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Windows EU Ballot Screen Glitch Killed 6-9 Million Firefox DLs

By - Source: Harvey Anderson | B 23 comments

Is the EU's persistence on upfront browser choices when installing Windows just a nuisance?

Occasionally the EU's rather aggressive stance with huge penalty threats may come across as being petty, but Microsoft's slip in complying with an order had some real world impact.

Mozilla's Harvey Anderson posted a chart of Firefox downloads, which visualizes the impact of Microsoft's decision and the fact that the browser choice was a no-show for about 15 months. Anderson claims that Firefox downloads plummeted by 63 percent to just 20,000 downloads per day, but increased by 150 percent to about 50,000 when the fix was implemented. As a result, Mozilla believes that it lost somewhere between 6 to 9 million browser downloads.

"After accounting for the aggregate impact on all the browser vendors, it seems like this technical glitch decreased downloads and diminished the effectiveness of the remedy ordered in the 2009 Commitments," Anderson wrote.

The value of 9 million missed browser downloads may be difficult to assess and since Mozilla is believed to receive a flat fee for the traffic it provides to Google. Much of the impact could be seen as additive to its declining market share, which hit a new low in October, according to StatCounter (22.32 percent). Google, was clearly not significantly impacted, even if one could easily argue that Microsoft's deletion of the browser choice screen helped soften the market share decline of Internet Explorer.

It's a blurry argument, but we know the EU follows through with investigations and the hefty fines it talks about. Breaking an agreement most certainly will not work in Microsoft's favor.

 

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  • 16 Hide
    jimmysmitty , November 2, 2012 4:47 AM
    YukaWell, the court decision has a good reason behind it. MS screwing the implementation of it is just stupidity.I mean, for all complexity around software these days, a pop up with a few links is not in the high difficulty list. There is no excuse for MS on this one and if FF can prove those numbers to the court, MS could still be in for more pain.And no, the EU's calls on these subjects favor the common folk, so they're not a nuisance. Companies should comply and work them out as instructed.Cheers!


    I don't disagree that companies should work for the common folk but do you ever wonder as to why Microsoft is the only company made to do this?

    Why hasn't the EU made Apple do it for OSX? It comes preloaded with Safari, Apples browse. Same with Android (sure a smartphone OS but still very big) which now comes with Chrome as the default browser. For both people are free to use whatever they want but if they don't care, the browser is there for them to use.

    So why then is it that MS has to comply with this and not any other major PC/OS company? In all fairness I would think they would.

    Of course I am sure it wont happen and Microsoft will probably get into more trouble with Windows 8 since it incorporated MSE (as Defender) into the OS, which is great for me as I use MSE. Soon Windows in the EU will have popups to offer browser, media player, anti-virus and many other alternatives.
  • 14 Hide
    mrmez , November 2, 2012 5:47 AM
    Hate M$, but the EU should just p!ss off when it comes to things like this.
    It's a ridiculous notion that ANY company should be forced to help its competition.
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    Yuka , November 2, 2012 4:19 AM
    Well, the court decision has a good reason behind it. MS screwing the implementation of it is just stupidity.

    I mean, for all complexity around software these days, a pop up with a few links is not in the high difficulty list. There is no excuse for MS on this one and if FF can prove those numbers to the court, MS could still be in for more pain.

    And no, the EU's calls on these subjects favor the common folk, so they're not a nuisance. Companies should comply and work them out as instructed.

    Cheers!
  • 16 Hide
    jimmysmitty , November 2, 2012 4:47 AM
    YukaWell, the court decision has a good reason behind it. MS screwing the implementation of it is just stupidity.I mean, for all complexity around software these days, a pop up with a few links is not in the high difficulty list. There is no excuse for MS on this one and if FF can prove those numbers to the court, MS could still be in for more pain.And no, the EU's calls on these subjects favor the common folk, so they're not a nuisance. Companies should comply and work them out as instructed.Cheers!


    I don't disagree that companies should work for the common folk but do you ever wonder as to why Microsoft is the only company made to do this?

    Why hasn't the EU made Apple do it for OSX? It comes preloaded with Safari, Apples browse. Same with Android (sure a smartphone OS but still very big) which now comes with Chrome as the default browser. For both people are free to use whatever they want but if they don't care, the browser is there for them to use.

    So why then is it that MS has to comply with this and not any other major PC/OS company? In all fairness I would think they would.

    Of course I am sure it wont happen and Microsoft will probably get into more trouble with Windows 8 since it incorporated MSE (as Defender) into the OS, which is great for me as I use MSE. Soon Windows in the EU will have popups to offer browser, media player, anti-virus and many other alternatives.
  • -3 Hide
    olaf , November 2, 2012 5:16 AM
    Shitty Browser choice screen, the one time i forgot to deselect the update it kept appearing every time i would boot up windows .... annoying nuisance....
  • 9 Hide
    Yuka , November 2, 2012 5:19 AM
    jimmysmittyI don't disagree that companies should work for the common folk but do you ever wonder as to why Microsoft is the only company made to do this?Why hasn't the EU made Apple do it for OSX? It comes preloaded with Safari, Apples browse. Same with Android (sure a smartphone OS but still very big) which now comes with Chrome as the default browser. For both people are free to use whatever they want but if they don't care, the browser is there for them to use.So why then is it that MS has to comply with this and not any other major PC/OS company? In all fairness I would think they would.Of course I am sure it wont happen and Microsoft will probably get into more trouble with Windows 8 since it incorporated MSE (as Defender) into the OS, which is great for me as I use MSE. Soon Windows in the EU will have popups to offer browser, media player, anti-virus and many other alternatives.


    Market share... I think that was the reason.

    But yeah, I agree with the "more companies should" as well. There should be more under the eye of the EU commission. And I think there are :p 

    Cheers!
  • 14 Hide
    mrmez , November 2, 2012 5:47 AM
    Hate M$, but the EU should just p!ss off when it comes to things like this.
    It's a ridiculous notion that ANY company should be forced to help its competition.
  • 5 Hide
    ohim , November 2, 2012 6:01 AM
    YukaWell, the court decision has a good reason behind it. MS screwing the implementation of it is just stupidity.I mean, for all complexity around software these days, a pop up with a few links is not in the high difficulty list. There is no excuse for MS on this one and if FF can prove those numbers to the court, MS could still be in for more pain.And no, the EU's calls on these subjects favor the common folk, so they're not a nuisance. Companies should comply and work them out as instructed.Cheers!
    Been using Windows since 3.11 , currently Windows 8 , i have no ballot screen and can manually install any browser i want, i live in Europe and all i have to say is SCREW YOU EUROPE! (or at least the guys who had this bright ideea with this ballot screen), i said it many times before .. OSX has it`s own browser, EU has no problem there. IE is not the browser king anymore and don`t tell me because of this crap that EU tries to put in MS`s OS.
  • 3 Hide
    shqtth , November 2, 2012 6:35 AM
    If anything, if there is a ballot screen, then it should give a choice to download a web browser from a company that needs the market share like Opera (not Safari/Firefox/Chrome) or a web browser that not for profit (firebox/opera). Google and Apple are Microsofts direct competitor in a lot of ways, while firefoox or Opera only competes in 1 way.

    I think if Google and Apple wants their web browser to be included in the ballot selection screen, the should pay for it. Why should they get something for free?

    If anything, google doesn't need more help, and its in a position to kill all competition.



    I don't think its fair a company is ordered too give another company a free lunch,
  • -9 Hide
    shqtth , November 2, 2012 6:40 AM
    Firefox lost nothing. Did they pay for it? then if they not pay for it, they lost nothing......


    One reason why I never installed firefox is too many web pages were telling I should install firefox to make this web page look better, so I installed Opera instead.

    Now too many web pages and software and trying to get me to install Chrome, and those web pages can go f themselves.

    Instead of all these web pages wasting time telling people what to install, they should just make their web page look better for existing visitors.



  • 4 Hide
    Vladislaus , November 2, 2012 8:01 AM
    ohim(or at least the guys who had this bright ideea with this ballot screen)

    It was Microsoft that came with the idea of the ballot screen.
    ohimOSX has it`s own browser, EU has no problem there.

    OSX doesn't have a market share in excess of 90%.
  • -1 Hide
    zybch , November 2, 2012 9:03 AM
    Oh for christ's sake. People who want to use FF will go download FF.
    And a browser ballot doesn't stop them from doing just that!!

    Mozilla is just pissed because fewer people want to go out of their way to download their browser. Those who do are still doing it (including myself).
    Perhaps with the recent news that IE is actually increasing its share significantly the folks at Mozilla might actually realize that they need to make FF better and not just rest on their laurels.
  • 0 Hide
    ohim , November 2, 2012 9:05 AM
    VladislausIt was Microsoft that came with the idea of the ballot screen.OSX doesn't have a market share in excess of 90%.

    They were forced to put alternatives in their product in order to still be able to sell it in EU, so this is how the ballot screen appeared.
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , November 2, 2012 9:35 AM
    Quote:
    Google, was clearly not significantly impacted...


    Of course it wasn't. It advertises Chrome on its home page, so even if people didn't know about Chrome the moment they started their computer, they'd know about it within a few seconds of starting Internet Explorer.
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , November 2, 2012 10:31 AM
    It is a more fundamental problem than the simple matter of free choice in the browser market place. The greater issue here is that it is not the role of government to enforce these types of 'fair play' rules. It is not a matter of what browser is 'best', because it changes every few months. It is not a matter of market share, because nobody have a clear and decisive lead over anyone else. It is not a matter of income, because FF is not paid per DL of their software. In the end this is not even a matter of browser choice, because some websites require IE, while others (like the comments section of Tom's Hardware) require the use of a browser other than IE.

    When it comes down to it the damn EU should be more concerned about web browser compliance to web standards. We live in a world where you simply need more than one browser because some web developers are lazy and do not stick to common web practices which work with all browsers, and some web browser developers do not stick with proper rendering practices. If they were to attack these types of problems, THEN we could have an actual choice in browsers, and we would see web development be taken more seriously. Sadly, this is a money grab, and it is much simpler to get money from a single company than to chase a million little web developers.

    Personally I live in America, and have never had any 'choice' presented to me in the form of what web browser to use, but I figured it out.
  • 0 Hide
    Bloob , November 2, 2012 11:36 AM
    caedenvIt is a more fundamental problem than the simple matter of free choice in the browser market place. The greater issue here is that it is not the role of government to enforce these types of 'fair play' rules. It is not a matter of what browser is 'best', because it changes every few months. It is not a matter of market share, because nobody have a clear and decisive lead over anyone else. It is not a matter of income, because FF is not paid per DL of their software. In the end this is not even a matter of browser choice, because some websites require IE, while others (like the comments section of Tom's Hardware) require the use of a browser other than IE.When it comes down to it the damn EU should be more concerned about web browser compliance to web standards. We live in a world where you simply need more than one browser because some web developers are lazy and do not stick to common web practices which work with all browsers, and some web browser developers do not stick with proper rendering practices. If they were to attack these types of problems, THEN we could have an actual choice in browsers, and we would see web development be taken more seriously. Sadly, this is a money grab, and it is much simpler to get money from a single company than to chase a million little web developers.Personally I live in America, and have never had any 'choice' presented to me in the form of what web browser to use, but I figured it out.

    Windows desktop market share is in a pretty clear and decisive lead though. Not so much in the mobile space. Microsoft has been deemed as a monopoly in the desktop and general computing space for some time now, which is what brings us to the current issue. Things might change in the future (/ are changing) as mobile platforms become more and more common.

    Personally, I know that at least 60% of people are pretty much helpless with computers, and don't know the difference between ie and internet.
  • 2 Hide
    cosmic101 , November 2, 2012 11:40 AM
    I live in Europe and we see the EU meddle in our lives everyday.
    It has it sticky fingers in everything, it's just a shame MS was not prepared to bribe the right politicians, problem could have disappeared overnight.
  • 0 Hide
    jcoultas98 , November 2, 2012 12:36 PM
    TBH, i see no reason microsoft should offer other competitor's products in the first place. Silly EU capitalism soul crushing regulations.
  • 1 Hide
    warezme , November 2, 2012 12:38 PM
    I don't know anything about ballot boxes cause I'm in the US but 99.9% of people would be better served when they get a new computer, a) wipe it by formatting b) reinstall a fresh copy of their OS of choice c) optimize it by removing all unneeded running services d) install all their programs of choice and browser removing bing and IE as default completely. Their computers would run much, much faster and include only the programs they want to run. You don't know how to do this? Pay someone to do it for you or figure it out. It is a computer, not an appliance. If you can't think beyond pushing the start button and clicking a few icons you have no reason to complain about ANYTHING that you don't like about it.
  • 0 Hide
    Vladislaus , November 2, 2012 12:55 PM
    ohimThey were forced to put alternatives in their product in order to still be able to sell it in EU, so this is how the ballot screen appeared.

    Please read the result from the lawsuit against Microsoft. Microsoft wasn't forced to put alternatives in their product. The EU wanted IE removed from Windows, it was Microsoft that proposed this compromise.
  • 0 Hide
    f-14 , November 2, 2012 3:15 PM
    if the EU doesn't like it when you don't choose IE microsoft should just eliminate internet connectivity in windows by default as well.

    the EU is so asinine about this i'm surprised they aren't forcing microsoft to bundle linux, OS X, Android, and other operating system choices in microsoft software as well with a choice box on start up
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