Mozilla says MS browser ballot glitch cost them 9M Firefox downloads

By on November 2, 2012, 8:30 AM

Microsoft’s failure to follow through with a 2009 agreement with the European Commission to provide Windows users in that region with a browser choice ballot box in Windows 7 has been well documented. Up to this point, the commission has been the only one to field complaints but now we’re hearing that at least one competing browser provider may have suffered thanks to Microsoft’s blunder.

In a recent post on his blog, Mozilla’s Harvey Anderson said Firefox downloads decreased by 63 percent to a low as 20,000 just before Microsoft fixed the problem. He says that after Redmond put the browser ballot box back in place, daily downloads of Mozilla’s web browser jumped 150 percent to 50,000 per day.

Cumulatively, Mozilla believes that roughly six to nine million downloads were lost during the almost 15 month period where the ballot box was missing. We haven’t heard anything from other browser makers like Apple, Google or Opera but one would have to image that their download rates would have tumbled as well during the same time.

Redmond ultimately claimed a glitch in Service Pack 1 prevented some 28 million PCs from displaying the dialog box. The European Commission has since filed a formal complaint against Microsoft. If found guilty of wrongdoing, they could face a fine to the tune of $7.3 billion.

My only question is that if Mozilla noticed such a huge drop in browser downloads (and assuming others did as well), why didn’t anyone look into it to discover that traffic had stopped coming from Microsoft’s ballot system? Surely there’s traffic data that would show an overnight loss of traffic from this source.




User Comments: 14

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1 person liked this | psycros psycros said:

Mozilla didn't look into the decrease in Firefox downloads for Windows because their devoting 95% of their time to FF on Android. The remaining 5% is spent driving away FF desktop developers.

4 people like this | LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

I'm still having a really hard time trying to wrap my head around how it is Microsoft's duty to make sure users download alternative browsers. If the users REALLY wanted FF, they would go get it themselves without MS having to spoon feed it to them. This is almost as ridiculous as the Italian scientists who may go to prison over the 2009 earthquake there.

3 people like this | Vicenarian said:

I'm still having a really hard time trying to wrap my head around how it is Microsoft's duty to make sure users download alternative browsers. If the users REALLY wanted FF, they would go get it themselves without MS having to spoon feed it to them. This is almost as ridiculous as the Italian scientists who may go to prison over the 2009 earthquake there.

Exactly...Microsoft should just stop selling software to European countries, until their governments learn to mind their own business.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

While I won't try to speculate for the majority of the 2011 year, from the end of 2011 to the end of that large dip they report is the same time they quick released versions 8 through 12, and none of those were really any good in terms of improvments.

TJGeezer said:

I'm still having a really hard time trying to wrap my head around how it is Microsoft's duty to make sure users download alternative browsers. If the users REALLY wanted FF, they would go get it themselves without MS having to spoon feed it to them. This is almost as ridiculous as the Italian scientists who may go to prison over the 2009 earthquake there.

Exactly...Microsoft should just stop selling software to European countries, until their governments learn to mind their own business.

Right! How dare they meddle with monopolies like that! Plus, it would give Linux a great boost. Wait - how would that be in the interests of MS, again?

Actually, IIRC MS was required only to offer users a choice. That seems reasonable since the browser is not an inherent part of the OS but they ship it with the OS. I do wonder if they've made the same requirement of Apple's iOS, or Google's Android, or any other OS.

gobbybobby said:

I'm still having a really hard time trying to wrap my head around how it is Microsoft's duty to make sure users download alternative browsers. If the users REALLY wanted FF, they would go get it themselves without MS having to spoon feed it to them. This is almost as ridiculous as the Italian scientists who may go to prison over the 2009 earthquake there.

Exactly...Microsoft should just stop selling software to European countries, until their governments learn to mind their own business.

the ballot box shows users there are other browsers out there, and keeps competition alive in the browser market.

On TV, in the cinema, newspapers, everywhere right now. there are INTERNET EXPLORER adverts, I don't know if this is the same in the US, but since the browser choice was introduced many people who would not have bothered switching, actually have, and Microsoft is fighting to get some of them back with there Adverts. (Google also run browser adverts, but Mozilla never has)

Theres lots of good EU laws like this one around. my favorite is the law forcing the manufacturers of electronic devices (everything from your toaster to your PlayStation 3 console) to provide a minimum 2 year warranty.

PinothyJ said:

I'm still having a really hard time trying to wrap my head around how it is Microsoft's duty to make sure users download alternative browsers. If the users REALLY wanted FF, they would go get it themselves without MS having to spoon feed it to them. This is almost as ridiculous as the Italian scientists who may go to prison over the 2009 earthquake there.

Exactly...Microsoft should just stop selling software to European countries, until their governments learn to mind their own business.

the ballot box shows users there are other browsers out there, and keeps competition alive in the browser market.

On TV, in the cinema, newspapers, everywhere right now. there are INTERNET EXPLORER adverts, I don't know if this is the same in the US, but since the browser choice was introduced many people who would not have bothered switching, actually have, and Microsoft is fighting to get some of them back with there Adverts. (Google also run browser adverts, but Mozilla never has)

Theres lots of good EU laws like this one around. my favorite is the law forcing the manufacturers of electronic devices (everything from your toaster to your PlayStation 3 console) to provide a minimum 2 year warranty.

Australia has a minimum one year but I would love that doubled for the future?

PC EliTiST PC EliTiST said:

Exactly...Microsoft should just stop selling software to European countries, until their governments learn to mind their own business.

In U.S. everyone is minding his own buisiness, and thus, you must be extremely happy about your Corporatocracy, right?

Anyway, I don't even know why I reply to such a mindless dude. MS will stop selling in one of the biggest markets, will start losing millions/billions because the MS Fanboy Vicenarian just got mad... s00r.

Tanstar said:

I'm still having a really hard time trying to wrap my head around how it is Microsoft's duty to make sure users download alternative browsers. If the users REALLY wanted FF, they would go get it themselves without MS having to spoon feed it to them. This is almost as ridiculous as the Italian scientists who may go to prison over the 2009 earthquake there.

Exactly...Microsoft should just stop selling software to European countries, until their governments learn to mind their own business.

This.

Tanstar said:

The real truth is that FireFox used to make the best browser but both Chrome and IE have left them in the dust. Showing live feeds of baby firefoxes has been their top "marketing" of the past few years, whereas it used to be word of mouth (or text, as the case may be).

Tanstar said:

Exactly...Microsoft should just stop selling software to European countries, until their governments learn to mind their own business.

In U.S. everyone is minding his own buisiness, and thus, you must be extremely happy about your Corporatocracy, right?

Anyway, I don't even know why I reply to such a mindless dude. MS will stop selling in one of the biggest markets, will start losing millions/billions because the MS Fanboy Vicenarian just got mad... s00r.

If the EU is going to sue them 7.3 billion, what good is making millions of even billions? Get a clue.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

The real truth is that FireFox used to make the best browser but both Chrome and IE have left them in the dust. Showing live feeds of baby firefoxes has been their top "marketing" of the past few years, whereas it used to be word of mouth (or text, as the case may be).

Curious about what IE is doing?

Guest said:

:DSlow internet explorer makes downloading Firefox more difficult

gobbybobby said:

If the EU is going to sue them 7.3 billion, what good is making millions of even billions? Get a clue.

They should have fixed the glitch in there software a bit faster then, they broke the law, there fault. Like if any European company selling a product in the US was to break US law, you would expect them to get sued! Pulling our of the EU market would cost Microsoft alot more. Hell, I hope Microsoft keep breaking EU law and getting sued, could use the Money to bail out the European country's that keep failing!

A new EU law was also recently passed banning websites from storing cookies on a local computer without the user permission, the UK government is going to get in trouble as they are going to miss the deadline to do this by. Alot of websites now display a bar along the top saying something like "we want to store some cookies, learn more about cookies, allow/ ignore"

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