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.