Print 54 comment(s) - last by B3an.. on Mar 24 at 4:42 AM

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 Xenokyn on 3/22/2010 8:55:26 PM , Rating: 0
Normally I would agree, but the Windows registry has been such a clusterfuck since XP(or before) that without a feature to totally disable the system's ability to access what would normally be default programs, I kept running into issues where these programs(IE, WMP) would be launched even if I had changed every file association away from them.

Since Win7's re-vamped "Turn Windows features on or off" section, and the ability to uninstall/disable(depending on how you want to look at it)IE/WMP, I have never had any incident of IE or WMP ever launching under any circumstance, even if another program tells them to.

I'm glad Microsoft finally gave users a way to totally shut down any and all access to 2 of its default programs. Its not about saving disk space, its about controlling what programs open: how, when, and why. I admit I'm super picky, anal-retentive, or maybe just a control-freak about stuff like this. Still, it always bothered me that other programs could tell IE or WMP to launch even if I had set other programs as defaults.

I would not even be using Windows if I didn't need modern, stable, and fast DirectX compatibility. I would be using Arch Linux, a Linux you have to build from scratch. This way I would have, and be forced to have, complete knowledge and control over every executable running. If and when OpenGL becomes as popular as DirectX(I don't think Wine or others will ever reach a true Windows-like level of stability and speed), I'll have to use Windows as my primary OS and Arch as a toybox/backup.

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.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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