"Since [May], we have conducted additional consumer research that confirmed strong support for our 'consumer-privacy-first' approach to DNT," claimed Lynch. "We have also discussed our point of view with many interested parties, who want to learn more about how our customers will first experience and control the DNT setting in IE."
It's clear there are "interested parties" in Microsoft's unilateral decision to turn on DNT.
In June, for example, European regulators urged the W3C to let Microsoft set DNT as on in IE10, even though the standards body leaned toward requiring users to explicitly making a choice.
At that time, Robert Madelin, who heads the European Commission's Information Society and Media Directorate-General, told the W3C that it was enough that users be informed of the default DNT setting and given the opportunity to change it.
Madelin also suggested that a first-run option, like the one Microsoft has adopted, would be appropriate and acceptable to EU officials.
In an interview two months ago with Computerworld, Mayer said at least two other browser vendors were interested in also pushing DNT through a first-run option. He declined to name the browser makers.
Online advertisers have balked at browsers that turn on DNT without asking users, essentially hoping that the standard will not be widely adopted if the signal must be manually switched on.
IE10 will also be available to Windows 7 users, but the process will be different for them, said Lynch. "Windows 7 customers using IE10 will receive prominent notice that DNT is turned on in their new browser, together with a link providing more information about the setting," he said.
Lynch's description could be read as meaning that there will be no first-run option when Windows 7 customers upgrade to the new browser. Microsoft was not immediately able to clarify what DNT choices Windows 7 users will see when they upgrade.
Microsoft has declined to disclose its release plans for IE10 on Windows 7.
Windows 8 -- and thus its version of IE10 -- will go on sale Oct. 26.
While Microsoft and the European Commission may see eye-to-eye on DNT, they are at loggerheads on other browser issues.
Last month, the Commission's top antitrust regulator threatened Microsoft with massive fines after the U.S. firm failed to offer 28 million European customers a choice of browsers.