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Microsoft's browser ballot, just released in Europe last month, has hurt its browser market share, say market researchers.
What helps Mozilla and Opera hurt Microsoft

Europe's over 200 million Windows computers will be getting an important update courtesy of Microsoft.  The update will give consumers the power to choose their default browser right out of the box -- something Microsoft never did before.  

Elsewhere, Windows starts with Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser loaded as the default browser.  You can change to another browser for your default, but only after you would have to personally go to the browser maker's page on the web and download the installer.  Many customers instead opt to simply stick with Internet Explorer.

Recent reports indicated that Microsoft's release of the ballot screen helped bump European market shares of third-party browsers like Mozilla's Firefox and the European-based Opera Software's titular browser.

New reports indicate that these gains came at Microsoft's expense.  Internet Explorer lost 2.5 percent marketshare in France, 1 percent in Britain, and 1.3 percent in Italy since February, according to the market research firm Statcounter.

Opera, on the other hand, says its downloads have doubled across Europe for the month and tripled in Italy, Spain and Poland.  The release of Opera 10.5 accounts for some of this boost, but the sheer number of new downloads is unusual and a sign that the ballot screen may be helping the third parties.  

Mozilla, the world's second largest browser maker, did not release a new browser, but did report gains of its own.  Describes a Mozilla spokesperson, "We have seen significant growth in the number of new Firefox users as a result of the Ballot Choice screen. We expect these numbers to increase as the Ballot Choice screen fully rolls out across all countries." 

Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari are featured on the ballot screen's first page, in addition to Internet Explorer.  Smaller browsers are also featured if you scroll over, but the small browser companies aren't satisfied with this.

States Flock, a small European browser maker, "To date, new downloads of Flock originating from the browser choice screen have only contributed marginally to growth in overall downloads. This is also the case for the other browsers not on the main screen."

Microsoft doesn't want to change the ballot screen, but the smaller browser makers are lobbying the EU to force it to make more changes.  Describes Flock, "We hope that the changes recommended in our urgent petition to the European Commission are implemented so that all the browsers that have been placed to the right of the main screen will have a reasonable chance of being found and considered by European consumers."

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By albus on 3/22/2010 2:07:04 PM , Rating: -1
We may finally get to see the real popularity of browsers when customers are aware of the alternatives.

Internet Explorer had cornered the lion's share by virtue of bundling it with Windows. It will have to get off its fat ass and work harder to remain competetive.

Customer wins !!!

RE: Marketshare
By GaryJohnson on 3/22/2010 2:17:30 PM , Rating: 2
They may now be aware of the name of alternatives, but not necessarily of the features or reasons why someone would choose those alternatives.

I imagine most people that didn't know the alternatives existed before are either picking the one that has the best sounding name, best looking logo, the best sounding marketing blurb, or are just picking the (random) first one.

RE: Marketshare
By Smartless on 3/22/2010 2:39:45 PM , Rating: 2
Yes the Firefox girl man.... That's why MS is losing, they need a girl to appeal to the nerds.

I have to agree though, if you didn't know, what difference does it make anyway. It just means its random choice now but I guess that's all that matters. Soon we'll be picking whether MS Paint should be in there or some other POS program.

RE: Marketshare
By reader1 on 3/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: Marketshare
By Alexstarfire on 3/22/2010 3:57:45 PM , Rating: 1
No it won't. They will have no incentive to do so.

RE: Marketshare
By Pirks on 3/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: Marketshare
By jbwhite99 on 3/22/2010 4:00:45 PM , Rating: 3
they have a Microsoft girl - it is Steve Ballmer. (I'm sure DT has video of him dancing)

Seriously, IE has been behind the times. Who had multiple tabs first? Extensions? Ad block? Better security? Performance?

Remember, MS didn't make IE - they bought it. They have slowly made enhancements. Key word is slowly.

RE: Marketshare
By funkyd99 on 3/22/2010 2:25:30 PM , Rating: 5
And yet, how is it Microsoft's responsibility to make the consumer aware of alternatives?

Google did something ingenious with Chrome... they, you know, advertised!

RE: Marketshare
By albus on 3/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: Marketshare
By quiksilvr on 3/22/2010 2:46:33 PM , Rating: 2
If consumers wanted alternatives, they would look for it. If the EU is going to force Operating Systems to show alternative web browsers, why not do it for everything? Why not have a window showing Windows 7, Linux and MacOSX and let the consumer click? Hey, they didn't have a choice before until now! It's not like they couldn't have just gone to Google and typed different web browsers, because Microsoft didn't ALLOW it.

Give me a break. The EU is stupid. They have no right to do this and I can't believe Microsoft is putting up with it. And why isn't EU forcing Apple to do the same? Give a window showing Opera, Safari, Chrome and Firefox.

RE: Marketshare
By albus on 3/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: Marketshare
By BZDTemp on 3/22/2010 7:31:49 PM , Rating: 1
Give me a break. The EU is stupid. They have no right to do this and I can't believe Microsoft is putting up with it. And why isn't EU forcing Apple to do the same? Give a window showing Opera, Safari, Chrome and Firefox.

LOL - Are you for real. "The EU is stupid", "They have no right"... first of all exactly why don't you think the EU has the right? Of course the EU has the right. Secondly the EU is not stupid. In fact I'd say you're the stupid one being that you have no grasp of what a monopoly is about.

Oh, and what exactly would you have Microsoft do? Turn the back on a market bigger than the US? Not likely. What Microsoft is doing is playing nice while trying to find out exactly what they can get away with.

RE: Marketshare
By jabber on 3/23/2010 6:08:37 AM , Rating: 1
Oh no the EU is stupid?

For once we have a Govt group that is standing up to unelected corporate interests and not bending over. Unlike some other so called "democratic" Govts that can't seem to operate unless the corporations are involved at every level.

Yes the EU can be a pain but the fact they throw a stone in the corporate control pond from time to time is ok by me.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to get back to living in my so called 'socialist hellhole exisitance' with free healthcare and six weeks paid vaction. Oh the suffering.

RE: Marketshare
By funkyd99 on 3/22/2010 2:57:42 PM , Rating: 2
But IE DID retain customers. Given IE's market share held ground for so long proves its been "good enough" for the average consumer. All this ballot box does is force people to make a choice. The "guy on the street" doesn't know the difference between a browser and the internet. He'll pick the first browser on the list. Or the browser with the coolest name. Or Chrome, because he saw it on a Hulu ad.

There is usually one reason the average guy on the street installs a different browser: he messed up his IE with dozens of toolbars because he never unchecks the "install this crappy toolbar?!" box when installing programs.

RE: Marketshare
By MadMan007 on 3/22/2010 5:04:25 PM , Rating: 2
When are people going to stop the 'IE6 sucked' stuff? Never?

RE: Marketshare
By MadMan007 on 3/22/2010 5:06:50 PM , Rating: 2
Er, I should have written

"When are people going to stop using the 'IE6 sucked' stuff as a vilification of all things IE?"

(Yes, IE6 has, or had, problems which I'm sure someone would have ripped me on if I'd left my first post only.)

RE: Marketshare
By omnicronx on 3/22/2010 2:35:50 PM , Rating: 2
Or we may get to see the power of users selecting whatever they can click on first!

It would be interseting to know other stats like which button position was most likely to get picked..

For all intents and purposes, most people just plain don't care what browser they use, so I don't see how a browser ballot is going to prove 'real popularity' at all..

I only say this because, if the masses really cared that much about which browser they used, there would not be a need for a browser ballot in the first place.

P.S Coming from a now converted Chrome user, I still can't live without IE or at the very least firefox. Chrome is still not up to snuff when compared to Firefox, and definately IE when it comes to pages you can/can't view. JS performance is not everything if i cannot properly view a webpage..

RE: Marketshare
By dragonbif on 3/22/2010 2:51:05 PM , Rating: 2
I thought I would toss this out there...

This is some Microsoft info on IE9.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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