Browser ballot hurts IE's European market share

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Not that this should come as a big surprise, but one month after the browser ballot screen was implemented in all European versions of Windows it seems Microsoft's Internet Explorer is losing chunks of market share overseas. According to analytics firm Statcounter, the browser's share of all web surfing has dropped by 2.5% in France, 1.3% in Italy and 1% in the United Kingdom over the past month.


While this may not seem like much with IE's close to fifty percent lead of the market in Europe, these trends could foreshadow what's to come. Opera has already seen downloads more than double in Europe because of the browser choice option, while Mozilla says it has seen a surge in interest as well. Google hasn't commented on its gains, but it grew by 0.7 percent Europe-wide in the same time frame.

Smaller web browsers have seen much lower levels of growth and are concerned that they're being squeezed out of the picture -- you can take that literally since only the top five are always visible on the main screen, and only a scroll bar indicates that there are more options. You'd think that having Microsoft promote rival browsers in its own operating system was already a big enough leap, but some are still hoping to change the way options are presented.

The browser ballot screen is part of an antitrust settlement between Microsoft and the European Commission over the choice of web browsers in Windows. A full deployment of the browser ballot screen is still due in May.

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