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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: 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.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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