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IE Not Faring Well In the EU Ballot 325

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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  • Choice?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:17AM (#31567690) 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...
  • 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?

  • 1% drop !? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AchiIIe ( 974900 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:17AM (#31567716)

    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 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 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.

  • 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.
  • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) <> on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:29AM (#31567976) Journal

    Well Firefox is getting some heat in Europe too, as Germany is warning users not to use Firefox [].

    Of course Opera is the true European browser as it's being developed in Norway.

  • by Drethon ( 1445051 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:31AM (#31568014)
    People never choose randomly... Which icon is prettier or which name sounds the friendliest?
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • by dingen ( 958134 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:41AM (#31568254)

    All the bullshit from here in the US and over in Europe, and god only knows how much tax money went to suing M$ for its evil ways

    I think the two billion dollar in fines Microsoft has received so far covers those expenses nicely.

  • Re:Choice?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arkham ( 10779 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:55AM (#31568588)

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

  • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @10:56AM (#31568606) Homepage

    Canonical doesn't have it's own browser, how can they do the same? And the default browser, Firefox, is available in all major desktop OSes.

    In fact, Ubuntu (like any other distro) is basically a collection of software from other organizations, so they have almost zero software tied to them. You can use almost any other distro and get the same software, only packaged in a different way.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @11:11AM (#31568970) Homepage Journal

    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 the savings will show up in the prices you pay.

  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> 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.

  • Re:Choice?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MadKeithV ( 102058 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @12:14PM (#31570268)

    When Windows doesn't work there's about +1 trillion places to go for help.

    And most of them will say "have you tried reinstalling windows yet?".

  • by AaxelB ( 1034884 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @12:25PM (#31570496)

    Because if you ever do web development, you are required to hate Internet Explorer.

    It's not so much a requirement as it is a natural consequence, in my experience.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @01:02PM (#31571108) Journal

    >>>Why is Mozilla waiting

    I always knew the reason Internet Explorer won the 1990s browser war was because it was the default install. NOT because it was superior (it wasn't - IE was shit compared to Netscape), but because newbies equated IE to internet without realizing alternatives like Mozilla or Netscape or Opera existed.

    NOW that Explorer is not the default, it's losing ground as consumers are finally being told, "You have a choice". I expect within 3-4 years IE will drop below 50% in the EU. Although I'm currently using Opera for its Dialup Turbo compression, I've always preferred the "Mosaic" way of doing things:

    - Mosaic (on my Amiga 500 and Quadra Mac)
    - Netscape (developed by the Mosaic programmers) (on Quadra and PC)
    - Mozilla
    - Firefox or seaMonkey

  • You'd download a browser using the system package manager... Most linux distros work this way, with a single command or selection in a gui you can choose a browser and have it downloaded and installed for you.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @01:07PM (#31571222) Journal

    It's called a "strawman argument". He's not really debating with you. He's debating an imaginary scarecrow that only exists in his imagination.

    And to address the point:

    There's a difference between a two week delay for FOSS to make the necessary upgrades/testing, and a two year delay as Microsoft often does. (Or worse, keeps the flaw secret so you don't even know you're vulnerable, because it makes MS look bad to have flaws.)

  • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @01:16PM (#31571430)

    I always knew the reason Internet Explorer won the 1990s browser war was because it was the default install. NOT because it was superior (it wasn't - IE was shit compared to Netscape), but because newbies equated IE to internet without realizing alternatives like Mozilla or Netscape or Opera existed.

    Yeah, except for the fact that Netscape 6 was a buggy piece of shit and almost universally panned. It's not at all amazing that it was at around it's release that IE surpassed it. So basically you're making up bullshit and reinventing history.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @01:25PM (#31571628) Journal

    it would be best to be standards compliant and shoot for that standard

    When there is no dominant player, it is in the interests of both site designers and browser makes to aim for the standards. If you write a site for the standards, it will work for most people, if you design a browser to the standards then it will work with most sites. This is only the case, however, when there is no dominant player. When one browser controls most of the market, it is in the interests of the site designers to make sure everything works with that browser (irrespective of standards compliance) and it is in the interests of that browser to provide nonstandard behaviour so that you have a choice between supporting it, or supporting everything else (and choose it, because that alienates fewer of your customers).

  • Netscape 6.0 was based on Mozilla 0.6 (I remember it was starting to be usable by then, but definitely not for the faint of heart), Netscape 6.1 was based on Mozilla 0.9, so it is hardly surprising that is was buggy.

    Mozilla 1.0 (June 2002) better than IE6 (August 2001). By the time Mozilla 1.4 came out (June 2003), there was no comparison.

    Of course, that doesn't matter much, since the Browser Wars (round 1) where really lost in the Netscape 4.x/IE5.x era, due to a combination of "default browser" and IE 5.x being pretty good for the time.

  • in other news... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mpfife ( 655916 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @04:20PM (#31574696)
    So when will Apple finally be forced to stop bundling and dang near malware installing Safari every time I want an iTunes or Quicktime patch?

    That's the news article *I* want to see.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982