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E.U. Browser Antitrust With MS IE Barely Makes a Dent
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msg:4215679
 1:36 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

E.U. Browser Antitrust With MS IE Barely Makes a Dent [nytimes.com]
When Europe settled an antitrust case over Web browsers with Microsoft in December 2009, it hoped to dislodge the world’s biggest software maker from its dominant position in that market by requiring it to offer rivals’ products.

As part of that, Microsoft in March started sending software ballot screens to 200 million Windows users in Europe. The screens ask users to choose a default from a list of 12 browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google’s Chrome, Opera and Apple’s Safari.

Six months into the process, the initiative appears to be having only a minor influence on consumers, prompting a renewed debate about the effectiveness of such antitrust remedies.

According to StatCounter, Microsoft’s leading share of the European browser market fell to 39.8 percent in October from 44.9 percent in January. In 2009, Microsoft’s share declined by 5.5 percentage points; in 2008 by 8 points.

Most of the decline has come amid gains by Google, which introduced Chrome in September 2008. Google’s share of the European market doubled this year, to 11.9 percent in October from 5.8 percent in January.


 

ByronM




msg:4215698
 2:05 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Dunno why this is still news.. especially with the potential of Google to release thin client OS's built on their browser and the fact competition in browsers is stiff and heating up. oh well.

BillyS




msg:4215716
 2:39 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I really don't understand the issue here. The Antitrust move was a complete success. Big, bad, Microsoft was required to provide end users with an option to switch. Not many people did, so what?

I'm not sure why people think it's failing just because people would rather stick with IE.

Quite frankly, IE 8 is a great browser. I love Opera too, great product. Chrome doesn't seem to offer me anything beyond Opera.

Firefox, on the other hand, has gone backwards in my mind. I'm not sure what they did, but somewhere along the line it became slow to load. Once loaded, it seems slow too.

JAB Creations




msg:4215779
 4:33 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think it did fail if people stick with IE simply because it's what they already know even if it's the worst possible option they could choose.

BillyS, create a new profile in Firefox, you've probably overloaded it with too many extensions.

Chrome is just another way for Google to get more information out of you, it's growth is not a positive thing in our industry. While I like WebKit's standards compliance a million folder over IE any way of the week I'd rather see users migrate from IE to Firefox, Opera, or Safari.

J_RaD




msg:4215819
 6:07 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)


I really don't understand the issue here. The Antitrust move was a complete success. Big, bad, Microsoft was required to provide end users with an option to switch. Not many people did, so what?


thats pretty much it, they thought they had some foolproof plan andddddddddd it did nothing. Way to waste time and money EU.

graeme_p




msg:4215827
 6:50 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am not sure it has failed. We need more data. The key question is what proportion of users who saw the ballot screen chose a non-IE browser?

You can exclude corporate users, who will have their browser chosen for them (and if its IE 6, too bad).

MS's share may have declines slower in point terms, but its off a lower base, which means its more significant that it looks.

MS is also fighting harder than ever in the browser market, so the most important question is how well they would have done without the ballot screen.

Also, does Statcounter differentiate between IE and the other Trident based browsers which make up most of the choices?

Jon_King




msg:4215829
 6:58 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

>>Way to waste time and money EU.

I for one applaud their effort. This whole web thing is new to all governing bodies and it will be awkward going for some time. I do not feel the need to kick them in the mouth as they try to navigate a better way forward.

ChanandlerBong




msg:4215902
 9:55 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

...especially as both the US govt and courts have shown themselves to be woefully inadequate in dealing not only with MS but even more so with G.

BillyS




msg:4215937
 12:07 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I for one applaud their effort. This whole web thing is new to all governing bodies and it will be awkward going for some time. I do not feel the need to kick them in the mouth as they try to navigate a better way forward.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again... is that what you're saying?

The problem is Opera wants market share, it's important to their long term viability. Unfortunately, the average Joe could care less what browser they're using as long as it works.

My car's headlights are made by Philips. I'd really like to have headlights made by GE. Why isn't that an option?

And why is it that the only reliable ink for my Epson printer is made by Epson? Maybe we should have Epson send emails to everyone reminding them they have alternatives.

WE NEED MORE CHOICES!

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4215941
 12:40 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

People were offered choice, that's fair.

Now it sounds like they feel that choice didn't impact Microsoft enough and so they want the process reviewed, that's reverse anti-trust.

tangor




msg:4216021
 5:34 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think the reporting is a tad premature. Then again, I have no dog in this fight.

graeme_p




msg:4216052
 7:28 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Now it sounds like they feel that choice didn't impact Microsoft enough and so they want the process reviewed, that's reverse anti-trust.


Not true. who is asking for a review.

I do think there is a case for reviewing it: the choice of browsers presented to users is poor, and offers too many minor browsers that few people will use anyway. I would say offering IE, FF, Chrome, Safari and (perhaps) Opera would be enough, with a "more choices" button to show people a bigger list. That way there would be no horizontal scrolling, and people would see the strong brands that they would be comfortable with first.

ByronM




msg:4216210
 2:26 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

When i go to starbucks I want to be offered Blue Mountain, Seattles Best and Square one Coffee as well :P

Strapworks




msg:4216343
 5:29 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sounds like a child screaming "I want it my way!" and if they don't get it their way they throw a temper tantrum.
I am all about fairness, but they came to an agreement, Microsoft honored that agreement, so they have to deal with the results.
I frankly think there are a lot of people in the world that need to get off their darn computer and actually get a breath of fresh air and maybe even talk to a live person.

pkaster




msg:4216927
 9:57 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

E.U. Browser Antitrust With MS IE Barely Makes a Dent

Really? [gs.statcounter.com] To me it looks like IE has been in steady decline in Europe ever since the ballot screen was introduced.

@BillyS
The problem is Opera wants market share, it's important to their long term viability.

Opera is quite profitable today, IIANM. And growing.

@Strapworks
Sounds like a child screaming "I want it my way!" and if they don't get it their way they throw a temper tantrum.

Who are you referring to?

tangor




msg:4216953
 10:56 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

pkaster, Welcome to Webmasterworld. Read a bit of commentary YEARS RUNNING for answers to all questions above. The deed is done and, for some, well-done. I just think (as stated previous) that the reporting is premature. There's not enough time passed to draw conclusions as regards the screaming child... and that is my comment and left at that.

BillyS




msg:4216957
 10:58 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Opera is quite profitable today, IIANM. And growing.


Last year they made about $5M (USD) and they employ about 700 people. I wouldn't call that quite profitable. It's certainly better than 2006, when they lost money.

Still, my statement was only around the importance of the browser to their long term viability. Are you saying that's not important to them? I think it is...

I'm not picking on Opera, I think they have a great browser, unfortunately most end users could care less - so they stick with IE.

pkaster




msg:4217368
 10:10 pm on Oct 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Last year they made about $5M (USD) and they employ about 700 people.

They made some major investments last year, and were also affected by the market situation. The NOK got much stronger compared to EUR and USD. Still, they have a huge pile of cash, and are profitable.

kaled




msg:4217922
 12:11 pm on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

With respect to market share, Opera are their own worst enemy. I am fed up with Firefox and have been for quite some time but Opera developers can't get off their backsides and/or bite the bullet and make even the simple changes and additions necessary to make Opera a serious alternative.

I would like to change to Opera but I can't - that's the reality of my situation and it's been that way for some time. If Opera cannot persuade me to change they have no chance of success, especially as I don't bother with a heck of a lot features. I'm only talking about the basics - the sort of stuff that in total would take a week or two for one man to fix.

Kaled.

g1smd




msg:4235217
 10:28 am on Nov 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

If the browser options screen made even one person aware that they had a choice, then it was a success.

pkaster




msg:4235631
 12:26 pm on Nov 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Even if it didn't, it is a success because it forced Microsoft to, among other things, default to standards mode with IE8.

bill




msg:4236513
 12:54 am on Nov 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

it forced Microsoft to, among other things, default to standards mode with IE8.
Huh? To my knowledge the browser selection screen had no impact on whether IE defaulted to Standards Mode or Compatibility Mode. I think you're confusing some issues.
pkaster




msg:4236595
 7:01 am on Nov 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

No, Microsoft said it themselves, right after the EC confirmed that Microsoft had violated European Competition Law:

"this step clearly removes this question as a potential legal and regulatory issue"

bill




msg:4237170
 1:59 am on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

That sentence fragment isn't filling in the gaps for me. Can you point to documentation that states this clearly?

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