Internet Explorer 6 Forces Bing As Default Search Provider

It appears that Bing is overriding the default search provider set by users of Internet Explorer 6. Several IE6 users have complained that since Bing launched, the search provided went from Google (which they set manually) to Bing. To makes things even worse, when the user tries to set the search provider back from Bing to Google, it doesn’t allow them.

To be fair to Microsoft, IE6 is very old and Microsoft is already up to version 8. I emailed Microsoft about the issue and they confirmed the bug. A Microsoft representative sent me the following statement:

We’re aware of the issue with IE6 and Bing and are investigating a solution. This issue is not impacting IE7 or IE8 users. We respect user choice on search providers in IE and all browsers, and designed IE to enable that choice. We will provide an update soon on this issue, and we apologize for any inconvenience it has caused. In the meantime, we encourage customers to upgrade to IE8 here. Alternatively, Firefox users can install the add-in for Bing here.

Controlling the browser is a big deal for influencing search market share. So this bug is fairly serious, being that many novice internet users still use IE6.

Postscript: Microsoft emailed me again at 2:45am on June 3, 2009 to inform me the issue is now resolved with IE6. The issue was server side, so the fix was able to be pushed out remotely to all infected browsers.

Related Topics: Channel: Content | Firefox | Microsoft: Bing | Toolbars & Add-Ons

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • http://www.38pages.com 38pages

    I’m more surprised that there are that many people using IE6 still! Seriously… If you are sophisticated enough to know how to set your default search provider you should also know how to download a functional web browser.

  • Anon Cow

    I think that anyone who is surprised that there are that many people using IE6 is out of touch with the general populace who lack the incentive, skills, computing power, or desire to upgrade anything that, in their opinion, ain’t broke.

    Seriously, when you view things in context and look at the big picture, it’s clear that historically Microsoft believes it’s okay to force the user to comply, upgrade, pay again, be assimilated only if they don’t *get caught* at breaking antitrust law. It’s not getting caught at forcing users to upgrade that is the problem, it’s forcing them to in the first place.

    I don’t understand why anyone would be happy as a sheep with Microsoft as their Shepperd, poking with the staff and saying, “Move along, everybody upgrade now, onto the treadmill you get.”

  • Bernie

    Well for me it was when I upgraded to IE 8. It keeps defaulting back to the bing home page even after I change it to google.

    It changes back when I reboot. So there is someting else going on here!

  • Bernie

    It also is having the same effect on Firefox !! It changes my Firefox home page to BING!

    What is going on?

  • http://cheinyeanlim cheinyeanlim

    For years, Microsoft has tried to shrug off its reputation as a monopolistic tyrant. Today comes news that seems to undermine those efforts pretty badly.
    http://www.pupuweb.com/blog/bing-as-default-search-engine-in-ie6/

  • Beth2

    I’m using IE7 and it’s doing the same thing, I even chose an option in Google to not allow other search engines to change my default and to notify me when it happens. Bing is still taking over and putting itself as my default search engine.

    I don’t think it’s a \bug\ at all, I’m so angry!

  • hajo joseph

    even after following these methods i couldn’t list google in manage providers.
    This link has simple method to add google as default search engine in ie. http://ajoeblk.blogspot.in/2012/06/how-to-set-google-as-default-search.html

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