MS Browser Ballot To Have Little Impact, Survey Says

Dennis Faas's picture

The Microsoft Windows browser ballot campaign is officially under way. As of yesterday morning, the Redmond, Washington-based software company began asking European Union (EU) users which browser they wanted to be designated their default web tool.

The browser ballot is Microsoft's response to European Commission allegations that its Windows operating system, which has typically shipped with Microsoft's own Internet Explorer as the default web browser, is violating antitrust law. Microsoft last year said it would appease its critics by offering a selection of the most popular web browsers for users to pick from.

Recently, the ballot came under fire by security experts who fear the idea could prompt hackers to try offering their own, malware-laden pop-ups to dupe legitimate users.

Browser Ballot Includes 12 Nominees

The ballot includes a choice of twelve browsers, including Internet Explorer. Users who download Microsoft's latest Windows security patch will be presented with a pop-up window asking them to pick their browser from the list.

Amongst the nominees for every European PC are Norway's Opera Software, Google's new, streamlined Chrome, Apple's slick Safari, and, of course, underdog favorite Mozilla Firefox.

Mozilla Questions Ballot's Impact

The ballot itself could prove extremely lucrative for smaller browser companies like Opera, but at this point no growth is guaranteed. Last week Mozilla ran its own survey of European web surfers and found only a small portion were aware of the ballot or the European Commission's campaign to challenge Microsoft's business practices.

"The results... indicate that nearly three quarters (between 70 and 81 percent) of Internet users in these countries are not aware of the browser choice screen coming their way," Mozilla noted. (Source:

It's possible many users in Europe will simply overlook the pop-up ballot as simply an annoyance and go on using their default browser -- which in all likelihood is Internet Explorer, long-time champion of this domain.

That's bad news for Mozilla, which recently reported February was the third straight month in which it lost market share to rival browsers Internet Explorer and Chrome. Since the end of November, Firefox has dipped about 2 per cent of its total share. (Source:

Rate this article: 
No votes yet