Browser ballot doubles Opera downloads

Browser ballot doubles Opera downloads

Summary: Microsoft's browser ballot choice screen for European PCs has led to a boost in downloads for Opera, the company that prompted the investigation that led to the introduction of the feature.

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Microsoft's browser ballot choice screen has led to a boost in downloads for Opera, the company that prompted the European Commission investigation that led to the introduction of the feature.

Opera said on Thursday that downloads of its desktop browser in European countries have more than doubled as a direct result of the ballot choice that Microsoft introduced at the beginning of March.

"This confirms that when users are given a real choice on how they choose the most important piece of software on their computer — the browser — they will try out alternatives," said Håkon Wium Lie, chief technology office at Opera Software. "A multitude of browsers will make the web more standardized and easier to browse."

Opera said over a three-day period in March, its European download figures for Opera 10.50 are up an average of 130 percent as a result of the ballot, with 53 percent of its overall downloads resulting directly from the ballot. The figures are based on statistics for 17 European countries collected from 12-14 March, which were then averaged out.

For more of this story, read Microsoft browser ballot doubles Opera downloads on ZDNet UK.

Topics: Browser, Microsoft, Software

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61 comments
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  • This is not about "choice", it is about free advertising

    Since people have [b]always[/b] had a choice of which browser they can choose to run on Windows, this really only boils down to free advertising.

    Since Opera's "business model" is too pathetic to allow them to advertise on their own, they had to run crying to the EC and convinced the technically inept EC that free advertising is the same thing as "choice".

    Pathetic really...
    Qbt
    • We are dealing with a new marketplace

      not bricks and mortar stores and advertising.

      When the top competitor platform is so pervasive, choice is obscured. Even MS does not "advertise" is browser but simply makes sure that if you use Windows, you use IE. Choice may exist but, with a "free" product, how much can you spend on advertising. MS controls the browser advertising bill board (the OS) and freely markets its own browser while the others a buried in the internet.

      The idea that "people have always had a choice" ignores that the majority does not realize there is a choice. NOW they know there is a choice and the fact that downloads have doubled for Opera indicates that many did not know there was a choice. Is it free advertising? I'd say so. But in this move to an electronic marketplace controlled by a major player, I think it is in the consumers interest. It does not keep people from sticking to MS IE, but it does inform users of their options.

      I think it is pathetic that some feel one of the richest software companies needs to be protected from its browser now having to compete on merit rather than being given a default position as consumers are up front advised of their options. I have more faith in IE than many of its supporters seem to have as, though I believe many will choose to try alternatives, the majority will stick with IE.
      Viva la crank dodo
      • slight correction to your post...

        From:
        "Even MS does not "advertise" is browser but simply makes sure that if you use Windows, you use IE"

        To:
        "Even MS does not "advertise" is browser but simply makes sure that if you use Windows, you *can* use IE without having to download it separately"

        I think it's pathetic that this ruling from the EU doesn't apply to *ALL* operating system, regardless if it's a free OS or at cost.
        PollyProteus
        • If

          one feels the ballot screen is advertising for IE competitors, then how is putting the IE directly on the desktop not advertising? So now this ballot screen makes it so that you *can* use a free browser without downloading it separately.

          I find it pathetic that many feel this Goliath needs protecting. MS had the option of not including the browser ballot by stripping out its own browser. Either way put the browsers on a compete by merit foundation, rather than a compete by ensuring that you have to use IE to get another browser. MS chose to include a ballot. This "choice" was more informed than users "choice" of which browser to use, as non-technical users do not make a conscious choice. They take the default. Do you investigate the suppliers of every part of the car that you buy or do you accept the default? Do you, after purchasing, replace all the parts that are substandard with better quality parts? Obviously if you don't it's because you are choosing substandard parts, not simply accepting what the manufacturer includes, right? Or do you just decide that choosing better quality parts is not worth the time?

          I understand that many disagree with the EU choice, and I have no problem with that. Still, MS had at least as much choice in the resolution that you claim all users have with their browser. They CHOSE the ballot screen.
          Viva la crank dodo
      • I find it pathetic

        that any company, large or small, should be forced to advertise competing software. Period. This has nothing to do with whatever ideals you think should be forced down the rest of the world. Microsoft, under no circumstances, should have to say "Here are competing offerings, please pick whichever you want". It's so insanely stupid I find it impossible that anyone with half a brain could support this.
        LiquidLearner
        • Nice ad hominem

          They were not forced. They chose to put in the ballot screen. They could have chosen to strip out IE. Either way, it forced IE to compete on merit rather than simply being perceived as a part of the OS by the mass market.
          Viva la crank dodo
    • Qbt is at it again, spreading lies

      Qbt, didn't someone educate you earlier about the fact that it was Microsoft itself which suggested the ballot screen?

      You seem to think that Opera has the power to get anyone to do anything. Not so. The EC ran the whole thing, and came to an agreement with Microsoft.

      It's also funny how you neglect to mention the fact that Mozilla and Google joined the complaint.
      wuppez
      • Can't speak to the circumstances...

        ...however I'm sure it was really along the lines of:

        MS employee (using sarcasm): What do you want, a browser ballot or something?

        Remember, it was Opera who actually sued via the EU's European Commission because really their browser isn't really all that good. And yes, I've used it, along with IE and Firefox.

        Can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure that Microsoft's first decision was to remove IE completely, leaving the OS browserless:

        http://www.pcworld.com/article/166540/windows_7_without_internet_explorer_microsoft_explains.html

        Do you really believe that Microsoft truly wanted to HAVE to ship a product that offers to install someone else's code?
        PollyProteus
        • Again, you are wrong. It was not Opera's doing

          Opera didn't sue anyone. All Opera did was to alert the authorities of Microsoft's illegal activities.

          IE first wanted to remove IE. The EC rejected that. Opera had nothing to do with it. Opera has no power what so ever.

          When the first proposal was rejected by the EC (not Opera, since Opera has no say in the matter), Microsoft proposed the ballot screen.

          What Microsoft WANTED is irrelevant. They had been caught red-handed breaking the law, and was now trying to find a way out of it without having to pay huge fines.
          wuppez
  • Its time for the OS ballot!

    this shows why EU must move decidely in the direction of including an OS ballot with all Linux distros against windoze.
    Linux Geek
    • Except, of course...

      ...the *USAGE* stats haven't changed much. Only the download stats. Which would mean they downloaded, tried it, and went back to their original browser.

      Color me suprised. :)
      wolf_z
      • Interesting hypothesis

        Let's wait for the data. You cannot possibly make
        that claim without more data.
        RobertFolkerts
        • From the *linked article* :)

          The ZDNet UK article referred to in this article:

          http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/regulation/2010/03/22/microsoft-browser-ballot-doubles-opera-downloads-40088380/?tag=content;col1

          Says in the last few paragraphs:

          "According to the statistics from Statcounter, the market share for the top five browsers has changed little since the introduction of the ballot screen ? except for a notable .5 percent market share gain by Chrome.

          In February, IE had a 45.5 percent browser market share in Europe, followed by Firefox with 39 percent, Chrome with 6.5 percent, Opera with 4.3 percent and Safari with 3.7 percent, according to Statcounter.

          Statcounter's statistics so far for March show a slight increase in overall market share for IE, moving up to 45.6 percent, followed by Firefox with 38 percent, Chrome with 7 percent, Opera with 4.4 percent and Safari unchanged at 3.7 percent."


          I do try not to make up things out of the whole cloth...
          wolf_z
          • False stats

            That's for Europe as a whole. Look at countries where the ballot screen has been rolled out, and IE is definitely going down.
            wuppez
      • How do you know?

        Where are you getting your stats from?
        Viva la crank dodo
      • Very true, see it all the time.

        Yes, lots of folks download and try things, even Linux. Usually takes a day and they are back...
        No_Ax_to_Grind
        • Very true?

          I mean, it's true that people that try competitors products do often return to what they know, there is no proof that this is happening to Opera (yet). At best it is a hypothesis that people will return to IE. To say it is "very true" that usage data has proven it is either ignorant or deceptive.
          Viva la crank dodo
          • Well....

            [b]IF[/b] I lost my mind and decided to try Opera, once I sobered up I'd go back to Firefox.... maybe Chrome... but not IE.
            Hallowed are the Ori
    • I agree, now start your own computer company

      and see how many agree with you.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • the EC should mandate it

        in the name of competition and people's freedom of choice to all OEMs.
        Linux Geek