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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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Will US customers get a ballot screen?
By Xenokyn on 3/22/2010 2:09:58 PM , Rating: 2
I'd really like one. Wouldn't it save me the trouble of having to manually uninstall MSIE via the Windows 7 control panel? I already keep an up to date copy of Firefox's installer on a separate disk, but uninstalling MSIE is just one more annoying thing I have to configure that requires a reboot on a fresh Win7 install.

RE: Will US customers get a ballot screen?
By funkyd99 on 3/22/2010 2:30:32 PM , Rating: 5
Do you really think uninstalling MSIE does anything more than remove a few icons?

RE: Will US customers get a ballot screen?
By Xenokyn on 3/22/2010 2:33:14 PM , Rating: 1
Yes. Read my next post. It removes certain registry entries that allow IE to be associated with anything, and removes the actual iexplore.exe file. Same story with WMP.

RE: Will US customers get a ballot screen?
By funkyd99 on 3/22/2010 2:39:15 PM , Rating: 2
Just out of curiosity, what happens when you open Windows Explorer and type in a web address?

RE: Will US customers get a ballot screen?
By Xenokyn on 3/22/2010 2:42:54 PM , Rating: 5
Good question. WinXP and Vista would allow you to use this to get around the "uninstallation" of IE, because it would actually only remove icons, as you mentioned. But in Win7, typing in in the Explorer address bar opens the webpage in Firefox, or whatever your default browser is =).

RE: Will US customers get a ballot screen?
By Xenokyn on 3/22/2010 2:45:13 PM , Rating: 5
Oh, and assuming you have uninstalled IE8 and have not installed a browser at all, it will display an error message.

By funkyd99 on 3/22/2010 3:05:16 PM , Rating: 2
I stand corrected! Thanks for the info.

RE: Will US customers get a ballot screen?
By MrPoletski on 3/23/2010 7:11:17 AM , Rating: 2
I never had a ballot screen and typing a web address in an explorer bar changes the explorer window into a firefox one.

Plus I also deliberately havent removed ie in case I get a webpage that doesn't work in firefox, or just to get a 'second opinion' when a webpage isn't loading properly.

By MrPoletski on 3/23/2010 7:11:39 AM , Rating: 2
... Under vista SP2

RE: Will US customers get a ballot screen?
By omnicronx on 3/22/2010 3:03:45 PM , Rating: 4
You do realize installing any other browser will overwrite those reg entries right?

As the other poster said, you are basically removing a few icons.. Installing another browser and removing IE icons in the two places they exist would have basically the same effect. At that point the only way to access IE is to run the executable directly, but at least you can still fall back to IE if you have too.

I'm not an IE user, but I'm not about to make the case that other browsers can view all web content. Chrome in particular (which I use as my default) is incompatible with many webpages. (now that may not be the fault of Chrome, but devs coding with IE/another browser in mind, but that does not mean it is a non issue)

By Xenokyn on 3/23/2010 7:14:58 AM , Rating: 2
If I run Valve's Steam, and click on a link in steam, it will open IE no matter what other browser I have installed. There are a few other games and programs that use the Windows core HTML engine that will directly launch IE, even if you have set another browser as your default. Up until Win7, IE could still be launched even after it was turned off in the "Turn Windows features on or off" section in the control panel.

What I'm noticing is Win7, unlike Vista or XP, totally disables IE or WMP from being launched, even if another program tries to launch it. Unlike previous versions of Windows, Win7's revamped control panel totally shuts off any and all ability you or other programs have to launch the programs you disable. It not only changes all registry keys so that IE/WMP won't be launched by anything, but it deletes their actual .exe files as well, to make sure no program can force them to launch.

To me, this is a major step forward from XP/Vista's "just removing a few icons" method. They have come one step closer to completely separating default Windows software(WMP/IE) from the core OS functionality.

By Samus on 3/22/2010 6:04:31 PM , Rating: 3
Why are you uninstalling two fundemental windows resources to save 10MB of disk space?

American's don't need a ballot box. We're not tools. If somebody is so ignorant they need a ballot box to show them alternatives, chances are Internet Explorer would have done the job for them all along. This is an advertising product that has been wrongly pushed down Microsoft's throat to market their competitors products, because they're a big baddie.

This whole situation just goes to show how fucking broken our world is. What's next...

RE: Will US customers get a ballot screen?
By Xenokyn on 3/22/2010 2:31:26 PM , Rating: 1
To elaborate: By uninstall, I mean Control Panel>Programs and Features>Turn Windows features on or off>(uncheck IE8, WMP, etc). Even though this only uninstalls the executable files(not all of the program files, registry entries, etc.), it still allows me to use my own programs of choice without the hassle of files "accidentally" reverting to being associated with the Windows defaults.

This single addition to the control panel is my favorite improvement to Win7 from previous versions. The only thing I would like more is an option to install Windows without those programs even existing on the default installation.

RE: Will US customers get a ballot screen?
By diego10arg on 3/22/2010 3:41:18 PM , Rating: 4
Totally unnecesary, in my opinion.
Just don't start IE and that will work.

Set your Chrome/FF/Whatever as your default web browser and that's it.

RE: Will US customers get a ballot screen?
By Xenokyn on 3/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: Will US customers get a ballot screen?
By Xenokyn on 3/22/2010 8:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
fix="if and when" to "If and until"

By B3an on 3/24/2010 4:42:20 AM , Rating: 2
I dont know why idiots are rating you down. You're right.

As just one example, Steam will still use IE regardless of what browser you have as default.

By afkrotch on 3/23/2010 2:06:14 AM , Rating: 3
I use Winamp for all my music files and Media Player Classic for all video files. I've never once had any files revert to anything Windows, since setting those as default. I've never had any of them popup randomly either. Be in on Win2k, WinXP, or Win7. I've also never disabled them on my systems either. I just deleted the icons and went on my way.

Also, build two computers if you hate Windows so much. One for your games or whatever, the other for whatever it is you do.

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot

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