        And lets not forget that wonderful Geordie or Northumberland accent. And lets please forget that Essex accent..

    3. Schlimnitz

      Re: i thought i'd educate myself

      But tell it that you live somewhere else and it goes off in a huff.

    4. Wensleydale Cheese

      Wakey Wakey Microsoft

      "For example, the UK version of Cortana speaks with a British accent and uses British idioms,"

      Ah, but which British accent?

      1. Stuart Elliott

        Re: Which British accent

        It's from an American company, it's guaranteed to be an Oxbridge stiff upper lip whilst stroking a black cat, and saying "No Mr Bond, I expect you to die!"

        1. kb
          Happy

          Re: Which British accent

          Nope sorry we USED to think of you that way, but then BBC America gave us too many of your "Are you being served?" episodes So it'll sound either VERY cockney or lower middle class ala Miss Brahms or Mrs Slocombe, although I'd give 'em bonus points if it switched the voice to Mrs Slocombe and Cortana started babbling on about its pussy.

        2. Kepler
          Pint

          Re: Which British accent

          Gert Fröbe did not have a British accent! Or a black cat!

          Or any kind of cat at all, for that matter — regardless of color! (Though he did have Pussy Galore in his employ!)

          But I like the sentiment and the references anyway, Stuart Elliott. And yours too, kb. (As with Stuart, both the sentiment and the references.) So I up-voted both of you. (So far I'm the only person to have done so for either of you!)

          We Yanks being as inattentive and undiscriminating as we are, I am certain that whatever those idiots in Redmond choose will be some kind of hackneyed caricature.

          (Be it a female version of Donald Pleasence or Charles Gray — both of whose pussies were white — or Mrs. Slocombe (the color of whose pussy I've long since forgotten!), or someone else altogether.)

          .

          P.S. May all of them rest in peace: Gert Fröbe, Donald Pleasence, Charles Gray, and Mollie Sugden. (Honor Blackman is still alive — thank God!)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Self Preservation?

    Doesn't Mozilla get a bunch of cash from other search engine providers for routing requests to them instead?

    If people use the Windows 10 search bar, and goes via Bing to Firefox as your standard browser choice, they don't get the money from Google et al, Bing does.

    This isn't about choice, it's about money.

    Always follow the money.

    1. Mod74

      Re: Self Preservation?

      Mozilla were majority funded by Google to pull users away from IE. Once Chrome had established itself and was on the way to becoming more popular than either IE or Firefox they cut Mozilla adrift.

      Today the Firefox search default is Yahoo, so yes, Mozilla getting huffy about "respecting search choices" is in reality them protecting Yahoo's and their own financial interests. Even though ironically Yahoo search is merely a front end for Bing.

    2. Salts

      Re: Self Preservation?

      While true Mozilla makes it's money from Yahoo, how else can they fund themselves? Adverts, sell user data, or many other methods as a user I would feel less comfortable with than they set a default search engine, which I can change and they respect/enforce that change even when the underlying OS does not. May not be altruistic but it works for me, YMMV.

  13. Spacedinvader
    Facepalm

    40 instacrashes, back to 39

    1. launcap Silver badge
      FAIL

      40 doesn't crash, staying.

      (See, personal experience isn't guarenteed to be adaptable to universal experience..)

    2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Instacrash ditto..

      I'm back on 39 too.

    3. fishman

      40 works fine for me on Mint and Android 5.1.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. garryknight

    When I installed Windows 10 I chose to use Cortana with Bing, getting my search results in Edge, and Firefox as my default browser with Google as its default search engine. This gives me the advantage of having two easy ways of searching. And now Mozilla have taken that choice away.

    This is what Mozilla’s Chris Beard would call an “aggressive move to override user choice.” Thanks, Mozilla.

  15. Old Handle
    Facepalm

    That's what you call ironic

    Mozilla talks about protecting user choice while plotting to take away user choice when it comes to installing browser extensions.

  16. pixelgeek

    Problems with Firefox

    Just WHAT are you guys doing or running to make Firefox such a bad experience for you? Genuine question by the way... I've been using it for years now and it's gone through a period of being a resource hog and more prone to crashing, but in the last few years I've found it rock solid on multiple platforms in multiple conditions.

    I work in Educational IT by the way so have seen all sorts of crazy s#!t thrown at it over the years.

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