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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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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 www.google.com 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


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