Mozilla designer wants Windows ballot screen changed

By on October 16, 2009, 2:03 PM
Microsoft is finally drawing close to an agreement with the European Commission, in a longstanding dispute over alleged anti-competitive practices and abuse of its dominant market position to get people using Internet Explorer. The proposed solution, as you may already know, involves giving users in Europe a ballot screen which would show a choice of browsers on the systemís first boot up.

After several months of back and forth discussions about how this screen should look and operate, Microsoft suggested presenting browsers in alphabetical order without favoring any particular option. While regulators in Europe seemed fond of the plan, they opened the proposal for public comment -- and at least one Mozilla developer is voicing her concerns against it.

In a long blog post yesterday, Jenny Boriss, a Firefox user experience designer, said the current layout gives an unfair advantage to Apple's Safari browser over the competition because it will show up first on the list. Curiously, one of the alternatives she proposes is ordering browsers by market share but excluding Internet Explorer. This deliberate piece of doublethink would obviously give Firefox the privilege of first place instead.

In all fairness she also mentions a couple other alternatives like randomizing the lineup altogether or adjusting the random probability in the browser juggling order, so each browser gets the percentage chance of being first in accordance with its assessed usage share, and users can make a more informed decision.

It should be noted that her personal comments were not made on behalf of the Mozilla Foundation, so it's unclear if they'll submit any of this to European regulators. In the end, the average user probably won't care about how this ballot screen is presented as long as they can get online fast and without complications.

User Comments: 24

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Guest said:

typical logic from these people

Captain828 Captain828 said:

One word: WTF?!

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Pretty sure the word 'apple' is what gives them an unfair advantage.

poundsmack said:

Good god people. "this soup's too hot, this ones too cold, this one is still just slightly warm, ...on second thought i don't want any soup, what else do you have?"

every browser maker is going ot b**** and moan if there is even the slightest chance that their competitors have an "advantage." well here is the solution for you morons NO BALLOT SCREEN! If you want your browser included in the windows install talk to the OEM's and strike a deal! It makes me sick that thye just expect something for free, this isn't the IE vs Netscape days. uggg, i could write a really long rant like i have so many itmes before about this but i am burned out.

your Broswers shouldn't even be there in the first place, just be glad you got anyhting and shut the hell up.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

In a Land Called "Browsertopia"

The thing with "news" item is, it's actually left me speechless. Wow, hat's off to whomever.

No wait, I have an idea! Why not make "Web Browser" a desktop icon in Windows! Then use a randomizer program to govern which browser launches at that given instant. Viola, and we're a doubleclick away from Nirvana! All dissent would be squelched, or at least be rendered completely moot. Then, with the careful design of browser themes, they could all made to appear identical. IE, Firefox, Opera, who cares which one is running, turn 'em upside down and they all look alike.

This would also generate work for the IT community, in case the newly minted "browser test pilots" prove so insufferably stupid that they can't manage their bookmarks across multiple platforms. Me, I'm gonna wait for the book version, "Web Browsing for Euro-Dummies"!

MaXtor MaXtor said:

This is just ridiculous. I really think Microsoft has done more than enough. Windows is their product, they should be able to include whatever software they want (and why not include their own). I absolutely hate Internet Explorer (I'm a Firefox user), but it makes no sense to force Microsoft to include their competitors products in their own operating system. It's completely ridiculous.

Guest said:

Can't we all just get along?

tengeta tengeta said:

Microsoft needs to start laughing at these morons and WALK AWAY. Seriously, I'm half tempted to not even use Firefox after reading this. YOU GOT WHAT YOU WANT.

Guest said:

Well, I tell you.

If I ever drink the koolaid and buy an apple product - that SnowKitty OS had better damn well include the option to install Internet Explorer or I am going to sue someone!

Guest said:

I certainly agree with Mozilla. A randomized browser sequence is the most fair amongst these companies. What they should do is randomize them with every attempt to install Windows. I think that would be the best solution.

Guest said:

I still think the whole Ballot Screen thing is ridiculous.

If Microsoft can't supply there browser with their OS, why is Apple allowed to supply their earphones with their Ipod's?

That's an unfair advantage of Apple vs. other Earphone makers!

Ipod's should come with a note, listing all earphones, and all possible locations where to buy them.

Guest said:

"That's an unfair advantage of Apple vs. other Earphone makers!

Ipod's should come with a note, listing all earphones, and all possible locations where to buy them."

There you go again with that logic thing... remember you're talking about the EU (where I live now)... it's not about what makes sense or is fair... it's about having rules... rules to protect a bureaucracy not people

Reloader2 said:

This is stupid. Mozilla is acting like a little child.

They wan't to list it the browsers with the most market share but Internet Explorer doesn't count cause they cheat ??

Guest said:

well, mozilla is right in a way.

many people who know nothing about software, but bought an ipod or an iphone will say "apple safari" and pick it because they think it is good, not knowing that firefox and chrome would give them a better experience.

tengeta tengeta said:

Thats been my point, this ballot screen is going to do NOTHING to "impower" or make for a smarter customer, they are still making a blind decision... Its just something other than IE.

Guest said:

Thats not true. It doesnt matter how much you know about software. People are going to choose who they want to choose based on previous experience and based on what they do know regardless of how little it is. If i was given a list of browsers to choose from I would scroll through that list to find Mozilla because that it what i have been using for years and that is what i have been happy with. You people all leave ridiculous comments and non of them make any sense.

If they do make the ballot screen and any particular company wants to be first on the list they should have to pay microsoft to be in that position. who ever pays the most will; hold the highest position on the list. With the OS being owned by Microsoft and IE being owned by Microsoft obviously IE would be the #1 choice on the list no matter what. Its a no brainer.

Guest said:

Why can't Windows have IE, Apple have Safari, Linux have Firefox, and Finally the upcoming Google OS have Chrome. Then when you want a different browser you go to the website and install it. Problem Solved.


Guest said:

I think anyone who wants to use a different browser is going to whether MS put it there or not, I think Mozilla and other browser makers are just being lazy, if they want people to use their browser they should advertise more to get people to use it!

I dont see apple being made to have a page asking people if they want safari or firefox on their mac or if they want iTunes or windows media player as their media player (yes i know there isnt windows media player for mac im just saying)

You dont walk in to an Apple store and the guy offers you a Nokia phone as well as an iPhone, at the end of the day they would do the same if it was them. I know MS have a big market share but the fight over what browser people use should be the same as any other, I very much doubt that Google, when they make their OS are going to ask people if they want IE or firefox, its just gonna be Chrome.

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

You make me feel proud of the great balance there is within TechSpot's community. In other online circles it's all about Apple and other fanboyism. Microsoft generally gets bashed one way or the other, but that's obviously not happening here.

Either that or government (EU in this case) being an even better target than MS itself

Guest said:

You know what why dont they stop sellin windows in the eu cause all their officals do is ***** and milk ms and also drop all support so its linux apple or nothing and then when apple gets everyone they will be pounced on by the eu and possibly end up doing the same thing. If all the eu can do is demand money off microsoft and other companies to sell their products there why don't they get stuffed and make their own bloody products.

MrAnderson said:

I totally think it is being over thought. ABC order is best, although random order is interesting. The thing is, they should have a message that explains to the user, the ordering. Simple as that... people are not stupid to go oh! Apple's is first... more or less people would choose more on how cool the logo looks if they do not already have a browser in mind. And well Firefox has the coolest logo IMHO. But then again, different age groups will find there own feel for what logo is pleasing.

Guest said:

I think Jenny wants "Mozilla Firefox" to be the only choice available, or if not the only one, the top one regardless of the order of the rest. I think she wants MSIE removed from the list altogether. That's fair. WTF!!!!!!

Eddie_42 Eddie_42 said:

MS should grow a pair and pull Windows out of the EU market. Including all service and updates to existing packages. This rule (even though its been deemed as law) is ridiculous. IE is a microsoft product. Thousands for example could be made like above with the iPod coming with apple earphones.

Dell computer with an Acer Monitor

Chevy with a Saab engine

Mattel toys with Fisher-price accessories

Withhold Microsoft, and wait until they come crying back (my wife does it to me all the time)

Grimrocker said:

I am really sick of all this "ballot screen" talk. Just pop in a few icons any which darn way and let the user pick what they want to install. As long as it's not an ape installing the browser it won't make any difference.

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