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Windows Browser Ballot: the Winners and the Losers

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the bureaucrats-one dept.

Firefox 134

Barence writes "It's a year since the Windows browser ballot came into being in Europe — but has it made any difference? PC Pro has surveyed the minor browser makers — who theoretically had the most to gain from the ballot — to find out what impact it's had on their business. The answers are very mixed. One of the 12, FlashPeak SlimBrowser, claims it's resulted in fewer than 200 downloads per day. Others claim it's transformed their business. One thing is for certain: the big boys still dominate."

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like the doctor, milkman, pizza guy etc... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35328998)

gov't. is a JOB. employees of US. like all others, if they cannot/will not do what they're hired for, they're not serving US, so who needs them.

they have no personal sovereignty, or immunity from anything, just employees, all of them. the 'secrets' this current band of pharisees are harboring are only secrets from US anymore. never a better time to pay attention. see you there?

Re:like the doctor, milkman, pizza guy etc... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330108)

I'm not sure if you're focusing that at one particular browser or just your disappointment with the whole add-on culture that helps browsers do what they should be able to do in the first place. Either way I can't see how you blame this on someone who's a doctor, milkman and delivers pizza. He's certainly doing his jobs (unlike, say, some browsers I know).

What really matters (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329010)

What really matters is how many first posts are made by each browser.

Re:What really matters (2, Funny)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329254)

Alas, the difference between -1 troll and +5 funny is, ultimately, a matter of split second timing.

first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329020)

yayaya

world+dog to rouge gov't. gates megasloth, bye (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329062)

you've been terrible examples of US/who we really are. you continue to make US look bad/evile all over the wwworld. go away. goodbye. we'll be getting better as soon as you're gone. make sure & take your hired goons with you, as you will definitely need them, & we don't.

I like (2)

Aerorae (1941752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329064)

the slope of that green line. Anyone wanna estimate an (y=mx+b) m for me? :D
Did note the part about measuring Safari usage by adding in OSX machines when comparing browsers. Statistical reporting at its best. (/sarcasm)

Obligatory XKCD (5, Funny)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329376)

Extrapolation [xkcd.com] : because past performance perfectly predicts future growth.

Re:Obligatory XKCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329818)

best xkcd ever!

Re:Obligatory XKCD (1, Interesting)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330002)

Extrapolation [xkcd.com]: because past performance perfectly predicts future growth.

It's funny, and does make a valid point about silly extrapolations. However, it's flawed in that an arbitrary point was chosen for the "0" husbands point- they could have chosen any time prior to the point of marriage with equal validity- 5 seconds, 1 day, 20 years, and would have got very different results for each.

In fact, I'm not sure anything meaningful can be extrapolated from a situation like that- you could get an infinitely steep line by choosing a point infinitely close to the point of marriage, but that's just as bad, showing the meaninglessness of acting like discrete events are continuous. (If you had more points, you could probably legitimately draw a line through them if they displayed that trend, but it's not the case here).

BTW, are you sure that this XKCD [xkcd.com] isn't more relevant to the subject at hand? ;-)

Re:Obligatory XKCD (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330144)

You can't simply extrapolate any function and get a meaningful result. But if you extrapolate a long term trend that looks like it's going to continue, you can make very accurate predictions. The most famous is Moore's Law. In the browser world, we could predict Mozilla usage would continue to double every year, at least while it was still under 10% usage. I think we can expect Chrome's usage share to increase 6-8% over the next year, and Internet Explorer's usage share to decline by about the same amount.

Re:I like (1)

Bratmon (1649855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329940)

the slope of that green line. Anyone wanna estimate an (y=mx+b) m for me? :D

I'm getting something like y=3/2x+4

Re:I like (4, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330780)

Personally, I think Safari should be lumped in with "Other" because usage of it on Windows is so insignificant.

That agrees with my figures (5, Interesting)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329070)

I ran the browser usage by year through a spreadsheet a couple of months ago and found the same thing. The decline in Internet Explorer usage was remarkably consistent over the years. The EU's browser choice appeared to make no difference in the usage deltas for all the browsers. I didn't look at the less used browsers, but I imagine that they would be the true winners because hardly anybody would have heard of the minor players if it weren't for being on this list.

It just goes to show that the reason that IE got to have so much dominance was not because it was bundled with the operating system, but that for far too long it had no real competition.

Re:That agrees with my figures (4, Insightful)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329076)

And since none of the major browser trends changed with the introduction of the Ballot, it also shows that the entire situation was overblown, and that there was a competitive market in place which was (and is) correcting the mistake of leaving IE uncontested for so long.

Re:That agrees with my figures (5, Interesting)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329106)

I think it could be described as too late in some ways.... what would have happened if this was in there from the start?
would it have created a more equal market for competition to develop in. overblown, it's been what 10 years?

Re:That agrees with my figures (2)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329154)

But the point is, that when competition started developing, it started gaining marketshare. There wasn't instant adoption, but the long term trend is for more diversity.

Also, the point is that this DIDN'T happen 10 years ago, it happened recently, once the market was already on the way to correction, and hasn't been shown to help speed up that process. It also hasn't particularly helped Opera, who were the ones complaining in the first place.

Re:That agrees with my figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329758)

You say the ballot doesn't seem to help. Whatever the big picture says, I think at least some clueless newbs would ask a geek friend what all this choice is about if they encounter the ballot. And you say, "particularly". So, you mean it has helped Opera a bit? A bit is better than nothing.

But, is your point that people should be showed more IE down their throats without even a hint of there being alternatives? What is your point?

Re:That agrees with my figures (1, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329260)

People have always been free to use alternative browsers on their desktop machines.

Re:That agrees with my figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35330200)

but with IE's dominance back then many websites didn't even work properly on alternatives, precisely because they did hold themselves to the w3c's standards.
the browser ballot 10 years ago would have forced websites to adapt to the alternatives much quicker, and we wouldn't have had the close to 10 years of development stagnation we have seen because of IE.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329440)

what would have happened if this was in there from the start?

If there had been 12 worthwhile competitors to IE from the start then it would not have acheived such dominance. That the point of my last paragraph.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

djjockey (1301073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329470)

But there wasn't. According to this article, there was one worthwhile competitor. and it was shit.

  http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/02/24/1648259/Retro-Browser-War-IE6-Vs-Netscape-In-2011 [slashdot.org]

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329508)

According to this article, there was one worthwhile competitor. and it was shit.

That is why I added the adjective "worthwhile" to my sentence, just to exclude Netscape! Back in the day, I used to use lynx as an alternative to IE. I wouldn't consider that to be a maintream competitor either.

Re:That agrees with my figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329634)

This article is quite misleading.

The reason why ie6 is doing so much better is that only recently people stopped explicitly supporting it.
There are still a lot of clients who want ie6 compatibility TODAY. Of course that results in pages still being rendered more or less correctly.
If you wanted to use ie, for years there only was ie6. But nobody in their right mind would have stuck with netscape 6.1 while there were newer versions around. So nobody bothered to make sure newer pages rendered correctly in archaic versions of netscape, as opposed to archaic ie versions...

Re:That agrees with my figures (2)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330166)

I can't believe that people think that IE renders pages better because IE is better at rendering pages. When IE renders a page better than other browsers, it's because web developers bent over backwards to make sure it works well in IE. Even now, most websites are tested with IE6. Web developers stopped testing their sites with Netscape 6 ages ago. That's why IE6 renders pages better than Netscape 6 today -- not because it's a better browser!

Re:That agrees with my figures (2)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330796)

Web developers stopped testing their sites with Netscape 6 ages ago.

Because Netscape 6 was a piece of shit not worth the time it took to download it. And it's not as if Netscape was so great at "web standards compliance" either.

Fact is 15 years ago netscape 4.x was inferior. It was worse than IE4. Yes IE1 2 and 3 were worse than Netscape 1-3.0, but IE had caught up, and then the Netscape team screwed up...

Netscape 6, 7 were pieces of bloated shit. If you thought Netscape 4 and IE4 were crap, they were worse. They really really sucked.

Believe me I was looking for something better than IE after using Netscape from v3 to v4.8, but there just wasn't any thing better for windows[1].

From IE4 to IE6 (1998 to 2005) tell me which browser was better than IE that ran on windows? Definitely not Netscape/Mozilla. Konqueror didn't run on Windows. Mosaic? Hahaha.

See: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/Timeline_of_web_browsers.svg [wikimedia.org]

Mozilla Firefox only started getting usable in 2006 by my standards (my standards = crash less than IE). And it took them two more years to reduce those memory issues (I was using a desktop linux machine at work from 2006-2008 and it was common for firefox to use more memory than my vmware virtual machine running Windows XP and IE!).

I even tried Opera in 2006+ and it was actually slower than Firefox for my usage, and it even leaked lots of memory (yes we can blame it on flash but I'm just going to use what works).

Just look at how much Google Chrome has caught up in such a short time and you can see the alternative browsers just weren't good enough. Even nongeeks were seeing the difference between Chrome and IE and telling their nongeek friends to use it. Yes I know Chrome was based on Webkit and Webkit was based on Konqueror. But fact is there weren't good enough geniuses working on the "IE alternative" problem back then.

[1] If anyone thinks I should have switched to Desktop Linux back then, they're either stupid or delusional. Even 10 years later Desktop Linux still hasn't got _basic_ desktop stuff like sound right.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331498)

Fact is 15 years ago netscape 4.x was inferior.

To IE 4? Surely you jest.

Even 10 years later Desktop Linux still hasn't got _basic_ desktop stuff like sound right.

Is "Desktop Linux" some distribution I've never heard of before? Because I've been exclusively using Linux (mostly Red Hat/Fedora) on my computers since the late 90s, including for "desktop" stuff like e-mail, web browsing, and word processing. And my Linux laptop has got sound right enough to use in live performance. Maybe you should try some other distribution.

Re:That agrees with my figures (-1, Flamebait)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329620)

So the main goal of a for-profit company should be to develop an equal marketplace for its competitors?

This was just Europe showing a US company who was boss. If Ikea made Windows, this would never have happened.

When can we see Apple told how to conduct its business by some fascists?

Re:That agrees with my figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329656)

No.If Ikea made Windows it would not be called Windows, instead it would be called Bjursta...

Re:That agrees with my figures (2)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329730)

So the main goal of a for-profit company should be to develop an equal marketplace for its competitors?

I'm not sure that's even a meaningful suggestion - what have the goals of the company got to do with this? However in many jurisdictions it is officially and legally a goal of the government to develop a competitive market. That's why this is a government action.

I'd agree that politics does distort that and a measure of cyncism is justified, but I think that contrasts with your charming naivety about the workings of the EU - in practice the different member states are all rivals and there is as much, or more, pressure to bring other EU states and their companies into line as there is to create exceptions for them.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

skegg (666571) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329868)

When can we see Apple told how to conduct its business by some fascists?

As soon as the CEO returns from sick leave?

*ducks*

Re:That agrees with my figures (4, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329896)

So the main goal of a for-profit company should be to develop an equal marketplace for its competitors?

No, the main goal should be to make as much profit as possible without abusing its dominant position on a market by manipulating other markets.

This was just Europe showing a US company who was boss. If Ikea made Windows, this would never have happened.

OK, then show us an example where a company in the EU was abusing a dominating position in a market by tying another product to it. Competition law is applied to EU based companies all the time.

When can we see Apple told how to conduct its business by some fascists?

By fascists? I have no idea. But the EU already said Apple can't prevent developers from porting the same apps they sell on the Apple Store to other platforms [kluwercomp...awblog.com] .

Re:That agrees with my figures (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329250)

None of the trends reversed, but IE's decline and Chrome's rise accelerated a fair bit. That suggests that being the default was helping IE. It's numbers were falling in spite of that boost.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329428)

None of the trends reversed, but IE's decline and Chrome's rise accelerated a fair bit.

No, they didn't. There might appear to be a slight change in IE's descent in the graph in TFA but if you could zoom out the graph to show a larger timeframe then it is a pretty darn constant drop. The rise in Chrome would be because it was such a new browser, although the graph the TFA shows the exactly same gradient in the months before and after the browser choice system was implemented. The article itself says:

The big five - or should that be big three? - almost aren't the issue here. As the graph above shows, despite a few minor wobbles around the time of the ballot's launch (marked by the dotted line), all five browsers continued largely on the trend lines they'd been following for months beforehand.

Their conclusions are the same as mine.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329832)

"being the default was helping IE"
Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1, Funny)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329258)

At least it discredited one more excuse used by Opera supporters and other fans for justifying their pet browsers' relatively minuscule market shares.

Re:That agrees with my figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329492)

At least it discredited one more excuse used by Macintosh supporters and other fans for justifying their pet computers' relatively minuscule market share.

Re:That agrees with my figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329252)

That's not true. IE got the dominance because IE6 was the best browser at the time, others didn't come even close to it in regards of speed, memory usage and ability to render pages properly. A previous browser (IE5) was also the first browser that supported AJAX (even though it was through activeX control).
Note that at the time the only real challenger for IE was Netscape, and it sucked donkey balls since version 3. It became shitty bloatware.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1, Insightful)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329640)

That's not true. IE got the dominance because IE6 was the best browser at the time, others didn't come even close to it in regards of speed, memory usage and ability to render pages properly.

When IE6 came out, there were already faster, more compact browsers which had better standard compliance (e.g. Opera, which went ad-supported by 2000, IE6 came out in 2001). The only true part in your statement is "the ability to render pages properly", and even that is only true because pages were actually designed to be viewed with IE (so obviously they rendered better in that non-standard-compliant browser).

Note that at the time the only real challenger for IE was Netscape

The only famous challenger was Netscape. Which is exactly the kind of thing that a browser ballot could have solved at the time.

Got to love lousy statisticians (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329270)

Yeah yeah, extrapolating future trends by drawing a straight line between past points. That is SUCH a reliable method.

But hey, good news, by these figures IE will be at 0% in 5 years and Google at well over a 100%.

The browser ballot changed things, would the lines have been as they are now without it? Nobody knows but it is not beyond imagination that IE would have bottomed out 50% instead and might even have climbed with the release of IE9.

Basically, those who claim the ballot did not have an affect are claiming something like the new iPhone had no effect on iPhone sales. The old one was selling well, the new one sells well, ergo no change... because the old one would of course have done the same sale figures without a new release.

Re:Got to love lousy statisticians (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329406)

IE was less than 50% before the ballot.

Re:Got to love lousy statisticians (2)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329480)

Yeah yeah, extrapolating future trends by drawing a straight line between past points. That is SUCH a reliable method.

But nobody even speculated about what will happen in the future. This discussion is purely about what happened once the EU forced Microsoft to implement the browser choice window. My only comment was the decline shows a fairly constant drop since Mozilla came out. I wouldn't dare predict what is going to happen in the future, mainly because I don't know how IE9 will be received.

The browser ballot changed things, would the lines have been as they are now without it? Nobody knows but it is not beyond imagination that IE would have bottomed out 50% instead and might even have climbed with the release of IE9.

The fact that there is absolutely no change in the trends in either direction is definitely an indication that the ballot had no effect. The idea that IE might have bottomed out at 50% is pure, unsupported speculation.

Re:Got to love lousy statisticians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329706)

As is your assertion that the ballot had no effect.

Correlation is not causation

Remember?

Re:Got to love lousy statisticians (2)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329920)

Correlation is not causation. Remember?

What a silly response. It is quite simple. Microsoft introduced the browser ballot window. The market trends for browsers after this happened turned out to be the same as they were prior to that. This isn't an opinion, it is on the graphs.

Are we expected to believe the scenario that another poster postulated that the almost constant drop in usage for Internet Explorer over the last 7 or 8 years would have coincidentally halted at around March 2010, and that the drop caused by the browser selection window would turn out to be EXACTLY that same as it was dropping before? Nary a blip on the chart! I think I will follow Occam's razor and stick with my simpler explanation.

The fact that Microsoft's browser usage had plummeted prior to it being removed as the default browser clearly shows that being the pre-installed is not a guarantee that you will win the browser wars.

Re:Got to love lousy statisticians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35330134)

Silly? It's not half as silly as making a simplistic graph attempting to describe something that in reality is decided by a huge amount of factors, some of them quite hard to quantify *and* volatile (chilling effect on would be competitors caused by the default inclusion of the Exploder, retardation of migration caused by lock-in effects etc, etc), and then use that to "prove" that factor X has no effect. If you think your little graph has any significance, you've got to be one of those MBA types down the corridor.

Not that I expect this to make any difference to you, since you clearly are in love with your little graph and your interpretation of it.

Re:Got to love lousy statisticians (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330444)

But all those factors were the same before and after the introduction of the browser choice system. If being the default browser was such had powerful effect on the adoption rates as was claimed by a lot of people, then there should have been some jump in the stats. The simple fact is that the browser stats don't match what you thought would happen, so you come up with all sorts of exuses to explain it away.

You might try to belittle me because I like to look for facts to back up what I say, but all you do is just ignore it because it is inconvenient for you. Which one of us really seems like one of those MBA types?

Re:Got to love lousy statisticians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331206)

No, I'm not belittling you, I'm belittling your little graph. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear about that.

Anyway. You can't just take a few random "facts" and use them to jump to any bloody conclusion you want to be true, especially when you're omitting important factors, stuff like the fact that the market does not stand still, which constantly changes the environment in which your "facts" live, and their significance, and more importantly, you're completely dismissing inertia. The damage is already done so to speak, people know IE, and will because of this continue to use it. Expecting everyone to jump off the sinking ship at once just because they get some alternatives is naïve, because that would imply more knowledge by far than most users have.

Re:Got to love lousy statisticians (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330518)

What we do see from the chart is that everyone won because it appeared that many made a choice, and when they did over half of them went with a browser that was not MS.

It also appears that over time the share of non-MS browser stayed pretty consistent. This indicates that we are going to have a healthy standards based market as no firm is going to develop specifically for MS, or Chrome, given that they will automatically lose a majority of their potential customers.

It also appears that Chrome growth might be limited. Google has the money to pull people away from IE, but not other browsers. This and other evidence shows that, despite, or perhaps due to Chrome legitimizing non-IE browsers, Firefox has market share that would be considered outlandish a year ago, and other browsers are holding their own. Therefore Google is competing for the 60% of the market or so that IE controlled when Chrome came on the scene Given that other browsers are still growing, some of which will be consumed by them.

We see, again, it is unlikely a fully dominant browser wil emerge. MS has the money to keep Google from taking over the market. It may be in a year Firefox will be the top browser, albeit with minority market share, with Google and MS fighting to be #2. Safari and Opera would fighting for a distant place 4 and 5.

Of course downloads does not a user make. I have many browsers in my computer. I mostly use Camino,but launch others for particular sites.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

BudAaron (1231468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329306)

IE still has no real competion in my view - so what's your point.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1, Funny)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329458)

Well it's hard to make something that crappy. No surprise there are so few willing to challenge Microsoft for that crown.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329496)

IE still has no real competion in my view - so what's your point.

My point is that eventually you will upgrade from Windows 3.1, and then you will find that there are other browser options out there. But until then, I hope that you have a WONDERF.ULL time in 16 bit land.

Your only point is the one on top of your head! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329550)

See subject, pin head!

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329700)

Back in the Windows 3.1 days, and into the Windows 95 days, you HAD to choose your browser yourself because no browser was included in the OS. Netscape was awesome back in the 3.1 days, and many people used it.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329850)

Netscape was awesome back in the 3.1 days, and many people used it.

But then it stopped being awesome, and people stopped using it.

I remember when I first tried Internet Explorer and found it to be a breath of fresh air compared to Netscape Navigator. It was smaller, faster, and had a superior DOM. The only thing that I hated about it was the alert that popped up on virtually every page because I had ActiveX turned off. If there was one reason that we needed some competition for IE, then it was that we needed something that didn't support ActiveX.

But getting back to what the great-grandparent said, just because Netscape died a bloated death does not mean that there is no competition now.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

findoutmoretoday (1475299) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329324)

<quote><p>the reason that IE got to have so much dominance was not because it was bundled with the operating system, but that for far too long it had no real competition.</p></quote>

Switched to Opera years ago,  did I know it was no real competitor.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

kooky45 (785515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329562)

There always was real competition, tut when IE was bundled it because the majority of users' default browser and since people don't like to change they're unlikely to choose another browser simply because they now get the choice on startup.

Re:That agrees with my figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329674)

The results of the Windows Media Player case were pretty much the same. A version of Windows without it was rolled out and rather unsurprisingly it didn't sell. As far as I know there is still no good WMP replacement that does everything WMP does in a way I like.
The EU is not pro-market - it apparently doesn't care to understand how the market works. It's just anti-Microsoft. And perhaps a tad anti-consumer as well since what the EU originally wanted was Windows without a media player or browser. That's right - you install an operating system on a blank computer and then you find out you can't play music or surf the web.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330316)

It just goes to show that the reason that IE got to have so much dominance was not because it was bundled with the operating system, but that for far too long it had no real competition.

It didn't just get bundled with the operating system. They also had some kind of deal with an awful lot of software makers so, no matter what software you installed, for some reason that software installed Internet Explorer on your computer too. And for some reason, no matter what software you installed, it required Internet Explorer to run, even if the previous version didn't. Maybe I'm exaggerating to say all software did this but Microsoft must have had a lot of deals with a lot of people. We couldn't install Prodigy, AOL, or any of the other software we were using without it. And at the time, the only way to get Netscape was to download it. One day Internet Explorer suddenly lost the ability to download large files. So you were forced to install Internet Explorer and not able to download Netscape. The only way to get around this was to go without installing any popular software and buy Netscape on a CD. I'm pretty sure this was when people invented those tiny installers you download that actually download the rest of the software themselves.

Re:That agrees with my figures (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330522)

They also had some kind of deal with an awful lot of software makers so, no matter what software you installed, for some reason that software installed Internet Explorer on your computer too.

I imagine that was because they made a good API for Internet Explorer so that you could plug it into 3rd party programs. They installed IE because they needed it. This is exactly the same as video software installing ffdshow or any one of the zillions of examples in the open source world (where programs use other programs as building blocks).

Link A has more hits than link B (3, Interesting)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329084)

....so Link P thinks its unfair that they arent chosen.

Lets be real here for a moment.....It might have been a bit unfair that MS had a stranglehold on the browser market for those PCs that had Windows pre-installed. Choice is good, and it's great that the EU evened the playing field. But too many choices will confuse the general public

As a PC support tech, i'd have to argue that average joe consumer wants/needs a browser that will handle everything you throw at it. The top 5 in that list will do just that for the most part or they have a simple add-on scheme that handle's the rest. As internet technologies mature bloat is the way to go. If a customer says to me "my internet wont do this...." its not appropriate for me to say "well, you chose a browser that doesnt have that feature." A company that markets a product as a SlimBrowser sounds like it would put me in that very position.

If you design a browser with a niche feature set(ie. Bare bones browsing) dont complain when the mass market doesnt choose your product

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (3, Informative)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329140)

It looks like SlimBrowser uses the IE engine*, so it probably supports whatever IE does.

* the system requirements for SlimBrowser say:

Windows 98 or above with at least Internet Explorer 5.0. Internet Explorer 8.0 is recommended for improved performance and security.

So it probably uses the IE rendering engine. AFAIK, the security and performance of Firefox, Opera or Chrome do not depend on which version of IE I have.

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (4, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329168)

But too many choices will confuse the general public

Yet limiting their choices is NOT an option. I am 'confused' by the amount of stores I can buy things. I am 'confused' by the sorts of food I can buy. Clothes, computers, cars, camera's, women... All things where I am 'confused' by the choice I have.

Yet I rather be confused than somebody else make the choice for me.

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (1)

Nerull (586485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329220)

Yet, all your examples are exactly that. You have a choice of which car you want to buy, but you don't get to individually pick all of it's components unless you get something custom built.

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (1, Insightful)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329302)

I agree that there is a choice. The choice between buying the product or not buying it. Microsoft doesn't force people to use only their browser. Microsoft only supplies a pre-bundled browser. If you google web browser in google, you will get firefox as the first hit, not chrome. If it were chrome, there wouldn't be much of a problem either since it's an excellent browser to begin win. People can search for whatever browser they desire, and they can find charts of what browser supports what. It's not Microsoft's problem if people don't know how to do research, a skill that is learned early in life. Even if Microsoft were to force people to use only IE, it's their right to do so as a corporation. If people don't like that, they can go somewhere else. I know that's how I felt with the iPad, I went to Android and am happy with the move.

People ultimately have the choice for what they do in life, what they download, and the things they decide to make. They can also choose to ignore, stop using, and move someplace else if they're not satisfied with what's going on. The thing that makes America so great is the freedom to make decisions, the ones you want to do to build your life, your business, and even your country. It is a matter of choice that is given to you, whether you know you have it or not, it is there. It will be a grim day when America is nannied like those in the UK (no offense but it doesn't work too well with capitalism). - 2cents

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (4, Informative)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329682)

Microsoft has a monopoly in the desktop OS market. And yes, monopoly does not mean that MS is the only supplier, it means that it has very large market share and as such, it influences the market and can influence other markets more so than some other company.

Let's say that Microsoft made it so that WebM video codec (or, say, Firefox) does not work on Windows. Very few people will change their OS just to use the single program that does not work, so the result would be that the market share of Firefox or WebM would decrease sharply. On the other hand, if some Linux distribution made it so that it was not possible to run Wine (and in turn, windows programs) or h.264, the impact on the usage of those programs would not change much (even assuming that everyone stayed with their distribution).

I hear the internet connectivity in the USA is great, you have so many options that you can choose and the competition between ISPs is so fierce that my 80mbps connection must seem like dial-up to you. I mean if one ISP starts capping the connection or offers only DSL you can just move to some other ISP...

Microsoft makes a good OS (well, somehow people are buying and using it, so it must be good or Microsoft somehow manages to make it happen wven though the OS is not that good), but it should not have the power to dictate other markets (what if it made Windows only compatible with Intel CPUs, or just AMD CPUs? Should it hold that much power over the CPU manufacturers?)

Same thing with the browser. A lot of people do not know what a "browser" is, they just use the blue "e" to get to the internet. IE is not the best browser (IE8 is Ok, but this started when the newest IE version was 6) and it is not compatible with the standards, so web designers have to make pages compatible with IE and the standard browsers or they would lose clients. That's why the EU made Microsoft offer users a choice, it was hoped that some of the users would find out about the choice that they have (if someone uses IE because he prefers it, the menu was just a one time annoyance, for others, it offered a choice).

Someone will now say that notepad, paint and other programs are the same, so you have to offer choices on them too. Well, no. First of all, the other programs are basic and they do their job well, also, they are compatible with standard formats, so there is no harm in users continuing to use them, unlike IE, especially IE6.

Internet options. (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331100)

"I hear the internet connectivity in the USA is great, you have so many options that you can choose and the competition between ISPs is so fierce that my 80mbps connection must seem like dial-up to you. I mean if one ISP starts capping the connection or offers only DSL you can just move to some other ISP..."

HA! You're wrong. Not everyone has the options to switch. For example in my area, Cable is the only cheapest and fastest. DSL is not possible due to 20K ft. distance. WISPs are not close enough. FIOS isn't here even though the city has it. I can go with dial-up (3 KB/sec at about 28.8k speed even on 56k modems), satellite TVs, IDSL (144Kb/sec both ways), etc. but those are either too slow or too expensive (e.g, over 100 bucks per month for IDSL excluding setup fees). Everyone has cable for broadband Internet here.

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (0)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329648)

Know what is crazy?
Almost everyone I know is using non-IE browsers.
None of them live in the EU.
OMFG, they made choices without government interference!!!!

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (1)

boxwood (1742976) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330176)

You said "almost" everyone you know. So there are some people you know that are still using IE. Of those people how many are aware that they have a choice?

Why exactly is it wrong to make people aware they have a choice?

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331040)

Camera's what? Cases? Lens? Colors? Designs? :P

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (2, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329296)

It might have been a bit unfair that MS had a stranglehold on the browser market for those PCs that had Windows pre-installed.

Except that IE's market share was slipping long before the EU felt the need to pointlessly start throwing their weight around.

Choice is good, and it's great that the EU evened the playing field. But too many choices will confuse the general public.

The EU did not level anything. All they did, as you note, is introduce confusion. Anyone who's read much of Raymond Chen's blog [msdn.com] knows the thought that goes into initial user experience. Starting off by throwing up dialog boxes and asking the user questions they cannot answer is NOT helpful and just reminds people that computers are hard to use.

Something like 90% of users probably fall into one or two categories when it comes to the stupid browser ballot:

1. Already have a browser they like. Ballot serves no purpose.
2. Have no idea what a "browser" is, and just want to check their email. They click a button randomly, or maybe based on which icon is the prettiest. Ballot still serves no purpose for the user -- all it manages to do is artificially spread around market share to no-name browsers.

Given TFS's saying "The answers are very mixed.", I would guess most fall into the 2nd category. Maybe browsers that haven't seen an improvement should make shinier icons.

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329420)

Starting off by throwing up dialog boxes and asking the user questions they cannot answer is NOT helpful and just reminds people that computers are hard to use.

I don't think that person had much influence in the design of the initial setup procedure. I didn't have the ballot box, and I recall that setting up a Windows 7 machine for the first time was more aggravating than it needed to be.

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329532)

Starting off by throwing up dialog boxes and asking the user questions they cannot answer is NOT helpful and just reminds people that Windows are hard to use.

When you think of it this way, it's not so bad anymore.

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330342)

It might have been a bit unfair that MS had a stranglehold on the browser market for those PCs that had Windows pre-installed.

Except that IE's market share was slipping long before the EU felt the need to pointlessly start throwing their weight around.

Yeah, you can tell the market is working well when the absolutely worst browser on the market, with huge security problems, huge performance problems, and utter failure to implement modern standards and popular new features ONLY has 50% of the market and is slowly losing share after no significant updates for a decade.

Your argument is less than compelling.

2. Have no idea what a "browser" is, and just want to check their email. They click a button randomly, or maybe based on which icon is the prettiest. Ballot still serves no purpose for the user -- all it manages to do is artificially spread around market share to no-name browsers.

What you fail to understand is that option 2 is immensely better for a free market, competition, and driving innovation than the situation we had. If a user chooses randomly instead of having a choice made for them by one entrant into the market, then it opens up the possibility that cool new features can make them learn to prefer an option. That gives browser makers including MS incentive to make better products. Moreover, because MS's numbers aren't being artificially propped up by those users, MS has specific incentive to work to make things better for users in order to capture more market share. This is how capitalism works.

Re:Link A has more hits than link B (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329500)

But too many choices will confuse the general public

Like they are confused by the choices of so many artists to download? I havn't noticed a dramatic fall in the number of downloads lately!

No duh (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329282)

Of course many smaller browsers didn't get much of a turn out- everyone knows to cast your ballot for one of the front runners or you're wasting your vote.

IE still lives on your PC (1)

SimonTS (1984074) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329460)

AFAIK even if you chose to install one of the other browsers, IE still ends up being installed on your computer, but it may not be the default. Firing up certain applications within the Windoze environment (nope, can't name them at the moment as I try to stay away from M$ when I can) still bring the IE engine online for their requisite web component. Windows update still keeps throwing IE in the update list and if you're not switched on it will be installed automatically. There is still a lot of bias towards IE in my opinion and I personally feel that IE should not even be allowed to be included on any M$ O/S distribution media - when you first fire up a new O/S you should be presented with a choice window for which you wish to install (with the browsers listed in order according to user reviews or similar, rather than just "Let's put IE first, then FireFox, then Chrome, then who really cares as most users won't look past that point. No - I'm not a M$ Hate Bunny, just personally don't like using their products if I can possibly avoid it. I'd rather pay to subsidize Linux development (via donations as I see fit) than put money in Bill's pocket.

Re:IE still lives on your PC (1)

TheClarkster (1130495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330260)

Windoze, M$... Though you may have some good points, writing it that way invalidates any relevance you may have in my eyes. All I see is an overweight balding linux lover in his basement, taking his anger out on Microsoft. Why do you say IE, when you could be saying I€?

Eurotrash? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329478)

Do you really think that anyone cares about you stupid narcissistic Euros? Your opinions are of no consequence. Now get back to sipping your red wine and eating that smelly "cheese".

Re:Eurotrash? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35329514)

Fuck off and get back to your plastic processed cheese and Budweiser horse piss.

Re:Eurotrash? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329526)

If you're going to reference someone's cheese with quotes it should be American cheese.

Re:Eurotrash? (1)

Froggels (1724218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329576)

"by Anonymous Coward writes: on Sunday February 27, @04:58AM" Either you are yourself a Eurotrash-troll or have nothing better to do at 4:58am on the US East Coast. (1:58am on the west coast)

Rise of Chrome (2)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329574)

The problem with the minor browsers is perhaps perception. Chrome has been successfully marketed as a leading edge "shiny" must have browser, and it's market share has risen accordingly. Opera on the other hand with its "we're the most compliant" attitude is perhaps perceived as a slightly dowdy tech-heads choice, and its market share has been a bit flat.

Re:Rise of Chrome (2)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330254)

I've always seen Opera as the "we're better than you" choice. Better at standards compliance. Better user interface. Faster. More customizable. More secure. Lower memory usage. Better everything! Then when people actually try it, it doesn't live up to the expectation. I think they should be a bit more humble in their marketing. Maybe the "give it a try and maybe you'll like it" choice.

Re:Rise of Chrome (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330418)

Chrome has a _much_ bigger marketing budget than Opera does.

So perhaps more precisely Chrome was marketed, period.

Re:Rise of Chrome (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330878)

I think marketing can get users to try a browser, but it's not necessarily going to get users to stick with a browser. We've seen users drop NCSA Mosaic, Netscape, and IE when better alternatives become available. Lots of people try Opera, but relatively few seem to stick with it, on the desktop at least. There may be other browsers out there that are just as good as the more popular ones, but they have trouble getting people to try them. Firefox and Chrome seem to be successful because they can get people to try the browser and also stick with it. I would say marketing is just half of the cause of having a high usage share of the browser market. Quality is the other half.

Re:Rise of Chrome (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331670)

Agreed re: maketing being just half of it; for most non-IE browsers getting users to try them has been the hard part, though.

> Lots of people try Opera

Lots of tech geeks try opera. I have yet to meet an "average" user who has. Not that I think they'd necessarily like it if they _did_ try it, but nevertheless.

Chrome growth is frightening. (1, Flamebait)

crhylove (205956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329628)

I know there's lots of google fan boys on Slashdot, but I find it frightening that Chrome use has been growing so much. Google already has a very powerful market presence on the web, and I don't think putting them in charge of your browser is a good idea. They are a corporation for profit, and hence inherently evil, like any machine that cares about nothing but profit would inherently be.

The choice to use Firefox is obvious because it's the best browser. But people should stick with Firefox anyway because it's OPEN SOURCE, and no corporation could abuse the power of it's market share for that fact alone. Do the right thing. Migrate your clients and friends and family to open source, and start with Firefox first, because it IS THE BEST, and easiest to use browser, and runs on all 4 major operating systems. Then after that go for Libre Office (perfect example of the nature of Open Source killing evil corporation right there, "Good BYE Open Office!!"), and then eventually get your people onto Linux Mint. It's the best OS already, and 9 times out of 10 people will come to love it's stability, speed, ease of use, and inherently preferable nature due to it's FOSS character.

The fact that so many people are still on Mac and Windows really speaks volumes to the pathetic and immoral nature of the human mind, and the lazy weakness that pervades society and allows so many problems and corporate slavery to continue and flourish unhindered.

Do the right thing. Upgrade to FOSS, and start with Firefox. Not SOLELY because it's FOSS, but because it's also the best. Oh, and while you're at it, install Adblock and send an extra FUCK YOU to the corporations that are destroying all the ecosystems on the planet, our basic human rights, health, and happiness, and the democracies that so many of our ancestors labored and died to create.

Re:Chrome growth is frightening. (3)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329672)

I know there's lots of google fan boys on Slashdot, but I find it frightening that Chrome use has been growing so much. Google already has a very powerful market presence on the web, and I don't think putting them in charge of your browser is a good idea. They are a corporation for profit, and hence inherently evil, like any machine that cares about nothing but profit would inherently be.

The choice to use Firefox is obvious because it's the best browser. But people should stick with Firefox anyway because it's OPEN SOURCE, and no corporation could abuse the power of it's market share for that fact alone.

You do know that Google Chrome is a branded (and who-knows-how-changed) version of the OPEN SOURCE Chromium, right?

As for the choice to use Firefox being obvious because it's the best browser ... funny, for me it's only the third choice (the first being Opera, which is leaving me quite disgruntled due to the rendering bugs and memory leaks that started showing up in version 11, the second being Chromium, i.e. the open source browser on which Google Chrome is based, and Firefox being only the last option if nothing else works).

Re:Chrome growth is frightening. (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329834)

You do know that Chromium started out as Chrome and that Chromium had bugs which meant it included tracking features Google had in Chrome by accident because of it.

Nope.. not interrested.

Firefox 4 with the addons I want works for me really well.

Re:Chrome growth is frightening. (1)

skegg (666571) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329898)

Seconded.
I find that Google is so omnipresent:

        Google Analytics / Android / Chrome / Google Maps / googleapis.com / YouTube / Gmail / etc

that I avoid their products & services so as to minimise my exposure to them.
I figure their tentacles will grab me at some point (e.g. on Slashdot) so why give them more info than required?

There's a reason they're worth $US200 billion ...

Re:Chrome growth is frightening. (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330142)

They are a corporation for profit, and hence inherently evil, like any machine that cares about nothing but profit would inherently be.

I'm not saying that they necessarily are, but it's possible they may be one of the few companies that realizes that long term profit can be made by providing good services to your users and not screwing them over in the short term. I don't think making money is inherently Evil, it's pretty much the same as you or me getting paid to do our job.

Re:Chrome growth is frightening. (1)

boxwood (1742976) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330194)

I use chromium because I prefer the UI, it loads up faster, its more responsive than Firefox.

Its your opinion that Firefox is the best, and you may be shocked to find out that your opinion isn't shared by everyone. I have used Firefox previously, I tried Chrome and it worked better for me.

And since I use Chromium, I am still using a FOSS browser.

Re:Chrome growth is frightening. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330268)

I know there's lots of google fan boys on Slashdot, but I find it frightening that Chrome use has been growing so much. Google already has a very powerful market presence on the web, and I don't think putting them in charge of your browser is a good idea.

Clearly, lots of other people disagree with your assessment...

They are a corporation for profit, and hence inherently evil, like any machine that cares about nothing but profit would inherently be.

A for-profit corporation isn't necessarily one that "cares about nothing but profit", its simply one that is not structured in a special manner such that it does not accrue profits to the benefit of shareholders. Corporations represent the shared interests of their voting stockholders, essentially; usually, for a widely held company that shared interest is nothing but profits (for closely held companies, it is more likely that the voting stockholders, or a sizable enough share of them to direct the company, will share other interests beyond profits), but that may not be the case for Google (which structured its stock so that voting rights were disproportionately weighted in favor of the stock held by the founders and other pre-IPO insiders.)

The choice to use Firefox is obvious because it's the best browser.

Of the major browsers, I find Firefox to have been passed by Chrome and Opera and maybe Safari in quality; its still better than IE. Obviously, which is the best is subjective, but I don't find it to be the best.

But people should stick with Firefox anyway because it's OPEN SOURCE, and no corporation could abuse the power of it's market share for that fact alone.

Open source or not is a factor in evaluating it (and one which weighs in its favor.)

Then after that go for Libre Office (perfect example of the nature of Open Source killing evil corporation right there, "Good BYE Open Office!!"), and then eventually get your people onto Linux Mint.

What if I prefer Koffice and Kubuntu?

t's the best OS already, and 9 times out of 10 people will come to love it's stability, speed, ease of use, and inherently preferable nature due to it's FOSS character.

Oh, yeah, I forgot that your subjective preferences as to desirability of software were universal truths.

Re:Chrome growth is frightening. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35330312)

> they are a corporation for profit, and hence inherently evil,

In free-market capitalism, when you buy something, you trade something you value less (money) for something you value more (a product or service) or you would not have made the trade. You profit from this, so by your reasoning, you are evil. The company does the opposite, they trade something they value less (a product or service) for something they value more (your money.) To me, this sounds like the only moral method since both parties profit and benefit. But, this is your definition of evil, huh?

Where is this "ballot screen", anyway? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35330156)

I'm curious, where is this "ballot screen", anyway?

I'm from Germany. I just bought a laptop a month or two ago; it came with windows 7 preinstalled (naturally: try getting a laptop from a major manufacturer that doesn't come with windows preinstalled). Browser-wise, it had IE installed on it, and that was it.

I fired up IE precisely once, to download an alternative browser, and I've been using that instead ever since. But I sure as heck didn't get a "browser ballot" screen where I could choose my preferred browser, or even any sort of hint that there are alternatives in the first place.

Of course, *I* didn't need either, but if it had been my 68-year old aunt instead who only recently got her first computer ever, it wouldn't even have occurred to her that there might be other browsers. And if it had, chances are she wouldn't have gone to the trouble of firing up IE just for downloading an alternative and installing that (which would probably have exceeded her abilities, anyway). And isn't that the situation where the "ballot screen" is supposed to help?

So, where is it? I've never seen it. I've never heard of any seeing it, personally. It keeps getting mentioned on Slashdot on occasion, but that's the only place I've encountered it.

Where is it?

Re:Where is this "ballot screen", anyway? (1)

xororand (860319) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330900)

I've seen it in vanilla Windows 7 installations, e.g. retail, system builder's and MSDNAA editions.

Re:Where is this "ballot screen", anyway? (1)

CyberDragon777 (1573387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331002)

The OEM you bought the PC from already picked a browser for you. (They totally picked the best browser available, honestly. You can trust them. :P)

If you do a new windows install, the ballot will appear after it is downloaded by Windows Update.

Re:Where is this "ballot screen", anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331150)

I'm guessing you didn't get this machine from a reputable supplier.

Whoever set up your machine has already chosen it, and probably put spyware on it. You should reformat and reinstall your operating system.

Do NOT put any personal or sensitive material on this machine, no passwords, credit card info, nothing. It is unsafe.

So, when will MacOS have a browser ballot?? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35331216)

So I'm still waiting for the EU to require Apple to have a browser ballot upon Mac OS first boot.... I won't hold my breath though.

FlashPeak looks like a scraped site (2)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35331372)

Perhaps the reason FlashPeak SlimBrowser gets so few downloads is because the web site looks exactly like those shady download sites that scrape and index all the freeware and demos, are full of ads and/or spyware.

If they invested $29 in a modern and professional-looking template, maybe a few screenshots and better promotional text, they'd see more conversions. Policy alone can't convince people to trust you if your image is that of a 3rd world splog.

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