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IE Not Faring Well In the EU Ballot 325

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the who-is-surprised-by-that dept.
unixcrab writes "Most PC users hit the web using Internet Explorer by default, simply because that's what came along with Windows. Now, after antitrust investigations, European users get a choice of browser to install via ballot screen, and initial reports are not good for 'ol IE. According to Statcounter, IE use in France has dropped 2.5 percent since last month's implementation of the ballot, 1.3 percent in Italy, and 1 percent in Britain. It's still early days, and it'll take more than this to chip away from IE's 62 percent lead in the browser war, but it's certainly not a good trend for Microsoft. With that in mind, we're going to have to ask you to place your bets now."
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IE Not Faring Well In the EU Ballot

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  • by twoshortplanks (124523) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:16AM (#31567668) Homepage
    The summary says:

    Most PC users hit the web using Internet Explorer by default, simply because that's what came along with Windows.

    But the way most people think is

    Most PC users hit google using Internet Explorer by default, simply because that's what came along with Windows.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      not really. bing is default. People have to switch it to google (or go to google.com) if they want google to be the default search.

    • by ls671 (1122017)

      Indeed, I have seen many users typing "www.cnn.com" in Google search bar to click on the Google link afterward instead of typing it in the address bar. And no, you do not have to prefix it with "http://" in the address bar on most browsers.

      Many people access any site by first doing a search with the site address ;-))

  • Choice?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:17AM (#31567690)
    Hmm...so when given a choice, people sometimes choose different browsers? This is news? This sounds like the argument Netscape made back when they were suing Microsoft here in the USA...
    • Re:Choice?! (Score:5, Funny)

      by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:54AM (#31568536)
      People always had a choice. Nobody is forced to buy Microsoft's products. But most people want a good deal, and so buy whatever is cheapest. To them, browser choice is not as important as having more money to spend on other pursuits. So it is voluntary trade to mutual benefit, and thus is win-win. Now that Microsoft is forced to advertise for its competitors, it is no longer win-win.
      • by pydev (1683904)

        But most people want a good deal,

        But Windows isn't a "good deal"; it's actually quite expensive and overpriced, given that the same functionality is available even in free operating systems. Windows doesn't even work particularly well; I have had a lot more problems with hardware and software compatibility and usability with my Windows system than with my Linux systems.

        The reason people have to buy Windows is because of bundling/tying and because of commercial software that only runs on Windows. But that'

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Arkham (10779)

      I'm pretty sure that the winner will be the one with the best icon. People are stupid.

    • You also need to make a choice to install the ballot system. It's an optional update, and the user has to manually find it.

  • by impaledsunset (1337701) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:17AM (#31567706)

    I guess most people don't care, and select one of the browser at random, or click the first one. Of course, given that IE has the biggest market share, it is going to drop.

    For the statistics to mean anything, they should tell what percentage of the people choose which browser on the ballot, otherwise it's meaningless.

    Even if most people are choosing IE, it is still likely for IE to fall. So where are the stats about what the users choose on the ballot itself?

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:19AM (#31567762)
      "I guess most people don't care, and select one of the browser at random"

      Spot on. Most people do not even know what browser they are using or what a browser even is. They are given a choice, and they just choose without really knowing what it is that they are choosing from.
      • by zappepcs (820751)

        Because they are not sure what they are choosing, the process often goes like this: Oh? WTF? Well, I'm using MS Windows, don't I have to use MS Internet Explorer? Well, it's probably more compatible with other MS products, so I will just use IE.

      • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:35AM (#31568118)
        My mum uses "The Internet." I had to rename the IE shortcut on the desktop so she'd stop asking me how to get onto the internet.

        This box caused me no end of hassle with my grandfather thinking he had a virus, my mum asking what was on the other internets, and my dad passing all of these calls on to me because he's sick of explaining it.

        It's a big F*** You to Europe. It'll irritate so many people that we'll hate Europe for making MS do it. I already do.
        • I hate to say this, but there is a set of people who should not be expected to use a computer. I don't know what we're going to do with them in 10 or 20 years, when absolutely everything is online.
          • In 10 or 20 years it won't matter for my grandfather, my mum will be a l33t h4x0r, and my dad can carry on "hunt and peck" typing until he wears down his index fingers into stumps and can't type anymore.

            Problems solved.
          • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot.worf@net> on Monday March 22, 2010 @11:52AM (#31569804)

            I hate to say this, but there is a set of people who should not be expected to use a computer. I don't know what we're going to do with them in 10 or 20 years, when absolutely everything is online.

            I think the solution is available soon - the iPad. It's not a full OS (at least, presented to the user) but ought to be easy and powerful enough to get online and do the stuff they need to do (email/web/etc).

            As much as we pan it, perhaps realizing that the iPad probably does 99% of what these people need to do and giving them one may save support headaches in the future.

        • Easy solution, even though it is outside the EU:
          Take them on a nice vacation to a Swiss clinic.

        • by c-reus (852386)

          Do you expect the average person to know that Europe mandated the ballot? If they blame anyone, I'd expect Windows to get the most heat for it (mistakenly, but still). It does say "Windows Internet Explorer" in the titlebar...

          • by causality (777677)

            Do you expect the average person to know that Europe mandated the ballot? If they blame anyone, I'd expect Windows to get the most heat for it (mistakenly, but still). It does say "Windows Internet Explorer" in the titlebar...

            A big part of Microsoft's marketshare is not due to customers who evaluate all possible options and consciously choose Windows. It's from people who have Windows because "that's what it came with." So Microsoft has no qualms about benefitting from passive ignorance. Now when people who could use Google to inform themselves instead assume that Windows is to be "blamed"* for the ballot, Microsoft will potentially experience a little of the disadvantages of passive ignorance. I don't see anything wrong wit

      • That's correct, but now at least people will be aware that there is a choice. And perhaps that will lead to people realizing the other choices might provide a more secure web-browsing experience.... Ok, who am I deceiving here?
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:26AM (#31567922) Homepage Journal

      For the average person it probably doesn't really matter.
      FireFox and Chrome are my favorites because of the plugins and because Chrome feels faster.
      IE I keep just in case nothing else will work. Thankfully IE only sites seem to be getting very rare. Thanks Firefox and Safari.
      I keep Opera and Safari around for testing on my PC.
      I know people love Opera but it just doesn't fit me well.
      The thing is that even IE doesn't really suck and they all work. If you are not into tweaking then any of them will probably work just fine for you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Drethon (1445051)
      People never choose randomly... Which icon is prettier or which name sounds the friendliest?
      • by Thanshin (1188877)

        People never choose randomly... Which icon is prettier or which name sounds the friendliest?

        Or the coolest.

        I don't think I'd even know Firefox had it been called Dulltuna or Slowduck.

        • by hoggoth (414195)

          >> People never choose randomly... Which icon is prettier or which name sounds the friendliest?
          > Or the coolest.
          > I don't think I'd even know Firefox had it been called Dulltuna or Slowduck.

          Introducing my new browser, "Gates Of Eternity". (my thanks to the Heavy Metal band name generator http://b10m.swal.org/cgi-bin/bandname.cgi [swal.org])

    • For the statistics to mean anything, they should tell what percentage of the people choose which browser on the ballot, otherwise it's meaningless.

      That'd certainly be an interesting number. Another interesting number might be the number of people exposed to the ballot screen---it tells you how much to trust the first number. Ask a statistician, or ask yourself this: if two people had been exposed, and both chose firefox, would you predict a 100% market share for firefox or would you think firefox got lucky and wait for more data to come in?

      It might also be interesting to know how browser changes have happened historically---how do the switch rates d

  • 1% drop !? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AchiIIe (974900)

    1% drop? That's all?

    I'm sorry but this does not seem as 'good news' for fans of IEs demise. You are saying that out of 62 of the users who are getting the ballot box, in the past month 61 have chosen IE and one has chosen to switch?

    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      Indeed, what's this "early days" jibba jabba. If you're going to see the ballot screen, you've seen it by now, and chosen the "Just give me the damn Internets!" option. The polls are closed.
      • by tepples (727027)

        If you're going to see the ballot screen, you've seen it by now

        As I understand it, new PCs and reinstallation of Windows on old PCs will trigger another ballot page view.

    • Re:1% drop !? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kufat (563166) <`ten.tafuk' `ta' `tafuk'> on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:24AM (#31567874) Homepage

      No, that's not what they're saying. They're saying that IE's TOTAL market share has dropped by 2.5%, 1.3%, and 1% in the above countries, in ONE MONTH, which would tend to suggest that a substantial portion of the installs from that month utilized an alternate browser. Remember, not every computer user in the EU installed Windows 7 this month!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by The MAZZTer (911996)
        It does not just appear on new installs but also after Windows Update installs a patch.
      • Re:1% drop !? (Score:5, Informative)

        by 16Chapel (998683) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:46AM (#31568378)
        You don't have to install Win7 to see this - I got the ballot box on my WinXP box, after it auto-updated.

        Ironically, I thought it was malware and closed it via the task manager.
      • What's the margin of error on their data? How much does it fluctuate from month to month? Did any governments do any major new deployments, or change their firewall settings to mask what kind of browser their users were connecting with? Until several agencies start reporting consistent numbers I will remain skeptical of anything over 0.5%

    • by KritonK (949258)

      You are saying that out of 62 of the users who are getting the ballot box, in the past month 61 have chosen IE and one has chosen to switch?

      No, he's saying that 0.62 have chosen to switch!

  • why would I care? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by js3 (319268) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:19AM (#31567750)

    why would I care which browser is the most popular?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Individualthink is not allowed here. Report to your nearest behavior modification center, citizen!

    • by shish (588640) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:35AM (#31568104) Homepage
      Which is the most popular doesn't matter so much -- IE *not* being the most popular (or at least, being less popular) is important. When IE had pretty much all the market, the options were "spend 5 minutes coding to standards, have it work fine in most browsers but break for the 95% of people who use IE" or "spend 5 hours working around IE bugs; if making it work in IE breaks other browsers, don't bother trying to fix it in case IE breaks again". Now that it's less popular, coding for standards is becoming a plausible option, and the IE team either need to fix their bugs or get left out.
      • by ClosedSource (238333) on Monday March 22, 2010 @11:16AM (#31569108)

        Well, there's a lot of begging of the question in your historical summary, but you left out one obvious historical scenario:

        PHB: Your web pages are late, what's the problem?

        You: Well, everything works OK in IE but I'm still trying to get things to render correctly for standards-compliant browsers like Firefox.

        PHB: Fire-what? Everybody uses IE. if you don't want it to be Fire-you, button this up and release it. Ha, Ha. Slaps you on the back and walks back to flirt with his secretary

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:38AM (#31568186) Journal

      Because a browser with a majority market share gets to define de-facto standards. If MS goes its own way with web standards (not that they would ever do such a thing) then, a few years ago, you have two options. Either support IE and 80% of your target market, or support standards-compliant browsers and 20% of your market. What do you do? Go with the MS solution. Now they have 61%, so it's not such an easy decision.

      If IE, FireFox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari all had 15-30% of the market, then it would not be worth the investment for most people to support features specific to any single browser. Once two support the same feature, it starts to become worthwhile. Once four do, it definitely is and the one that doesn't support the feature is left out.

      Having no single dominant player in the web browser market is good for web standards. You shouldn't care which browser is the most popular, you should care that none of them is too popular.

      • "Because a browser with a majority market share gets to define de-facto standards."

        Yeah, like Netscape creating JavaScript and MS creating XMLHttpRequest.

    • by dingen (958134)
      It's nice to know that IE is losing ground, because right now, IE's lack of features is holding back the functionality of the web as a whole. Websites could be a lot nicer if it weren't for IE.
    • Re:why would I care? (Score:5, Informative)

      by aldld (1663705) on Monday March 22, 2010 @11:02AM (#31568764) Homepage
      Because if you ever do web development, you are required to hate Internet Explorer.
    • by Enleth (947766)

      Do you suggest that we withhold every single news item on the basis that someone, somewhere might not care?

      Dont care? Don't read.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sjames (1099)

      If you design or maintain websites, you might care a great deal. If IE's popularity drops low enough, you can justify dropping half of your workload. It's not at all uncommon for one thing to work great for Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, etc, etc but not IE. So then you have to add a bunch of workarounds for IE. If you own a business, you might appreciate the reduced cost of having your web presence designed and maintained. If you are the customer of a business with a web presence, you might hope some of t

  • Socialism (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:19AM (#31567756)

    This is what happens in a socialist paradise like Europe.

    The "Evil Corporation's" web browser is forced to showcase it's rivals on an equal footing. The best product wins and free market capitalism dies a little.

    Glenn Beck just urinated on his producer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CaptainZapp (182233)

      Glenn Beck just urinated on his producer.

      Was this televised? This sounds like a once in a lifetime chance to watch Fox News.

  • David Murray (Score:2, Interesting)

    by adric22 (413850)

    In a way, this will probably HELP microsoft because this means less malware infections, which will make their O/S look more secure.

  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:24AM (#31567870)
    • Internet Explorer 8
    • Mozilla Firefox
    • Opera
    • Safari

    Many people have no idea what any of these are.

    • Google Chrome.

    "Oh. I search with Google. This must be what I use."

    • Not so much. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rhaban (987410) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:36AM (#31568136)

      • Internet Explorer 8
      • Mozilla Firefox
      • Opera
      • Safari

      Many people have no idea what any of these are.

      • Google Chrome.

      "Oh. I search with Google. This must be what I use."

      There's "internet" in "Internet Explorer". And they recognize the icon.

      • Re:Not so much. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by thijsh (910751) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:45AM (#31568334) Journal
        There a lot of truth in the fact that users just click anything that says 'internet'. When I install Firefox next to Internet Explorer I can explain that Firefox is a great browser and all but they will never use it, but when I rename the shortcut to 'Internet (Firefox)' and hide Internet Explorer it's no big deal suddenly... People just don't give a shit, they just want to click the first Internet icon and have it work for them... :-)
    • Well, most people will have heard of Apple - it's not like they skimp on advertising. A lot will have heard of FireFox (although a distressing number call it 'FoxFire') because it's been in the news quite a lot over the last few years. If they've ever watched or read the news, it's hard to miss. Opera is less well-known, but if they own a mobile phone with a browser then it probably runs Opera and they'll recognise the logo. And, of course, they'll recognise the big blue E, because that means 'teh intar
  • Next Step (Score:5, Interesting)

    by psbrogna (611644) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:25AM (#31567884)
    Now if there could just be a "Pick your OS" pull-down on first boot ...
    • by selven (1556643)

      Choose your operating system(s)

      Microsoft(R) Windows - The world's most widely used operating system, designed by Microsoft with you in mind.

      GNU 1.0 - Will be able to run Unix programs, but will not be identical to Unix. We will make all improvements that are convenient, based on our experience with other operating systems. When we get around to it, we will add a portable Common Lisp, a spreadsheet and an Empire game.

      Unix 1.0 - Experience history in a lively, engaging way with the original Unix terminal, run

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ignavus (213578)

      Now if there could just be a "Pick your OS" pull-down on first boot ...

      I felt a strange disturbance in the MSForce when you wrote that.

      It was as though a thousand Redmond executives cried out in pain...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      This was one of the things that Be Inc tried. They wanted to do dual-boot installs of Windows and BeOS and let users choose the one to keep after a trial period. Microsoft threatened to stop offering OEM discounts for anyone who shipped Windows in a dual-boot configuration.
  • by nomadic (141991)
    With that in mind, we're going to have to ask you to place your bets now.

    Ok, I bet on Microsoft.
  • My rule of thumb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Palestrina (715471) * on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:29AM (#31567966) Homepage
    If statistical results are quoted to tenths of a percent, e.g., "1.3 percent in Italy" and there is no backup data, including a statement on sample sizes or significance, then I dismiss it as the work of a marketing department hack.
  • Link to Stats (Score:5, Informative)

    by muxxa (729961) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:32AM (#31568036)
    IE has a natural downward trend anyway, so the cited percentage drops should be taken in context:

    Germany showed a slight increase:

    • http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-DE-monthly-200902-201003
  • I presume the summary means "bets on the winner".

    I'm hoping for no winner: a heterogeneous market where people use one of a number of standards-compliant browsers, and I think it could actually be what happens.
    • by dingen (958134)

      a heterogeneous market where people use one of a number of standards-compliant browsers

      This would be of course the best outcome possible. Nobody wants another monopolist to replace Microsoft. Competition is what drives technology forward.

    • by selven (1556643)

      Russia seems like a paradise [statcounter.com]

  • The ballot order (Score:3, Informative)

    by poor_boi (548340) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:47AM (#31568414)
    The ballot has 12 browsers organized into two groups. Each group is randomized amongst itself for purposes of display order. The first group is always displayed first and consists of: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Firefox, and Opera The second group consists of: Maxthon, Avant Browser, AOL, K-Meleon, Flock, Sleipnir, and Slim
  • On one side, I understand how competition in the browser space is good for advancement, but the whole concept of why market share matters perplexes me. How do free browsers, which do nothing but display webpages, make ANY money whatsoever? They seem to be a gigantic money sink to me. The only thing I can think of is the default search bar generating ad revenue, but thats it. What the hell is the point of comparing "market share" of something like this? I don't see how this translates into anything bene

  • Well, I'm betting with whoever owns the dice.

    Someone remind me who that is?

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