Internet Explorer 8 is the slowest of the major browsers on the
market, but it (along with its previous editions) is also currently
still clinging to almost 60 percent market share. Some say
the large market share is because it's relatively secure (despite a
large number of attacks due to its major market share) and because
its easily managed with IT software. None of that explains the
high consumer usage, though, as the general public typically isn't
overly informed when it comes to security and doesn't use any sort of
IT management tools.
Opera Software, who manufactures a popular
third-party browser, complained that the reason Microsoft
dominated in this increasingly lucrative market was not as a result
of merit, but rather via anticompetitive techniques -- by bundling
Internet Explorer with its ubiquitous Windows OS. It
successfully petitioned European Union antitrust regulators to
mandate Microsoft to adopt
a "ballot screen" approach with Windows, giving
users a free pick from a variety of browsers. That feature went
online this week.
early results appear to validate Opera's claims that Microsoft's
advantage was artificially produced. Describes Rolf Assev,
Opera's chief strategy officer, "Since the browser choice screen
rollout, Opera downloads have more than tripled in major European
countries, such as Belgium, France, Spain, Poland and the UK."
does Opera care about browser market share so much? Opera was
among the first browser makers to broker a deal with a search engine
giant (in its case Google) to auction off the browser's default
search engine. As search engines lead to advertising revenue,
and many users rely on the default search, such deals typically bring
tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars to the browser maker.
The size of the deal typically depends, though, on the number
of active users, so getting users to download your browser is
browser ballot screen was delivered to EU users via Windows Update.
When the users update, if their default browser is Internet
Explorer (which is the case if you just installed Windows), the
customer will receive an Internet Explorer Window that prompts them
to pick between 12 browsers, including Microsoft's own Internet
Explorer. Opera is included among the randomly generated list
along with Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
the apparent success of the experiment, and gains for third party
browser makers like Opera and Mozilla, some aren't entirely satisfied
with the results. Shawn Hardin -- chief executive of Flock,
Europe's sixth largest browser -- says that even though there's a
scroll bar to find more options (lesser known browsers), that most
customers won't realize that there's more picks than the ones
initially positioned onscreen in the frame (Opera, IE, Chrome,
Firefox, and Safari). That, he says, isn't fair.
comments, "Frankly, nobody knows there are more than five
options. We see this as unfair."
this and some minor other complaints, the larger third parties,
Microsoft, and the European Union antitrust regulators all
pleased with the browser ballot system.
this success, one can't help but wonder whether the ballot screen
could be making its way to the U.S. sometime in the near future.
quote: Every customer has the right to be given a genuine choice, not just those who are in the know and are aware that there are other alternatives out there, i.e. you.
quote: The ballot systems is simply a way for people to have a free choice. Free choice for everyone, not just you, who is in-the-know about such things.
quote: You may construe that as MS being made to advertise
quote: Then the EU should fund an educational program to make it's ignorant* users aware.
quote: Plus, not to be arrogant, but I'm rather skeptical that myself or anybody else who frequents this site has the educational background and credentials to convincingly debate one philosophy or the other.
quote: Ok do GE toasters us GE capacitors, yes, are there other better performing capacitors out there (lets say yes). Should GE give me a choice in my capaciting needs. And should they have to redo their distribution model to accomodate my desire for non GE capacitors. Because I am unaware of such other options.
quote: The ballot systems is simply a way for people to have a free choice.
quote: And to get an alternative to said product, you have to use it.
quote: I guess your too young to remember all the Netscape CDs that used to be handed out in supermarket aisles.
quote: The rather unique circumstances in which MS find themselves, and their ability to distort and manipulate the market means taht it is not really "free", in the way that we are used to thinking of it.
quote: When you factor in the massive power and influence that MS has, able to vastly outspend any upstart firm who dare to challenge them in the normal way that we are used to, with perhaps only Google with Chrome being able to affectively able to compete, but they came along after all this started.
quote: I agree that normally it should be up to the consumer to educate themselves. However, this is not a normal situation.
quote: There are few other markets where one product is already handed to you on a plate, no muss, no fuss, free/gratis. And to get an alternative to said product, you have to use it. Tell me any other market where that happens?
quote: So its not MSs 'fault. I quite agree, but it's still their problem. That's life, and they are a victim of their own success, but boo hoo, it's all part of the game.
quote: What can you buy there? the vast majority will be MS Windows based machines, with a little section of Macs. No Linux machines there, not even on netbooks, which there was for a short period of time.
quote: I didn't say that MS are a monopoly, or the only game in town, but you must surely recognise that MS are essentially the only game in town for the vast majority of the general public?
quote: What is best for the consumer is.
quote: and their ability to distort and manipulate the market
quote: The tires on a new car are a certain brand, there are other options but should the car company have to advertise for those brands? There are defaults in most of the products we by (anything that has an aftermarket in fact), since when is it the responsibility of the default to educate the consumer on additional options.
quote: Without the browser ballot, most users just kept on using Internet Explorer without considering the alternatives
quote: Replacing the tyres on the car and choosing which brand to go with is just like the browser ballot asking you to choose which web browser you would like.
quote: And yes MS has an advantage as the default, they have grown their OS share (aka they have marketed their product) to the point that it is the standard. Is this advantage unfair? No, anything that is the default has an advantage, but that is reality.
quote: it is NOT Microsoft's responsibility to advertise for them
quote: There is a difference between "supporting" something, and making sure that everyone has a chance to compete on a level playing field.
quote: you cannot debate the fact that the EU is kicking america's ass.
quote: The EU has found that Microsoft has used its dominant market position in the OS market to give it an advantage in the browser market.
quote: Yep, and that is why there are Anti-monopoly laws in EU because these sets of principles and regulations promote and encourage better business practices on all territory of European Union which benefits businesses and consumers alike.
quote: So, to conclude my post; you perhaps sometimes wander why there are a great number of people who despise Americans, the answer is right there on this forum, arrogance.
quote: I just made a statement of fact - the EU found that MS used its OS position to advance its browser.
quote: You have to look at the chilling effect this will have, not just on Microsoft, but on the entire Industry as a whole. Will Android-based cellphones have to advertise other OSes? Will Intel motherboards have to carry boot-up screen advertisements for other CPUs?
quote: Ten years from now, will this ballot screen be a multi-page list to wade through? Instead of developers having to code for 4 browsers, they'll code for 40? Can you IMAGINE the additional costs that will entail? Does that really help consumers in any way?
quote: Again, please tell me what is wrong with fair competition? Being against that, would disgust me to the core. I assume the childish tone of your comment was for comic effect, so I wont be too offended by the way.
quote: Go to hell? way to debate buddy.
quote: But while IE was the default, pre-installed "internet" on a PC, many people did not know that other browsers existed, let alone Opera specifically.
quote: Please, think about people other than yourself, or those like you.
quote: As for advertising. MS are not being asked to promote other browsers.
quote: I assume the childish tone of your comment was for comic effect, so I wont be too offended by the way.
quote: o again, you go for the "I'm a wise old sage and you know nothing of the world little pup" , patronising line. Well I hate to burst your bubble, but my computer use goes back to ZX spectrums and C64s, through Atari STs/Amigas to DOS/win 3.11 PCs etc.
quote: There is a difference between "supporting" something, and making sure that everyone has a chance to compete on a level playing field. Every customer has the right to be given a genuine choice, not just those who are in the know and are aware that there are other alternatives out there, i.e. you.
quote: And if there was any money at all in the browser market itself it would be one thing, but they bring in $0 in revenue. IE does not make MS one red cent, neither does Chrome for Google, FF for mozila, or Opera.
quote: Why does Opera care about browser market share so much? Opera was among the first browser makers to broker a deal with a search engine giant (in its case Google) to auction off the browser's default search engine. As search engines lead to advertising revenue, and many users rely on the default search, such deals typically bring tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars to the browser maker. The size of the deal typically depends, though, on the number of active users, so getting users to download your browser is critical.
quote: It is the defaulting of search engines and home pages that bring in web hits and ad $$$. And this is already regulated in IE. The first time you open it it asks you to choose your settings. I can't say that is the case with all of the others (you can change them but I don't know if they let you choose up front). If anything THEIR business practices are the shady ones as they tend to bundle tool bars and search providers.
quote: So who is more shady IE that lets me choose or browser X that bundles it without a choice?
quote: If IE references Google then MS gets the kick back.
quote: (and pretty positive Google doesn't pay MS for bing searches on chrome)
quote: Using FF right now and Bing sure isn't in my drop down of search providers.
quote: Where is the anti-competitive outcry here?
quote: I really just want to see the look on Steve Jobs face if that ever happens.
quote: No matter how you slice it, letting government decide what should and shouldn't be part of a product is a bad idea. Imagine if 15 years ago, the EU would have applied this principle to the "graphical shell market"...a market that today no longer exists, thanks to OS bundling (and a VERY good thing for us consumers it happened).
quote: How does this hurt other companies? Try starting a new browser now, if you're not on the EU approved alternatives list...it will be 3X as hard to get someone to download you.
quote: You can't give the consumer a choice when it no longer exists.
quote: Opera was able to make a deal with Google to generate revenue, and Microsoft is able to generate revenue with Bing
quote: We've never had this ballot before, and yet there are more browser choices today than there were 5 years ago, or ten. So much for your theory.
quote: Oh, so you can't use Opera to search through Bing, or IE to search through Google? Funny, I didn't think it worked that way.
quote: You're conflating web browsing (an integral part of a modern OS) with the search engine market. They're two totally different thing.
quote: I'm not saying that Microsoft shouldn't be allowed to create competing products, what I am saying is they shouldn't be able to gain a larger market share for those products just because of their position in the OS market.
quote: And again, most people never heard of Open Office.
quote: Toyota is the the biggest car company on the planet, but its easy to find any other brand you want.