Microsoft chose profit from web advertisements over automatic privacy settings in its Internet Explorer (IE8) web browser, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
While developing the web browser in 2008, Microsoft's product team wanted the software's default privacy settings to automatically block tracking systems used by web sites to record users' browsing habits.
According to the report, after heated debates between different divisions within the company, Microsoft decided that the security feature would make it more difficult for the company to make money from selling online adverts - and scrapped the idea.
Microsoft has since hit back at the claims, denying that the company had ever planned to release the browser with the private browsing mode set as default.
Writing in his blog, Internet Explorer general manager Dean Hachamovitch wrote: “Because some tracking technologies are also essential today for basic functionality, there is no 'Just give me perfect privacy' feature. Distinguishing between a tracking technology and a useful piece of web content is not obvious."