Microsoft Proposes a Browser Ballot for European Windows Users, it is Not Awesome

(Note: This is my personal opinion and doesn’t reflect Mozilla’s official position or any formal statement from Mozilla)

Background on the European Commission/Internet Explorer case

This January, the European Commission (EC) announced it would investigate Microsoft’s bundling of Internet Explorer (IE) with Windows. The EC thought that perhaps throwing an IE in with every copy of Windows was harming competition between web browsers and reducing consumer choice. And you can see their point: Internet Explorer makes up 67.7% of the European browser market, and Firefox comes in second at 25.3% (as of Q1 2009).

As Mozilla is an interested party in the browser market in Europe, Mitchell Baker created a list of potential principles to be followed in the EC case, which Microsoft drew on heavily in their settlement proposal. The third principle she wrote was that Windows must enable people to choose other browsers.

In response to this, Microsoft came up with an all-American proposal: a vote! Give users a ballot in XP, Vista, and Windows 7, and let them pick the browser they want from a list. Liking the cut of that gib, the EC gave Microsoft the go-ahead begin formal market testing of the ballot. On October 7, the EC announced a formal settlement proposal. Awesome, right?


A ballot isn’t a great solution

A ballot is simply not a good way to create more “user choice” on the web. While literally giving users a choice, the ballot is unlikely to let users make an informed choice. A user simply can’t choose a browser that’s “right for them” based on a logo and a couple sentences. Side-by-side comparison works for items with easily comparable traits, like price or size or length of time. But browsing experience is just that: an experience. No one can rate experiences they’ve never had.

Another problem with the ballot design, as Asa Dotzler points out, is that IE still has the advantage since pressing “Install” for any other browser besides IE means a long installation process that may make the user quit or cancel. In fact, only 57% of users who click “download Firefox” on the Mozilla website ever complete the installation, and those are people who know they actually want to use Firefox.

Harvey Anderson addresses a few more concerns with the ballot, such as that it appears IE could become the default browser if the ballot is ignored or misunderstood. I won’t repeat his points, very sound. For now, since the EC seems to be moving forward with the ballot proposal, let’s consider how a ballot could be designed as well as possible.

The current ballot design

The current design that Microsoft has proposed includes a whopping 10-17 browsers to choose from. The five most popular (IE8, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Chrome) would be grouped together on the first screen, and the rest would be visible if the user scrolls horizontally. At first, it was proposed that the browser be listed in order of market share (first IE, then Firefox, etc). However, since unfair market share is the reason the EC got hot and bothered in the first place, the current design puts the browsers in alphabetical order by name of the company that creates them. That means the first item is Apple Safari, then Google Chrome, etc.

Current Microsoft ballot proposal

So what’s the problem?

This ordering is about the worst option possible, both for user choice and the web as a whole. Microsoft wrote in their proposal that “nothing in the design and implementation of the Ballot Screen and the presentation of competing web browsers will express a bias for a Microsoft web browser or any other web browser,” but this is exactly what the current design does. Windows users presented with the current design will tend to make only two choices: IE because they are familiar with it, or Safari because it is the first item.

Users selecting the IE logo because it is the image they associate with using the internet isn’t too surprising. After all, many users do not know or care that other browser are available. But the disproportionate advantage to Safari is what really makes this design poor.

The problem is that for the user, screens such as this one are a roadblock to the task they they actually want to perform (in this case, using the internet). And, as Asa notes, the most common user behavior when confronted by a roadblock is to take the action they believe will most effectively remove it.  Because of this, in user experience design it’s standard practice to present two paths through a setup: a well-marked “express” path of giant buttons and recommended options presented first in lists, and the “advanced” path for users interested in tailoring their configuration. This allows users who do not want to configure options to quickly get the setup that is designed for most people. By presenting Safari as the first item in a list, this ballot implies that it is the item recommended to most users.

Compounded with this problem is the fact that first placement on a ballot gives an advantage even outside of computing. Daniel Ho and Kosuke Imai found by analyzing California election results that ballot order gives some advantage to major party candidates, but a huge advantage to minor party candidates who may increase their voter share by 50% simply by being listed first. The fact that the first item on the ballot gets an advantage isn’t really debated: many studies have confirmed this (Darcy 1986; Faas and Schoen 2007; Miller and Krosnick 1998; Koppel and Steen 2004; Gierzynski et al. 1997). And there are many reasons for this to be the case. Susan King Roth’s study of voting found that one reason for first-item preference is that western readers begin a visual scan on the top left of a page. When users are presented with unfamiliar tasks, such as an installation screen they’ve never encountered, they have expectations about how to approach it: they try to recognize patterns in the design from similar tasks they’ve completed. (Dillman and Jenkins (1995, 1997)) This is both why western readers begin visually at the top left of a new page, and defer to previous software installers they’ve seen in assuming the first item is the safe bet. Miller and Krosnick also cite the primacy effect as a reason people choose the first item: if given many possibilities, it is a natural response to choose the first one.

So what’s so bad about presenting Safari as the first, recommended item? Aside from being unfair to the other browsers, the problem is that past consumer choice has shown that Safari does not provide an ideal browsing experience on Windows. Taking IE out of the equation because of its advantage as the bundled browser, the free market really does show what Windows users prefer. Safari has the smallest market share of the five other browsers at 2.6%. Frankly, Safari is a good browser for Apple computers, but Apple hasn’t put much effort to make it competitive on Windows. It’s just not their priority. So, by listing Safari first, the ballot is presenting as the recommended item the browser that is least likely to be the one the user wants. This leads to users having a bad experience using the web, and ultimately hurts the user and the market.

How can the design be improved?

So, what would be the best order of the five most popular browser on a ballot? Unfortunately this is a bit of a least-of-evils question, because as we’ve seen the ballot is not a good way to give users choice, and the first item on the ballot will always be given an advantage. With that in mind, here are two ways the order could be improved to address problems with the current ballot:

1. Randomize the order of the top five browsers each time

A randomized ballot would have the benefit by giving no browser the significant advantage of the first spot. It unfortunately does not provide users with any information about what browsers are preferred, but at least it does not give undue advantage to an unpopular browser each time as the current design does.

2. Order of market share, excluding Internet Explorer. (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, IE)

Holding aside IE because of its bundling advantage, placing the browsers in order of popularity gives some guidance to the user. A user can’t truly judge if a browser is right for them from a couple lines and a logo, so knowing what other users have chosen is actually not the worst way to make a decision. This is essentially crowdsourcing: if 60% of users prefer a particular browser, there’s essentially a 60% chance that a particular user will prefer it. IE still gets the huge benefit of its logo, familiar to nearly everyone who will see the ballot.  In fact, I predict this will be an even bigger factor than browser order. That’s why placing the IE logo last does not put it at a real disadvantage.

3. Edit 10/15/2009 at 4:50pm PST: Probability ordering by market share

I wanted to add one more option to this list that may be the strongest.  It’s an idea I’d been knocking around for a couple days, which Wladimir Palant and Ben Morrow came up with independently: probability ordering by market share.  For the first four spots, give each browser essentially the percentage chance of being first that they have of the total market share.  So, Mozilla would be first about 50% of the time, Chrome would be first 30% of the time, Opera 15%, and Safari 5%.  This allows for the market forces to have some weigh over placement, but doesn’t consistently benefit one browser. The problem is, it still puts some users at a disadvantage who randomly get a less popular browser as the first on the ballot.


Chime in Leave a Comment

  1. Will the actual ballot be presented in IE? That alone sounds like fail, because it’s basically telling users they’re already in IE and not to choose anything, and to just start browsing. Some users might even just think these are ads.

    Seems like whatever the ballot is, it should be in a simple, neutral app. Maybe something akin to the usual installer wizard. Launch it at first login, and have it do a streamlined 1-click install.

  2. David Naylor says:

    Random sounds like the best solution. Of course you can’t win over everyone. That’s because the market has stagnated for so long, most people don’t even know there are alternatives. Back in the Netscape days, people did. And hopefully they soon will again.

  3. Mardeg says:

    I do hope they have a way for users to revisit that screen, so it will “give undo advantage” to the users 😉

  4. Ian says:

    Personally, I reckon this will result in a bigger increase for Google Chrome than Safari – just as people will click on the big blue “e”, they’ll also click on the Google logo.

    People see the Google logo even more to be honest – they only see the browser icon when clicking on it to open the browser – after opening the browser, I’m sure most users see Google many, many times.

  5. Pete says:

    They sort it in alphabetical order by vendor names. Also, the user clearly has 5 choices. We are not talking about a scroll list here. What’s the problem?

  6. vhaarr says:

    I’m quite sure the order they appear is random already.

  7. Random is not a good option because Safari still gets a 20% chance of getting listed first – which is not justified given its market share. There is a third option however:

    3. Randomize the order but do it according to market share. E.g. for the first spot we choose one out of four browsers. If Firefox has 50% of the total market share of these four browsers then it has a 50% chance of being placed first and Chrome, Opera, Safari for example 30%, 15% and 5% respectively. If Firefox is selected for the first spot the remaining three browsers get a 60%, 30% and 10% chance of being placed second (total market share decreased and the chances increased accordingly). However, if Chrome gets selected for the first spot we get 71% for Firefox, 21% for Chrome and 7% for Opera to be chosen for the second (never mind that it doesn’t add up to 100%, the numbers are rounded). IE should still be placed last for the reasons you outlined in your first suggestion.

    This will boil down to the order you have in your first suggestion most of the time. However, the “small” browsers will sometimes get placed first so that they get their share of the people who just click the first entry in the list. If they manage to keep these users their market share will increase and they will be placed prominently more often. Of course this all relies on having accurate/accepted market share numbers…

    • jboriss says:

      Wladimir Palant – I’m so glad you said that – this is actually something I was considering. As you said, it does give a nod to user preference, but without the huge benefit of first spot for each user. I may make an update with this (I’ll be sure to mention you came up with it too).

  8. Jesper Kristensen says:

    Why doesn’t Mozilla speak up more loudly against the ballot screen? Sure, MS and EU has pretty much settled on this proposal from MS, but it is still a really poor proposal altogether, and I think Mozilla should voice that concern.

  9. David Tenser says:

    You’re obviously right that randomization is much better than ordering by alphabet, since the latter creates an artificial and completely unfair bias towards Apple (do we come first if we rename Mozilla to AAMozilla?). I can’t believe that this even being proposed!

    While randomization is a big step in the right direction from where we stand today, it’s still majorly flawed since it gives all browsers equal visibility when in reality the market has clearly indicated preferences.

    The order should simply be based on (active) market choice. I can’t think of a better way to translate that into practical terms than your proposal to order by market share except for IE: IE is the only browser that the market didn’t actively choose, so it naturally needs to be removed from the equation (besides, Microsoft is the reason we’re in this situation in the first place and IE is already installed on the user’s computer).

    In other words, I agree with you 100%.

  10. Mark T. Tomczak says:

    To play devil’s advocate for a bit: As Boriss noted, the ballot system is a roadblock, and standard procedure in a roadblock scenario is to provide one obvious default choice. If users are interpreting this as a roadblock (i.e. a decision they don’t really care to make), shouldn’t that be indicative that users don’t care about what browser they are using enough for this feature to benefit them?

    I suppose it’s a moot point (because it is law now), but perhaps in trying to give users more options, the EU has forced choice on a population that doesn’t want to be bothered to choose. That doesn’t strike me as a user-positive or user-focused strategy either. It’s probably in Microsoft’s best business interests to do everything they can to minimize the pain of this (apparent) misfeature, and as a user who knows where to find his web browser of choice, I’d support them in that endeavor.

    On a side note: given this balloting system, I’d sort the browsers in order of ACID-test compliance score. 😉

  11. Pino says:

    To sum up this post; people are neither capable nor interested in making a reasoned decision. They simply want to browse, it doesn’t matter how. They just try to skip the ballot, that is why it won’t better things.

    Isn’t that exactly what Microsoft has been saying? Wasn’t it Mozilla (and Opera and others) that argued that users DO care and that the mere reason people still use Internet Explorer is that they are put up with it? That if they were to get a choice they would go for the best?
    Now Microsoft will offer the users a choice and Mozilla suddenly says “users actually don’t give a #$*& what browser they use”.

    Certainly some bias can be found in Microsoft’s proposal, I won’t deny that. But based on the arguments presented here any proposal is ‘against’ Firefox. That is because Mozilla seems to assume “if people were to know, they would certainly choose Firefox”.
    Apparently some people just don’t care, you can’t blame Microsoft for that. It is just as wrong to present Firefox first as it is to present IE or Safari first, but unless all logos are stacked on top of each other, there is bound to be an option that is to the left most.

  12. Jesper Kristensen says:

    Mark T. Tomczak Says: “but perhaps in trying to give users more options, the EU has forced choice on a population that doesn’t want to be bothered to choose. That doesn’t strike me as a user-positive or user-focused strategy either. It’s probably in Microsoft’s best business interests to do everything they can to minimize the pain of this (apparent) misfeature”

    No, Microsoft proposed this solution, not the EU. EU accepted it, but I doubt it would be their preferred solution. What Microsoft’s intent behind doing this ballot screen is, is a good question.

    Maybe they think that users will just take the simple path of selecting IE, and then they have an acceptance from EU in hand, so that EU cannot come later and complain about the real problems with tying IE to Windows. I am just making an uneducated guess here.

    • jboriss says:

      Jesper Kristensen – I think you’re right. Microsoft wants to appease the EC, surely not wanting to repeat the February 2008 case when the EC fined Microsoft $1.4 billion for anti-competitive behavior. The ballot gives the advantage to IE in many ways – because of logo recognizability, because IE begins on the Windows desktop and toolbar, because installing another browser is harder than using the IE already there, and because providing a ridiculous 15-17 browser choices is too many, confusing users and convincing them to stay with what they know. In reality, the ballot appears to address the issue while confounding it and still giving IE the upper hand.

  13. Isn’t it great how people will twist the most simple and obvious statements, find hidden agendas in it, attribute personal opinions to companies?

    1. Jenny Boriss is a usability expert and that’s exactly what this post is about: that ballot is a usability nightmare and will definitely not have the expected effect.
    2. Jenny doesn’t make Mozilla’s policies and doesn’t speak for Mozilla. In this post she clearly speaks for herself.
    3. Mozilla didn’t initiate this lawsuit, I actually remember many Mozillians arguing that it will make things worse rather than better. Mozilla participates in this process to make sure it doesn’t turn too bad.
    4. The lawsuit isn’t and never was about giving users more choice (they can already choose a different browser), it is about removing the unfair advantage that IE currently has. Clearly, asking users to make an uninformed choice isn’t helping to solve the problem.

    • jboriss says:

      Wladimir Palant – Sweet, I was just to write almost exactly this and you did it for me. Thanks Wlad! But seriously, I sure as hell don’t speak for Mozilla. Mozilla will probably release an official statement on this issue later. My point, as you correctly note, is that I don’t think any design of a ballot – including the two I “recommended” – will really help user choice on the web or the browser space. It’s true that Microsoft gets a huge market share boost from bundling Windows, but I’m not sure this case, and especially its current resolution, are good ways to address that.

  14. Adrian Kalla says:

    The problem is more complicated than it could seem at first:
    as I read from a few sources, the ballot will present the 12 most popular browsers (that’s why you can see the horizontal scrollbar on the screen)

    But: what are the most popular browsers? One would look at their market share, but wait: how do you want to check the *real* market share of browsers?
    -by looking at the results from NetApplications? Where they measure traffic only on *American* websites? Even if they count *every* Gecko-application as Firefox (so Flock or SeaMonkey have 0,00% market share according to them)?
    -by looking at other statistics, measured on given websites in given countries without being sure how exactly they do it?

    The so called *browser market share statistics* are really good to see how the market share is changing based on time, but not to measure the real market share of a browser in a given moment…
    Because of that, a dynamic-random order of the browsers seems to be the best solution for me.

  15. Mark T. Tomczak says:

    Boriss’s design improvement suggestions are interesting, but I think they run into issues. The first suggestion involves ordering by market share, but it excludes IE because of bundling advantage. This proposal is similar to the screenshot on Dave Heiner’s blog ( But the screenshot highlights an interesting point: arranged by market share, IE should be the first in the list. The withholding due to bundling advantage sounds suspicious to me; perhaps the fact that IE is first in the list should be indicative that crowdsourcing this choice isn’t the best option. We hypothesize that most people use IE because it comes with their operating system; how do we know that most Firefox users aren’t using it because it’s the only other browser they’ve heard of? I’m not sure the wisdom of the crowds is trustworthy on the question of “best browser.”

    In addition, the screenshot (and Wikipedia’s numbers listed at differ from the order Boriss proposes, a difference that highlights the problems Adrian Kalla noted with choosing a “one true” marketshare model.

    The second redesign (randomizing the options) seems to be mis-targeted. In elections, we randomize candidate names to protect against users who have failed to educate themselves sufficiently to distinguish one name from another artificially biasing the results. But a choice of web browser isn’t a winner-take-all game like an election; it’s a personal choice for an experience that isn’t mutually exclusive of other people’s choices. For users who have truly not educated themselves, who is to say that the experience using Apple’s Safari isn’t as good as the experience using IE, Opera, Chrome, or Firefox? Randomizing the choices generates no benefit to the end-user; in fact, it may have a minor negative effect on users who are already familiar with the layout of the chooser UI and want to choose quickly.

    Of course, randomizing could benefit the market-share numbers of the browser vendors. But I fail to see why the EU should be in the business of increasing the complexity of the average citizen’s life to benefit that demographic.

    I wonder if a design that deviates significantly from this ballot system could be more beneficial to the end-user in terms of freeing them from the monopolistic power of Microsoft? One possibility would be to bundle a random browser (from the top-five choices) with every installation of a Microsoft OS. This should have no detriment to users who truly don’t care which browser they are using; users who do care should already know how to download them from the web using any browser, as that knowledge is currently necessary to use an alternative.

    • jboriss says:

      Mark T. Tomczak –

      Thanks for the thoughtful post. And you’re right – Microsoft did first propose a list in order of market share, which the EC rejected because it gave benefit based on market share, which they were citing as unfair in the first place. And I’m sure the market-share-without-IE proposal sounds pretty rich coming from someone like me, who’s clearly got a vested interest in Firefox. But you’re right – I haven’t yet heard a good way to actually handle this problem, because the ballot idea itself is flawed. As much as geeks such as ourselves care about every little details of our browser, normal users probably don’t care much if this browser has a different rendering engine than this one. I imagine explaining the importance to such as user would be like someone telling us why we should care about buying a particular brand of clothing over another one. How do you create more “user choice” when users simply don’t want to choose? You can’t… that’s the problem.

      Your random-browser-bundled solution is an interesting one. It would sure level out market share in a dramatic way! I do worry that it would be frustrating for users who do not know enough about browsers to choose one, but have been using browser X for so long that this random browser is incomprehensible.

  16. Asa Dotzler says:

    Adrian, Net Applications is not the only measure of browser usage. In Europe, AT Institute (formerly Xiti Monitor) and Gemius have quite good data especially for specific countries in Europe (I personally think AT Institute is better for Western Europe and Gemius better for Eastern.)

    The usage share is only intended to determine if a browser is 1) in the top 12, and 2) in the top 5. So there are only two places for it to matter much, if a browser is on the cusp of making it into or falling off of the ballot, or if a browser is on the cusp of the first page (the top 5).

    It’s my belief that there are not 12 viable browsers in Europe by any measure, so I don’t think the first concern is much to worry about. All browsers with any measurable usage will probably be included (can you think of more than 12 Windows browsers in Europe?)

    The second concern, when a browser might climb to the first screen from the second screen, or fall from the first to the second, is a bit more important. The good news here is that in Europe, there’s currently a pretty big gap between the first five browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Opera) and the next batch. The top tier browsers all have multiple whole number usage share while the second tier all fall well under 1% usage.

    That’s today, though, and over the next 5 years — the length this agreement is in effect, that could change.

  17. Havvy says:

    Just the idea that a company should change its product because it possibly has a monopoly is ridiculous…if people really don’t care about something, than it is a non-issue. For those that do care, let them do voluntary actions. Do not force a company to say “Oh by the way, these are our competitors. Would you like to use one of their products instead?” Such foolishness will only hurt in the long run, no matter how you spin it.

  18. John says:

    I think it that the browsers should be ordered by market share, except for browsers by companies beginning with “M” for some arbitrary reason.

    Personally, I think this whole situation is ridiculous, and that the EU are 10 years too late at approaching the issue – and this is from someone with IE8, Firefox, Chrome and Opera all currently installed. All of the modern OSes have web browsers installed by default, and I think Apple’s iPod/iTunes/iTMS bundle is far worse for consumer choice. I also find the “Microsoft proposed this solution therefore it’s their idea” view quite hilarious. The EU pretty much forced their hand into implementing a ballot screen, just letting Microsoft deal with the specifics, no matter what was actually good for users.

    Still, randomisation is the only option that will please the vast majority (if not all), even if it adds a bit of additional complexity, but this is reasonably fair. It’s fairly academic now because Windows 7 is already shipping in Europe.

  19. Ben says:

    Firefox is my browser of choice – in fact, I love it…but sheesh, quit whining! Do we really think the European consumers are too dense to read through all of the choices and select their preference? Give them some credit. I’m no fanboi, but I’m actually starting to feel sorry for Microsoft, who, like the parent of a pack of whiney brats, can’t seem to make anyone happy.

    • jboriss says:

      Ben – Asking users to choose the browser that’s right for them from a couple lines is like asking someone who’s never eaten cheese if they prefer swiss or cheddar. I’m very glad that Microsoft are considering the principles that Mitchell raised, but I don’t think a ballot is the best way to address them – for Microsoft or the other browsers.

  20. James says:

    Bitch, Bitch, Bitch! People will choose the best browser based on their browsing experience, not who’s listed first, third or last. I used IE for many many years, but just recently found that Firefox on Windows was just better and offered more features. Its not like a presidential election, one vote, no do overs. The PC isn’t going to locked down, and won’t allow the user to install another browser later. Give me a break! You cry worse than my two year old!

  21. Kristofer says:

    I say make the icons move! Clearly this creates the ultimate in randomization. If a user is too uneducated to have a preference in browser, perhaps they will relate better if it is more like a video game…. shoot down the bad guys and the remaining browser “wins”. This is ridiculous of course but it makes about as much sense as complaining that someone stole Firefox’s cookie from the cookie jar. Please!!! This was asked for by the EU and the competing browser companies. Quite frankly, it’s all sour grapes. Someone is always gonna come up on the short side of the stick, so to speak.

    • jboriss says:

      Kristofer – Look, I’m not going to lie, that idea is AWESOME. We should give the browser “enemies” abilities and handicaps based on their market share. Maybe Safari starts out with more damage as the least popular, for instance. Careful, IE spawns adds!

      Alternatively: slap the monkey, win a free browser!

  22. James Foster says:

    you sir are an idiot! My argument is as full of substance as yours!

    • jboriss says:

      Ma’am, and no worries, I was actually getting excited about what sort of game we could make. I realized after posting that it would be Chrome who spans adds, since they have better process separation.

  23. dan tynan says:

    we mocked up our own, far superior, browser ballot here:



  24. NateF says:

    Where are you getting your market share numbers from?

    Worldwide browser market share, September 2009:

    Internet Explorer 65.71%
    Firefox 23.75%
    Safari 4.24%
    Chrome 3.17%
    Opera 2.19%

    Am I missing something? And I don’t think those numbers even include the iPhone’s MobileSafari and whatever Android’s browser is called (it’s some mobile variation of Chrome, isn’t it?).

  25. Matt says:

    I actually think that the moving icons idea along with randomization is best as was suggested by a friend. A carousel like would work.

    Perhaps the top 5 could go on a moving carousel with the others below in the scrolling list or behind a collapsed panel.

  26. NateF says:

    @ Matt,

    Are you serious? o.O

    I can only imagine how confusing a moving web browser carousel would be, even to semi-experienced users?

    I say put IE at the very end of that horizontally scrollable list, with all other browsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, and so on) ranked dynamically by monthly browser share percentage from left to right.

    If IE MUST be visible without horizontally scrolling the list, then place IE at the far right, after Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera (again, according to monthly browser share numbers).

  27. MD says:

    “Random is not a good option because Safari still gets a 20% chance of getting listed first – which is not justified given its market share.”

    Um, this isn’t a question of what’s “justified.” If you want it to be a methodologically sound survey/choice, it must be random.

  28. Dave says:

    I’m sorry but I can’t agree with most of your argument above. If IE has unfair market advantage – then the argument you make – that browsers be listed by market share DOES NOT favor choice or better competition. It boils down to – lets replace the dominant browser by the next most dominant browser! Thats just plain stupid. I could come up with any number of scenarios for listing browsers – lets list by the fastest javascript engine to least, lets list the browsers by support for HTML W3C standards, lets list the browsers in terms of support for the CSS box model, blah blah blah. The best competition would be if all browsers had equal share. Random is the best option since all browsers get an equal chance of being first – and that includes IE. I don’t like MS for a variety of reasons (actually lack of standards support – they would be last in all of the lists based on above) but realistically if its going to be fair it needs to be so for all vendors. I also agree with Ian – most people probably will respond to the logo. At 2 yrs my kids could recognized McDonald’s by the logo even though I never took them there for dinner. Google and Apple would likely benefit from this too – brand recognition for both companies is high.

  29. Kieran J says:

    Alphabetical….I don’t need to say any more…

  30. John Walker says:

    Does anyone have a mock-up of Apple’s browser ballot? Linux? This is ridonkulous.

  31. Adrian Kalla says:


    As I said before, the market share numbers you’ve cited are from NetApplications – measured nearly on US-American sites only. Safari is in most European countries the 5th most popular browser.


    right, there are more market share statistics, e.g. you have really good statistics for Germany here: (BTW. Does Mozilla know this statistics service already?)
    But how do you want to sum up all the statistics you get from all the sources? Take the midpoint? By that you still don’t get the real market share.

    At the end you should take individual statistics for each country: Xiti Monitor is good for France, WebmasterPro for Germany, Gemius for many countries from Eastern Europe – because they measure on sites of *their* countries – so if based on market share, the ballot should be done separately for each European country.

    But as noted above, based on market share you are exchanging one dominant browser by an another. Random order on *each* display would be the best option, but real random, and not “the top5” and then the rest, because what would be the reason to disadvantage the other browsers? Right, there are not so many, beside SeaMonkey, Flock and K-Meleon – I wouldn’t be surprised to see there “browsers” like Maxthon & Co.
    But if we have to live with the stupid idea of a ballot, then at least every browser should get an *equal* chance for getting chosen by the user.

  32. Chris Yate says:

    Apart from the geekboys and geekgirls, the vast majority of computer users _really_ don’t care what browser they use — even though the alternatives have a lot going for them. They certainly aren’t really interested in spending half an hour downloading a new browser.

    A more sensible solution would be for Microsoft to just bite the bullet and bundle Opera, Chrome and Firefox in with Windows. (Safari too, if you must).
    Then in “Start Menu”/Programs/Internet Browsers/ you’ll have all four (five) to choose from.

  33. Macmaniac says:

    Well, first of all, the Safari is the best web browser on the market. Its techniques and features are awesome. So if someone has really to buy Windows and use it, he should use Safari. Even better buy a Mac and install Windows 7 on it. It works native and you have a Mac and can also use Snow Leopard. This is the way it should go 😉

  34. Macmaniac says:

    Oh and I forgot, Safari is the most fast browser actually on the market!

  35. Kristoffer says:

    Really? I mean, really?

    So next time choose a better name and stop blaming the alphabet, this whining is ridiculous!


  36. Max Horvath says:

    Sorry, but this is just ridiculous!

    Since unfair market share is the reason the EC got hot and bothered in the first place, your whining around the proposal to order all browsers (but Internet Explorer) after market share is just bulls**t.

    It’d would still be against the goal the EC has.

    And I wonder why you’ve been writing this long article – why didN#t you just write: it sucks Firefox isn’t at the first position – dear EC and M$ – please be nice to daddy an give Firefox the first position.

    Or why don’t you cry about M$ shipping Internet Explorer with Windows instead of Firefox?

    And would you also cry about Chrome not being at position one when you’d be working at Google?!?

  37. Pete says:

    Es gibt ausreichend Alternativen, auch oder gerade zu Mozilla Firefox, diese Diskussion zeugt von Entwicklern und Browserherstellern, die scheinbar Langeweile haben. Schafft lieber einen Browser, der wirklich funktioniert, anstatt euch mit sinnlosem und neidischem Geplänkel sowie äußerst dämlichen Kommentaren hervor tun zu wollen.

    Ich lerne aus diesem ganzen Theater, dass ALLE Nutzer darauf verzichten sollten Opera oder Firefox zu verwenden und stattdessen einen der anderen Browser verwenden, von Firmen die sich fair und ruhig verhalten !!!!!!

    IE = vielleicht
    Opera= Nerver!
    FF = Never!

  38. nickjaeger says:

    Sorry Lady this is a stupid discussion…..

  39. Mariusz says:

    My proposition is…
    The ballot screen should include names for 100 top celebrities in each country. User should choose at least 33 celebs,than the system should connect to the celebs’ computers (they should be obliged to provide MS with their IP numbers and stay connected 24/7) and check their browser. Than user should be presented with information what is the most popular browser among celebrities and this browser should be automatically chosen.
    People follow celebrities in their life style, diet, clothes, cars, so they should follow them also in browser.

  40. James says:

    If going on market share is bad (because it puts IE first), going on “market share except IE” is any better. If it wasn’t for the fact Firefox is second, how many people would think that is a good idea?

  41. Nebrewfoz says:

    “How to rig an election, open source style.”

  42. pippo says:

    that’s a fake problem… take it easy.

  43. Espen says:

    Grow up Boriss! This is on the same level as a five year old!!!

  44. Tony Almeida says:

    Oh Grow up! They even argue less in kindergarten.

  45. Robert Ameeti says:

    Current market share should not be considered as that only favors IE and making an exception for not listing IE first would only be to penalize MS for something that is arguable.

    Listing them alphabetically is wrong as that only encourages naming things like ‘AAA Plumbers’ with no regard to quality.

    What we really want to do is to encourage browsers to work properly and consistently so that users see things consistently and so that web developers can create one site that works identically across all browsers.

    The browsers should be listed in order of their scores on tests such as the Acid Test or some other test that has been created by a non biased organization.

    Quality is what should be encouraged rather than the same old thing regardless of its quality. Ordering based on quality and consistency promotes quality and consistency.

  46. Joel Maher says:

    I tend to disagree. While I personally have converted all my family and friends to Firefox (except the Microsoft employees) this post and the majority of the comments are expressing frustration about Firefox not being the defacto choice.

    In regards to choosing the best quality browser, quality is left up to the end user, not a benchmark. Many people can’t stand firefox because it crashes and eats up a lot of memory. So from that standpoint, IE appears to serve better needs. Quite frankly Firefox on Mac sucks for some online java based games I play.

    Another point mentioned is using the most popular browser as the first choice (or a seed in a random choosing). This again is a bad decision. First off, IE was thrown out of the picture in the discussion. Secondly, this ignores a new browser that might be better which has a smaller market share, but is growing rapidly and is truly a better browser.

    What I do know is that Microsoft pushes IE down the windows update channel so no matter what, end users have easy access to IE. Why are we just picking on Microsoft? All Apple machines come with Safari out of the box.

    I think what needs to happen (and not by mandate of the EU) is better education about computers and the internet. Once a computer user is educated about how to maintain and protect their computer along with what each application is for, they will be open minded to trying different applications and choose for themselves which suits their needs better.

  47. maxauthority says:

    I can just agree with Dave:
    “I’m sorry but I can’t agree with most of your argument above. If IE has unfair market advantage – then the argument you make – that browsers be listed by market share DOES NOT favor choice or better competition. It boils down to – lets replace the dominant browser by the next most dominant browser! Thats just plain stupid.”

    Just make the top5 purely random, and it’s the fairest choice.

  48. After reading this post, my first response is “Waahhhh!!!” Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I’ve read such a whiney post.

    You make a valid point of suggesting Explorer shouldn’t be the first choice. You make another good suggestion in that the choices should be random. Unfortunately, these are the only two valid points in your post.

    I’m quite sure your whining against Safari is unfounded and unjustified. For example, you claim “the problem is that past consumer choice has shown that Safari does not provide an ideal browsing experience on Windows”. Really, based on what? Apparently, “consumer choice” favors Internet Explorer. Yes, “ignorance” and “indifference” are choices.

    Then, you incorrectly claim “Safari has the smallest market share of the five other browsers at 2.6%.”. FYI – NetApplications shows IE: 65.71%, Firefox: 23.75%, Safari: 4.24%, Chrome: 3.17%, Opera 2.19%, etc. For some reason, you claim Opera has a higher market share than either Safari or Chrome. What is your source of information for this claim?

    You then claim “Frankly, Safari is a good browser for Apple computers, but Apple hasn’t put much effort to make it competitive on Windows. “. Have you even used Safari on Windows? Have you used Safari 4? I’m guessing that you haven’t. I think we can all agree that one’s preference is subjective in nature, but there is nothing to support the overall broad claim you make.

    I realize that your job is to promote Mozilla products. I like FireFox, but I don’t agree with most of the arguments you’ve made in this post as they are unsupportable and unsubstantiated. I believe Microsoft is trying to be fair here and I suspect based on the whiney tone of your post that nothing will satisfy you short of an unfair advantage in favor of Firefox. Your post would carry more weight if you stuck with the constructive suggestions for Microsoft rather than making these shallow unsupported attacks on other products such as Safari.

  49. Mitch says:

    They should be ranked in order of the presumed IQ of their users.

  50. Mitch says:

    I’ll be glad to do the presuming. No charge. You’re welcome.

  51. James Barnett says:

    I think it would be wrong to put browsers based on popularity simply because firefox simply is not as good as so many people claim. I’ve played with Firefox
    and Internet explorer and have found both lacking. Firefox 3.5 consistently crashes and Internet Explorer is too slow. Personally I’m a big advocate of Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari if you’re basing your facts on usability and speed.

  52. Dave says:

    Would you be complaining if FireFox were listed as the first option?

  53. jL says:

    Listen gang: this post strikes me as no differently than hearing a child whine. Alphabetical isn’t awful (and do any of you *honestly* think Microsoft somehow want’s any of Apple’s software coming earlier in order than their own???)

    Randomization isn’t an awful choice, though.

    But if that list were indeed sorted by market share dominance, then IE would come first.

    You’ve argued that market share implies market choice, but if you really believe that, then explain Mozilla / Firefox’s ascension against IE over the last 7 years.

    So while it’s desirable to have that first slot, you can’t always get it. I would think that in this case, the EU actually likes the alphabetical ordering of the browsers by vendor because they can be confident that there won’t be any trickiness to the algorithm that “tends” to bump MSIE to the front, and in fact “buries” MSIE in the middle.

    There’s no foul here, kids. Let the market play out; Apple & Google lucked out on this break; next break may well be yours.

  54. rcw88 says:

    What a lot of fuss, since discspace is cheap, why not simply bundle the current top five by market share,but thinking about it the ACID test ( much fairer.
    IE = 12/100
    Firefox = 93 /100
    Safari = 100/100
    Chrome = 100/100

    But to my mind ANY browser or application that insists on using the ‘proxy defaults’ as set by the O/S is WRONG.

    So Firefox wins, but I am not Mr Average user.

    Showing a novice the difference in performance with dancing-tux.gif is usually enough to convince them that IE suck and Firefox is better.

  55. The correct solution is to integrate just one browser with the operating system, and offer a choice of operating systems.

    The Windows monopoly is the problem, of which IE’s monopoly is just a symptom.

    • jboriss says:

      Greg K Nicholson – That would certainly shake up the market! Good luck getting Apple to run OSX on non-Apple hardware, though.

  56. Gau says:

    It’s a pretty bold move by Microsoft, putting it’s own browser’s market share at risk.. Instead of criticising and cribbing about it, prove to users that you are better, build your brand such that people pay attention to it and click on it..

    In short: Stop being a cry-baby, grab your market share by good work and not at the mercy of Microsoft.

    • jboriss says:

      Gau – What I don’t like is users being given an unpopular browser, not Firefox picking up market share or not. I’d much rather this ballot just go away and people keep using IE than for Safari to get some very strange market take from people who don’t want it, don’t like it, and don’t know how to get rid of it. And to be fair, it’s not like Microsoft is putting its share at risk out of the goodness of its heart. The EC needed a proposal, or would begin fining Microsoft like they did in 2008. I think Microsoft went for an option that would confuse users but still give IE the upper hand.

  57. Stephen says:

    First off. The stupid snap shots javascript thing is the worst use of technology I’ve seen in a while. Not only is it annoying when it pops up, it prevents both middle-click and cmd-click from opening the link in a new tab in Safari.

    To the topic at hand. The idea of a ballot as if they’re electing the next dominant browser is fucking stupid.

    As for the suggestions you gave?

    Randomly doesn’t make much sense really. If as you say, the average user will just click on the first one they see, then they still aren’t making a choice so much as they’re in a crap-shoot to see if they happen to get one of the “crappy” browsers.

    Using market share is stupid too, as it simply reinforces the concept of “everyone else uses this, so you should too”, regardless of the user’s needs.

    I don’t think there is a solution that everyone will agree to, but for once I think Microsoft might have it right. At least Alphabetical sorting is LOGICAL. People are used to things being sorted alphabetically on computers, and lets face it, most of them will just look for the pretty picture they used before.

    • jboriss says:

      Hey Stephen –

      The alphabetical ordering isn’t logical, as a list of words in alphabetical order would be, because users aren’t actually seeing the name of the company that is being alphabetized. You can see on the mockup that Firefox is just listed as “Firefox,” but it’s listed fourth because Mozilla begins with an M. Thus, to users it appears random. It was proposed as an arbitrary alternative to pure market share value.

      Also, you’re right about Snap Shots. I’ve turned it off. 🙂

  58. Mac says:

    Give me a break! Now you are just looking like a bunch of whiners instead of an institution looking to make a point around fair competition. You wouldn’t have said a word if Mozilla was first! This isn’t about fairness, it’s about using anything and everything possible to put money in your own pockets!

    • jboriss says:

      Hey Mac – What I’m saying is that I don’t think anyone should be first. That’s why I think randomized might be the most fair option, and I suspect the EC might as well. But really, do you think Safari being used by 20% of Europeans on Windows will be a good thing? For users, for the web, or for web developers and designers? I like Safari a lot, because it’s a great streamlined browser for Apple, but you can’t deny it’s a bit of an afterthought for Windows.

  59. Spade says:

    You could always rename your product AAAAAAMozilla AAAAAAFirefox. Pretty sure you’d be listed first then.

    My respect for Mozilla has been slowly diminishing every time they’re quoted in relation to the EU browser situation. No matter how much you try to disassociate your comments from them, this is far too consistent with the general attitude displayed in Mozilla’s official statements to be a coincidence.

  60. KenC says:

    The only choice that makes ANY sense is your first choice, random order. Your other choices all seem to go completely against the whole point. And your own argument why being first in the order is overly advantageous should seem to argue against those choices. In fact, the originally proposed idea of alphabetical arrangement seems more random and fair, given that the companies did not know that might be a possibility. And, by using company names and not browser names, the proposed idea prevents gaming the system by coming up with the AAA browser or some such nonsense. It’s far harder for a company to change its corporate name.

    Further, you seem in your diatribe against Safari, to be employing circular reasoning. You seem to think current share somehow validates customer choice, when the whole point of this EU exercise is because consumers have NOT HAD a fair choice, so how can current share indicate anything?

  61. JcNowai says:

    Yes i too agree that the order isnt working i mean look at the screenshot, Da (danish) is Third, this is clearly a disadvantage and i demand that the language bar should be random. If not then Da should be put first since danes are the superior people of Europe, maybe in the world.

  62. Robert Ameeti says:

    To do this by random order only suggests that we are not smart enough to come up with something better.

    To do this by alphabetical again suggests that we are unable to be smarter than that and to encourage more silly company names.

    What do we want to promote? Good browsers? Then use any of the many tests available that test for quality or consistency and order them by those scores.

  63. Joel says:

    It’s really funny how much Mozilla is starting to act like Microsoft. “We are the bigger market we deserve to be more prominent!” Whining and complaining, you know what? Apple makes a damn good browser, you make a good browser too but what’s wrong with a little fair market? Let people try Safari, Internet Explorer blows so the kind of person who chooses that isn’t in your niche anyways. If anything Google Chrome is your biggest worry, GOOGLE is prominently displayed and I don’t think a soul hasn’t heard of them. So buck up you freak shows your not going anywhere, up or down.

  64. I’m a longtime Firefox user and Microsoft Shill 🙂

    Would Mozilla be interested in offering a similar screen for picking the default search engine in a future release of Firefox? Maybe after November 2011?

    After all individuals must have the ability to shape their own experiences on the Internet. Mozilla currently leads this charge and I hope they continue to do so whichever way the internet develops. So if Google or any company dominates my internet experience I hope that Firefox offers me a choice.

  65. CB says:

    Your premise is wrong. The ballot is not a vertical list. It is a horizontal list with logos and a description under the logo. The alphabetical order means nothing when the layout is done the way it is shown. When you look at the window, your eyes go straight to the center. The prime spot is in the center, IE is the first thing people will see. Safari on the far left is not obvious because the graphic is dull and will be overlooked by most. Google is the second best because the logo is bright and cheerful. Opera is next because it is bright red. Firefox is just like safari with a dull graphic. Your eyes are also drawn to the center because the paragraph for IE is longer than the others.

  66. Stephen says:

    So, maybe the order should either a) display the company name or b) sort by browser name.

    Even if you ignore that using browser share seems to continue the existing problem, it’s impossible anyway, if you want to be accurate. What country/region do you use, and which set of statistics? I’ve never seen any two sets of browser share statistics that match up with another set for the same period, from a different source.

    Doing it randomly will just make the whole thing appear even more ridiculous and slap-dash than it already does.

  67. joecassara says:

    Can you pseudo-intellectual FireFox Fanatics cut the crap already? This isn’t a presidential/parliamentary election. Your deep rooted hate for all things non-Mozilla/closed-source seeps through this rhetoric and faux concern about the end user’s browsing experience and the free market.

    The free market doesn’t always guarantee that the “best” technology, based on the emphatic whimpering of technocrats, reaches the top. This is a seminal myth invalidating all of or arguments. Not to mention the EU’s inquisition into Microsoft’s anti-competative behavior by bundling IE with Windows is a steaming sack of Socialist horse manure to begin with.

    And, no, I’m not a Windows Enthusiast.

  68. Ari says:

    As others have pointed out, Safari and by extension Chrome (which uses Webkit) have the highest standards compatibility according to the Acid test. Safari is also at the forefront of pushing future web standards such as WebGL and CSS Animation. I agree with other commentators that this blog posting does sound like whining and that the author would only be happy if Firefox was listed first.

  69. Justin D says:

    Wait, I’ve got the solution for all problems. And it’s something everyone is familiar with.

    Order the browsers by HEIGHT.

    Like when you were lining up for a museum field trip in 6th grade and you needed a quick no-bias way to get in an orderly line.

    You’re welcome.

  70. chinhster says:

    That’s cool Jenny, keep changing the rules to favor you.

  71. deadDuck says:

    Your blog post “sure as hell doesn’t reflect” any intelligent thinking, either. You should be ashamed of this content.

  72. Justin D says:

    Oh man, sorry, I just actually read the entire post.

    Two of your three solutions would result in Firefox taking the first slot 100% and 50% of the time, respectively.

    Which immediately negates your argument regarding ballots and probability of first-listed option being chosen.

    Nothing wrong with alphabetical. Time to change Mozilla to Aardvark.

  73. Vinícius Ferrão says:

    WTF?? This post is simply ridiculous.

    If firefox was the better option people will look for firefox even if it was hidden! It’s not the case.

    Get your effort creating a better browser then finding ridiculous arguments to explain firefox depreciation.

    Firefox at 3.0 version is a piece of junk. And I’m moving it now to my trash. Safari is now my default browser.

  74. John Gee says:

    Ok, this tops all.

    Have the users take a new Facebook quiz called “Which browser are you?”
    in which they answer a series of questions relating to their intelligence, personal style, personality, nerdiness, and mental stability.

    Then of course, survey 1000 users of each browser and get their results from the sane quiz.

    eHarmony meets Facebook meets browser wars!

  75. John Gee says:

    That is, “same quiz”.

    And of course, match accordingly.

  76. Jerry Brace says:

    This blog post could have been a simple tweet… “FireFox isn’t listed first – I think it should. *cry*”. Lame post. Most people are going to see the blue “E” and click on it – no mater what is around it. A slightly less number of people will click FireFox… Can’t believe I’m still commenting – cyas

  77. Tom says:

    “I like Safari a lot, because it’s a great streamlined browser for Apple, but you can’t deny it’s a bit of an afterthought for Windows.”

    It’s weird then that both my Mac and PC get Safari updates pushed on the same day. Weird…

  78. Tom says:

    “In short: Stop being a cry-baby, grab your market share by good work and not at the mercy of Microsoft.”

    Couldn’t agree more. The push for Mozilla to get top billing here hidden behind a pseudo-crusade of fairness is laughable.

  79. Tom says:

    “Thus, to users it appears random.”

    Ummmm, so what is the problem then? Apparently it already seems random. This discussion is like watching a dog chase its tail.

  80. woozer says:

    How pathetic are you? I bet you wouldn’t be whining if FF was given prominence (howsoever that’s defined – first, middle, take your pick).


  81. David Hayes says:

    Alphabetical is surely the only way that makes sense unless you can fit all the browsers on a single screen.
    I reckon 99% of users won’t scroll, what happens if the 5 shown browsers are really obscure ones? It’s going to really confuse the average user.
    The average user really doesn’t care about what browser they use (nobody reading or commenting here is an average user)
    The browser wars were boring the first time around, it’s getting pathetic when browser companies complain to the EU to gain market share. Stop acting like children, gain share by having a better product and convincing users of that

    • jboriss says:

      Actually, neither Firefox nor any of the other browsers complained to the EC – the EC independently said they wanted to investigate Microsoft. They’ve also done so in the past (2004, 2008). The ballot was proposed by Microsoft to the EC. Other companies are only weighing in because they were asked to as interest parties. Personally, I don’t think there should be any ballot at all. Surely IE gets some boost for bundling with Windows, but announcing competition and providing options isn’t a great way to address that. As you said, the average user doesn’t care and this will only confuse them.

  82. David Hayes says:

    What do you propose instead of a ballot?

  83. manny says:

    random please

    also firefox has a big marketshare

    opera is a nice browser too specially v10

    all are good except ie8 in my opinion (but atleast better than ie6)

    Also there needs to be a ballot for OFFICE apps!!
    Openoffice, google docs, ms office, etc.

  84. Ari Blackthorne says:

    Soooo… Safari scares the shit out of you, then?

    That’s what I gather from this diatribe.

  85. Nope says:

    um, aren’t they listed alphabetically via the company name?

    Superwhiners (aka Opera)

    English is hard.

  86. cbr says:

    good grief. cry us all a river. i use firefox a lot, like it quite a bit. this is a huge improvement and the fact that so many ff users are whining about even having the opportunity to gain more market share is really annoying. short of the firefox team creating a whole os (like apple and microsoft) and then defaulting that os browser to firefox, there is nothing that can improve this situation for you. os x does not give this option, just provides you with safari. microsoft gives this option now, so you should be super excited! reading this post and comments makes me want to move to opera or safari.

  87. Hease says:

    Seriously? Market share is the best determinant of the browser? I’ve used firefox because it was the biggest name out there against IE, but I’ve been using it so long I just stick with it. Not because it is the best.

    To say that firefox is second in market share because it is better than Chrome ignores the fact that Chrome has only been on the market for a short period of time compared to FF.

    Selective argumentation that favors your point of view is not very persuasive.

  88. Harrison says:

    Lets complain more than we should! YAY why did this turn up in google news/?!?! why!?

  89. drshdw says:


    Pretty much scares her shitless.

    Safari is faster/better than FF at JS/CSS/DOM/ACID. lawl

  90. Omar E. says:

    I’d agree with you if you only mentioned randomizing the placement of the 5 most popular browsers as the solution. A market share based ordering (probabilistic or not) would greatly favor the non-IE browser with the most market share: Mozilla Firefox. Such a proposal represents a huge conflict of interest, and it was pretty tactless to even mention it. Even though the current ordering gives Safari an undeserved advantage, at least it was neutral.

  91. Ferk says:

    Did you noticed how The google chrome description is so lacky in comparison with IE’s?

    what’s “a new web browser for Windows” when you can have “even better… faster, safer, easier”? And it’s right in the center of the window, with the same logo that you had to click before.

    Also, for the few people who read the text below it gets pretty obvious that “Windows” Internet Explorer (mentioned several times there) is like a default.

    They obviously fear Google’s popularity so they gave it the worse description ever. Normal people won’t install something just because it’s “new”, in fact many people even avoid the new unstable software.

    And well.. in fact most people would actually prefer to not install anything and start browsing right then.

    I really think that it would have been much better if they had not included ANY browser by default.

    • jboriss says:

      Ferk – it’s my understanding that the descriptions are all placeholders for now. But you’re right that it will be relevant what they eventually are.

  92. Matt says:


    To paraphrase your argument, “If Firefox is not first, then the design of the ballot is bad.” I use Firefox every day but you’ve convinced me that the only thing important to you is market share and not the quality of the product. As a designer of Firefox, quality should be your only concern. Your argument sounds very monopolistic to me and I don’t want to support it. I think I’ll go give one of the other browsers a try.

  93. Chris says:

    Really. So your proposal to order them based on market share (excluding IE of course) would then give Firefox the coveted first spot. And the whole “Randomize, bases on market share” would essentially give Firefox first billing 50% of the time.

    You need to quit your whining. Alphabetically obviously isn’t good enough for you. Maybe Mozilla should change their name to Aaaardvark and then you would be content.

    I am sure if the Ballot solution that Microsoft proposed placed Firefox in that seemingly coveted first spot, this blog entry would not even exist.

  94. Random says:

    hey hey, you know, firefox should be placed after Opera

    Microsoft IE
    Superwhiners (opera)
    Ultrawhiners (firefox)

  95. Armin says:

    “Actually, neither Firefox nor any of the other browsers complained to the EC”

    Opera Software did.

    Opera files antitrust complaint with the EU:

  96. bibibu says:

    How about pointing the default page to a publicly maintained page that contains a comparison of all browsers in terms of Acid3 score, web standard (CSS3, HTML5) support, and features?


    It is quite pathetic that you, a FF designer, have to whine about MS not giving FF prominent placement and repeatedly attack Safari which, along with Chrome, has the fastest rendering speed and new web standards support.

  97. Alex says:

    So you want to help the 2nd place browser gain a new monopoly through psychological manipulation of the user? GET OVER IT! Mozilla is essentially saying that “monopoly is bad, unless it is ours.” Personally, I find Chrome, Safari, and Opera to be far more useable and enjoyable than firefox. How about they rank it in terms of customer satisfaction?

  98. jake says:

    How lame. You don’t like the order, but you wouldn’t mind the order if FF was first. This is the stupidest tech story I’ve read in a long time.

  99. Mat says:

    you should have named the company aardvark

  100. grimacekscu says:

    Any data regarding position of a name in a political ballot is irrelevant to this particular discussion as political ballots (at least in america) are vertical and text only.

    the entire point of the ballot being proposed is to show people that there are options and give them an opportunity to explore those options.

    the BEST position in a layout like this (a big box inside a window) is the object in the dead center. Microsoft didn’t pick this “alphabetical by company name” layout on accident… they wanted to put themselves in the center and this was the methodology they chose to make that happen. the advantage is to Microsoft first and then firefox and chrome. safari and opera are the redheaded stepchildren in this ballot (no offense to actual redheaded stepchildren. i’m sure your families love you very much). The browsers to the right of Opera might as well not exist.

  101. Mark T. Tomczak says:


    Thank you for answering a question that I had been curious about. I noticed a sudden change in the tone of these comments, and it made me wonder what news aggregator had picked up Boriss’s blog post and given exposure to the teeming masses.

    I think it would be useful for people to keep in mind that neither Mozilla nor Boriss have personally forced Microsoft to offer any sort of browser choice. Microsoft’s hand has been forced by the European Commission. Boriss is merely commenting on interesting possible side-effects of the interface design they have proposed. Reading other posts in this blog will quickly reveal that its focus is critiquing and discussing design. I don’t believe that the fact Mozilla has a horse in this race has significantly influenced Boriss’s opinion on the issue; merely that it has brought the issue to the blogger’s attention.

    I’ve criticized the balloting system on the whole as a misfeature, but it seems silly to criticize Boriss for putting in two cents on the design as proposed—or to speculate on whether this blog post would exist if Firefox were the first option in the poll. Let’s all try to keep the signal-to-noise ratio high and focus on questions of design.

  102. Jayce says:

    I know, let’s be even more logical and user friendly and just present the users with a text box and they can TYPE the name of the browser they would like.

    Oh wait, no, that’s an idiotic idea.

    The alphabet makes more sense…..

    Jenny, I can’t wait for your next blog about how you think my Rolodex should be reordered in order to not show favoritism to the letter “A”.

    And please, do follow it up with a thought-provoking posting regarding how the arrangement of the buttons on every phone I’ve used and every elevator I’ve seen is just so unfair!

  103. Jorgie says:

    If I recall corectly, prior to the Microsoft case bundling had _never_ been applied to a free item. It was applied only when a company chaged more for two items that it would not let you split up then it would have if you only got one of them. The damn cable compainies (actually the media owners) do this all the time. You cannot have the popular channel you want unless you also buy 3 crap channels.

    This is not the case with we browsers at all. IE and all the others mentioned here are free. It is not bundling in a legal sense. Also, Microsoft does not make any money off of IE directly. Bing adertising yes, but they already let you choose your search engine.

    This is a stupid argument, MS should be able to include it’s own browser just like Apple does. The EU should only care if they start charging for it.

  104. Brad says:

    All of your proposed solutions, with the exception of the random order, are obviously biased. Isn’t this option great for the number of consumers who have never seen or heard of Firefox. This is the epitome of a notreallypersonal blog entry that you should have just kept to yourself.

  105. QQ says:

    OMG, Firefox isn’t first… but I’m so biased against it, I’ll write some total bs article just to justify my personal stake.

    Quit being such a baby. Making me that much more likely not to touch the damn browser.

  106. Michael says:

    Wow, what a whiny take on the implementation of the ballot. We should be first on the screen because we have the second largest market share, wahhhh! I like Firefox and use it most of the time, on a Mac no less, but this is ridiculous. It sounds to me like someone wants Mozilla to have an advantage in this situation.

    It just goes to show yu that no matter what someone does, even if it is to be accommodating (though not by choice in this case), people will still complain.

  107. KennMsr says:

    I would possibly agree if Mozilla could render HTML5 documents properly. I’ve submitted my site to Firefox to have the rendering corrected but several weeks have gone by without a fix in the update. I works with IE and Safari but not FIrefox so why should they be listed first.

  108. Steve Johnson says:

    In other words, the core argument of this article is:

    “Alphabetical order is a bad idea because, you know, Apple is shit and stuff….and IE is before Firefox”


    “Marketshare order should be done, so others can make up their mind for them….er..except for Microsoft. Yeah, that’s it!”

  109. I’m no fan of IE (I’m writing from Firefox) and have not been a Windows user at all for some years, but the fact that there’s a ballot being introduced to begin with should be good enough. Windows is a Microsoft product, which they include other Microsoft products within. I think that’s perfectly reasonable. There’s nothing preventing users from installing another browser. So this is a non-issue to begin with.

    But they have introduced a ballot, and now you’re upset because the ballot doesn’t favor Firefox? All but one of your suggestions give Firefox the distinct advantage, and as someone earlier on said, all that does is replace the dominant browser with the second-most dominant browser.

    This is pedantic and ridiculous. Who cares what order it’s in and who is to say what order is fair? Who is to say that the goal of this screen is to educate? It’s not! It’s there to provide the consumer with options, if they want the option. I think it’s competitive enough that Microsoft is listing your browser to every single user installing the operating system to begin with.

    I guess some people can’t be pleased.

  110. Dinofond says:

    OMFG would you like some wine with your cheese? I am so sick of Mozzila people whining about where they are placed in a charts (or not placed in a chart). You people cried when Jobs didn’t list you in his key note only IE the last Safari launch. I’m sorry but you’re a pathetic crybaby grow up!

    -Sighed Dinofond A fire Fox user!

  111. James Wong says:

    WoW!!! People like Jenny will not stop complaining! MS give them what they always wanted – browser neutrality and yet they still complain??

    What is she talking about randomizing? I don’t want to spend more than 15 mins on that same shelf looking for what I want. Jenny is a kind of designer who doesn’t come with simplicity in mind but who comes stuffed with inefficient bureaucracies.

  112. Goose says:

    so sad that you are fighting a monopoly on the browser market with an argument that helps nobody but yourself. You accuse MS of being too powerful, yet your accusations clearly come from a jealous motive, as shown by the fact that the only solution you will be happy with calls for FF to be in the best spot. A good solution has been proposed, alphabetical order, yet to you this is not good enough because you don’t personally benefit from it. I cannot believe that outrageous logic in this blog post; it’s completely stupid. Are you so blind to not see how biased your “solution” is?

    Totally absurd.

  113. Zach Flauaus says:

    Shouldn’t you be a bit thankful that Microsoft listed Firefox? They could have listed other browsers instead of them.

    “So what’s so bad about presenting Safari as the first, recommended item? Aside from being unfair to the other browsers […]”

    So if Firefox was first, wouldn’t that be unfair to other browsers? Opera? Because browsers have feelings, you know. People don’t choose the first option. They go with what has been their way to browse in the past and have the option to have choices.

    Some (like myself) would argue that Safari is a better product than Firefox at points. Make a product awesome and people will go to it even if it’s not the first option.

  114. Jorgusch says:

    I just agree with Joel Falconer.
    It is just ridiculous to try telling the EU that it should replace the dominant browser with the 2nd dominant – this includes the “strongest” solution of probability. Equal chances means equal chances. They all have the same size and are on the same level. Point.

    Just a comparison.
    It is like you want to choose from energy sources. You want to be green, but the first offer you get is nuclear and then cole. I know, I know, obviously FF is the greenest ever, but what if I, the consumer, disagree and think it is Opera?

    It is about the consumer and insteat of playing the big lobbycard with the “strongest lobby” in the background, you should maybe take care of the consumer and improve the code. Otherwise, I see no difference in the behaviour between nuclear companies and mozilla. Lobby, lobby without any stop…so long until there is very complicated solution no one understands.

    Keep it simple. MS did, be happy.

    PS: Excluding IE in general from your lists? I am not even going into this point, because it just shows that the fight seems to be more important than the result.

  115. zs says:

    I thought the description of the browsers in the selection screen depicted by Microsoft wasn’t very fair in the first place. I started a poll to see what people would choose, given the browser descriptions (without mentioning the browser itself). Let’s see what people end up with. Join the ballot testing at:

  116. Joe Average says:

    Since you guys actually do make money on Firefox (or at least try to, I don’t care) you start behaving like bitching whiners. get a grip. get off my lawn.

  117. really? says:


  118. John Masterson says:

    Are you related to Orly Taitz?

  119. Mikael says:

    You can’t complain about something and at the same time you don’t have any solution. If it where Firefox that where first, would you complain then? of course not.

    Microsoft have finally given other web browsers a chance, and I don’t see any problem with their design and solution.

    all the best, Mikael.

  120. Matt says:

    I’m a loyal Firefox user and long, long time web developer who has despised IE to the core since Windows 3.1, and even I think this is absurd.

    This “blog entry” is completely subjective and biased, and not at all objective. If Firefox was in slot one, you wouldn’t have said anything because you would perceive your browser as being in a superior position. You’re not complaining on principle or in the interest of true fairness, you’re just watching out for your own interests.

    Not good for credibility.

  121. Don says:

    Socialism at its “finest”. This whole thing is an (unfunny) joke.

  122. critic says:

    I think you should understand that
    #1 most of the people don’t care a f*** about which browser they use and none of your options will prevent them from choosing the blue “e” which is “the internet”
    #2 people who actually do care about browser will choose according the preference they already have, regardless of where “their” browser is placed
    #3 you can’t force people of group #1 to care about browsers

    I think randomization isn’t a bad idea. But my overall impression of your article is you’d in fact like to place a layer ad over the ballot screen saying “just choose Firefox, you morons!” (which imo isn’t the right approach …)

    P.S. I use Firefox since Phoenix 0.6, but I’m pissed it still doesn’t support keychain on OS X …

  123. Some0ne says:

    Sorry, but there is a limit to everything…

    I think it’s a good idea, that Microsoft gives their users the possibility to choose a browser (even if I don’t think that it is legitimate forcing them to do so – but this is another topic).
    Now Microsoft surprisingly implemented the whole thing in a neutral way (sorry, but order by alphabet is as neutral as it gets) – and people are still complaining?!

    Of course – the “random placement” would be as good as the “alphabetical placement” but it gains it advantage only in the statistics (looking at 1000 installations) and so has no advantage for the particular user. And we should care about the users, not the statistics.

    The second idea “sort by market share but with IE in the last place” is quite ridiculous especially since it comes from you, the Mozilla people! Market share is NO argument at all! I’m sure you’ll agree with me, that Internet Explorers huge market share bears no proportion to its quality (it’s got big market share but poor quality). This is because they gained their market share by (ab?)using their market position with operating systems. Now honestly spoken: Firefox (which of course is better than the IE) also did not gain it market share just because it’s so good. Firefox’ market share comes from it’s huge media presence during the last years… not only the “professional journals” but every daily newspaper and even the magazine of the rabbit-breeder-club pushed Firefox.
    So what do we get now:
    Internet Explorer -> operating system monopole
    Firefox -> media monopole
    Safari -> Apple-Cult-Follower advantage
    Chrome -> advertising monopole
    Just one candidate has no monopole or advantage.. it’s the Opera Browser. Still it’s (in my personal opinion) the best choice of the five.

    Think about it!

  124. aikiwolfie says:

    I’m a Firefox user with Ubuntu Linux and even I have to admit this blog post just sounds like sour grapes. Just what exactly should Microsoft do to make you happy? Offer Firefox as the default? Never going to happen!

    Here’s an idea. Since it was Opera that had the balls to raise the complaint in the first place, and everybody then jumped on the bandwagon, maybe Opera should be in the prime time spot on this ballot screen? Wherever that spot happens to be.

    Personally I don’t scan the screen from top left to bottom. The first place I look is the middle of the screen. You see if you had been paying attention to current web design trends, you would have noticed the actual content sits more to the middle of the screen. Both vertically and horizontally. The edges are filled with menus, links and adverts. All of which my brain has learned to filter out.

    The system I would like to see is something like Sony has done. They have gone and installed Chrome as their default browser on their Vaio range all on their own! I’m guessing they must have perceived enough interest from customers to take that step.

    So Sony are responding to the market. They are delivering to their customers the software their customers want. Or it could have been a sponsorship deal with Google. Who knows.

    The point is though. This is a voluntary action Sony took on their own. Other manufacturers should be doing the same thing. Dell for example launched their IdeaStorm web site. Then immediately ignored substantial numbers of contributors demanding Firefox and responded to demands for Linux with a pitiful offering of a very limited number of systems which they tried to hide for nearly 2 years.

    Just what was the point in asking customers to tell Dell what they wanted if Dell were never going to deliver? That’s just bad PR in the making.

    Personally I would like to see manufacturers paying attention to what is actually happening in the market. Then just as in Linux distributions, the most popular browser becomes the default on it’s own merits. And then has to fight to keep that default status. That is healthy competition.

    Where is the point in being an open source freedom software advocate if we’re going to tell everybody else how to do things?

    If however we must have the ballot screen on Windows then I’d like to see a truly random ordering of that screen. So there would be no preference given to any particular browser. Anybody genuinely interested in freedom of choice for the consumer shouldn’t have any trouble with that solution at all. It leaves people free to make up their own minds.

  125. Fast says:

    This whole EU crud has really got me disliking the people at Mozilla and this blog post doesn’t help. Someone mentioned a whiny child in an earlier response and that seems to be a most fairly accurate analogy of Mozilla right now.

    I use all the major browser’s except Google. I like Opera and Safari and use them on a daily basis along with Firefox. Maybe once a week I’ll use IE.

    Firefox is a great browser. It is by far my browser of choice. The add-ons and customization options are what makes it better than Internet Explorer. But when a website won’t load properly in Firefox or another browser for some buggy reason, I pull the website up in IE because it’s dependable in that regard.

    Look Mozilla, you’ve been given a clear victory in getting a company that has developed and paid for their own distribution of product to include your “free” software at no charge. And now you want to be promoted as better than that company as well, given more privilege than them. You’re coming off like a greedy little brat right about now. It’s not pretty. So stop it.

  126. jjcale says:

    Perhaps you ought to suggest renaming Mozilla to Aasshat.

  127. PaulB says:

    I agree the ballot’s design is poor, but complaining that it gives Apple an “unfair advantage” is silly. Speaking as a graphic designer:

    * Firefox and Opera logos both have a colored background, Opera even more prominent than Firefox. If I were you, I’d worry/complain that Opera might attract more users. People will be thinking “I’ve heard of I.E., but what’s this Opera popping right out at me?”

    * The Safari logo is a small graphic with low contrasting colors on a white background, and has a near tie with Google’s Chrome for the least amount of body text. Their screen space with text and graphic combined take up less space than Firefox and I.E. Quite honestly, Microsoft has been pretty generous giving Mozilla that much copy.

    * What are you expecting from users, sophistication-wise? If you think left-to-right listing of a browser is going to significantly reduce the number of people who choose Firefox, I wager you’re wrong. Because the text is still flowing top to bottom, and each is given equal horizontal placement, the bias is so minute it doesn’t exist

    I can reassure you that many people still remember the Mozilla brand (Firefox) because it was cross-platform well before Safari was. I helped turn many people to using it vs. I.E. back in 2000-2002 when I was in a customer support environment, and still do. Safari, while having a larger backer, is still trying to play catch-up, which I hardly doubt it will succeed in doing from the advantage of history Firefox has. Besides, by your market share logic, you’re giving an unfair advantage to new offerings on the market – which Firefox itself was back in the early days. Randomization will only fetch more complaints by people wanting to suggest their more “random” formula and crying foul that Microsoft isn’t listening to them.

    Besides, it’s much easier to me to choose the same icon where I remember it being in the list. This helps when setting computers up and shaves a few seconds off. MInor nifty plus, but a plus to me none the less. And until I read this post, I wouldn’t have hesitated choosing Firefox. I’m glad you’re not representing Mozilla here, because if you were I’d probably reconsider a different browser. Regardless of location on a ballot.

  128. Camán says:

    No it’s not.
    The customers are most likely most familiar with Windows IE and to the right, which is where the eye goes next, is FireFox.
    Safari is in the worsted position and then Opera.
    Firefox is next to the most popular browser And to the right of it!
    Don’t you think that Microsoft has though this thru
    and put Apples web browser in the least favorable position?

  129. Andy says:

    You are completely wrong. All this MicroSoft bashing has to stop. I am in no way a fan of MS and don;t use their products. But they are doing this in a fair way – alphabetical – and don’t favour their own IE in any way whatsoever. If FireFox wants more market share they should just make the best browser, which I don’t think they do, Opera is much better, as is Safari.

  130. Pelle says:

    Stop whining and get another job if you cant handle the competition. Or better yet, make your own OS and include FF in it without the possibility to install any other browser. People will change browser in good time as they see that other browsers are more secure and/or quicker.
    This kindergarten mudthrowing is getting realy boring to see. It’s like saying that a car maker cant include their own lets say brakes, but instead have to put another companys brakes, no one does that.

  131. Mike says:

    You know, Ms. Boriss, I hope you’re not reflective of the hiring decisions by Mozilla because, quite frankly, you’re just promoting a petulant, childish and whiny stereotype which is damaging to alternative platforms as a whole and Mozilla in specific.

    In the first place, if you’re going to discuss psychological effects, you’ve clearly forgotten that I.Q. in relative terms strongly affects expressed behavior. Think of I.Q. as a bell curve based on statistical distribution norms and you’ll clearly see what I’m saying is correct.

    Quit pandering to the lowest intelligence and lowest savvyness out there. You aren’t doing Mozilla, yourself, or any of the rest of us any favors! We don’t need the bar lowered, we need it raised!

    Let the people out there who don’t know any better — and who are either too self-insufficient or stupid — go and pick Internet Explorer or, for that matter, perhaps Safari. We don’t need them along for the ride, anyhow, as there is a cost associated with having low-end folk as your customers. The ROI doesn’t justify keeping them (in any quantity) and if what you’re trying to imply is true (that is, without help or artificially propping up other alternatives, particularly the one produced by your employer) that Firefox needs all the help it can get to stay competitive, then you have already lost. It is not a matter of if, then; rather, it is a matter of when.

    I am a *huge* fan of Firefox and I have been since its introduction. Anybody with any sense on any of the major platforms — Mac OS X, Linux or Windows — is already using it. Just because Microsoft pitches any particular kind of “browser ballot” isn’t going to change things. You’re in the browser industry and you should know this! It shouldn’t be incumbent on an outsider like myself to have to tell this to you!

  132. Chris says:

    Hi Jenny,

    I’m sorry, I Respectfully disagree.

    First: Randomizing by market share defeats the purpose of the whole exercise.

    Second: The argument that Safari (or any other browser) is a poor choice given its’ current market share runs counter to the whole argument of unfair dominance by MS. You cannot claim that Microsoft’s browser dominance is unfair, and at the same time claim that current market share for everyone else’s browser should be a factor in how often they get the prime spot in the list.

    Third: While you’re entitled to your opinion about Safari on Windows, if your post is truly about what you claim it’s about (how to provide users with the least biased way to make a browser choice), then comments on the merits or deficiencies of ANY browser have no place here.

    Fourth: I agree with a previous poster who said, in essence, that people who truly do not care will chose I.E. because they are familiar with it, regardless of were it is in the list; and that people who do care already know which browser or browsers they want and will either find it in the list or download and install it.

    Solution: I would suggest that either truly random or alphabetical is fine. The more important thing would be to ensure that MS makes it possible to totally remove IE in favour of another browser, without impacting OS functionality.


  133. Roberto M. says:

    Hey why not cancel the release of this thing and push it back a couple of years so we can develop some totally awesome crazy live marketshare data feed based algorithm. Please!! I think people tend to not give a rats ass about the browser they choose, since 90% of them can’t distinguish between “the internet”, “the search engine” and “the browser”.
    Meh… but maybe it’s just me… I’m by no means an MS enthusiast, but there’s a limit, people.

  134. RobM says:

    Frankly I think your behaviour with this nonsense is disgraceful and reflects very badly on Mozilla, making you and your employer appear to be nothing but a bunch of whiners.

    It’s alphabetical, that’s as “fair” as anything. I notice all the other “solutions” to the order presented here tend to favour Mozilla Firefox… I’m *sure* that’s just a complete co-incidence right?

    (And before you ask, I’m a firefox user)

  135. Jesse Wilson says:

    I find it amusing that because Safari (on Windows) doesn’t have a large market-share and apparently offers a substandard browsing experience—it doesn’t have plugins, duh—it’s being listed first is somehow unfair and a disservice to the user.

    To then say that market-share ordering would be the best solution, but that IE must be excluded from this and be listed last, is hypocritical at best.

  136. kane says:



    Microsoft is being actually very consenting to even have the ballot, shutup you bitchy prick. Your like a teenage brat who gets something she wants, and the demands something more.


  137. Ron says:

    Seriously, I love Firefox, but this is just insane. If I were you I would be thrilled. Just because you’re not the first in the list, you’re now gonna bitch at this?

    It will never be good enough, I’m sure. When I look at the browser selection screen, I see an unbiased choice where every browser gets its share. It looks really good to me, and is way better than I ever expected from Microsoft.

    Stop your complaining and put your energy into development please. This is just nuts.

  138. You're such a whiney bitch says:

    New features in the next version of Firefox:

    1)Randomized bookmarks but using a weighted system so anything that is associated w/ Firefox, conspiracy theories or porn goes to the top of the list.

    2)Randomized keystrokes. That’s right, every time you push a key some random letter or number will register. However, there’s also a good chance your keystrokes may pull up “You’re such a whiney bitch” instead.

    3)Menus will also be randomized by order and by their contents!

    4)Randomized chance to actually go to the address you choose. This applies to bookmarks and everything you type in (assuming you can even choose what you are going for). Note that there is a higher than average chance you’ll instead be directed to

    Guess they’ll hire any morons over at Mozilla these days.

  139. Idiocy? (long time Firefox user) says:

    Why this fuss? If Firefox is really “good”, then people will choose it regardless of which position it is placed in the ballot screen.

    As a long time Firefox user, I’m a little surprised at your reaction!

    I was not pleased when Opera whined at the ballot screen and now it looks like Mozilla’s turn. Perhaps next the Chrome guys and Safari guys will start whining:)

    Remember that Mozilla Firefox spread through word of mouth when IE had so many damned security flaws?

    Microsoft could have just refused point blank and said a huge “NO” to the ballot screen. Instead they let EU take the decision and now you’re complaining that it’s “not awesome”?

    Are you afraid that people will switch over to Safari, Chrome or Opera?

    Most of the average users don’t care a damn about the browser they use.

    You’s Microsoft’s OS after all. They will tie their browser to it. Of course, a smart user would ignore that browser and get other better options.

    Do you really think that this ballot screen is going to make alternative browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Opera famous? Fat chance, I would say!

    Again, I’m very disappointed by your reaction:(…Please concentrate on making Firefox much more better again. You could start out with the memory hog issue and also work on cutting down the start up time. Now that would really be wonderful, wouldn’t it?

  140. WB says:

    Let me first say this browser ballot is the stupidest idea every forced on microsoft.

    2nd. By marketshare, IE would be first.

    3rd. first position isn’t always the best. I think the center positon is best because it’s the first option the user focuses on, then outwards.

    4th. This does represent the opinion of Mozilla since you are a part of mozilla, a percentage of mozilla.

    5th EU is trying to “force” users to use a different browser. some people i know would see it isnt IE and install IE. Stupid, yes, wrong, no. I know someone who use d IE for the past 8 years and never had a virus

  141. Jason Mayfield-Lewis says:

    Personally, I think complaining is utterly insane – there’s no ‘fair’ way to do this, why should FF, or any other browser get an ‘advantage’? You’re just whinging because FF isn’t first, so far as I can see.

    Plus, all this support for Firefox when it takes at least three times as long as any other browser listed to start up, hangs up regularly, renders pages noticeably slower than Chrome, and crashes on a fairly regular basis (i.e. more so than Chrome, although perhaps less than Safari on Windows :-/). I used to love it, where did you go wrong?

  142. The Dude says:

    I totally disagree with most of the points raised. The order by manufacturer was probably created to benefit MS – afterall the prime position is surely bang in the middle…

    The 60% of users would prefer is ludicrous – users conform to certain habits. If 60% of users generally “prefer” toast, it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t prefer full English breakfast if they had the opportunity.

    95% of users “prefer” windows – doesn’t mean they wouldn’t prefer Mac OS if they had actually used it!

    Reordering makes for inconsistency, and poor user experience. Imagine supporting such a system… “Er yeah, you want to click on the 3rd one from the right? … Oh, that’s not the one I meant???”

    “Top four, excluding Microsoft” – okay – So completely impartially, you want your browser to have prominence of position… so let’s go by market share…. oh no!! That benefits Microsoft, so let’s come up with some arbitrary rule that hampers M$.

    I’ve got another one for you….We all know that every granny will install Firefox, because of the cute little fox… So let’s arbitrary suggest that every Logo with an animal in it takes priority placement. Well, you’re not too worried about Safari, as not a major competitor (except of course in quality of product – but that’s another thing altogether) so any logo with a mechanical/scientific instrument/device should got second. Okay, now totally randomly, any logo that has a prominent letter should go next (Excluding Microsoft of course, as we can view them to be “evil and anticompetitive” which means they should go last. Finally, as Google has great brand recognition and is a real threat to the dominance of Firefox moving forwards, they should go second to last. Now, to help the user, all except the first placed logo (in this case firefox) should be greyed out. We should then put flashing stars around the Firefox logo. Comeon, who’s with me, this is totally arbitrary!

    Can’t you just be glad that Microsoft has implemented something that will increase other browser’s popularity?

  143. Chigurh says:

    It’s amazing how you can argue against this, _at all_! MS is trying to give users the choice without influencing it, and all you care about is that your browser isn’t in the first place. It’s really ridiculous how people always bitch about MS, even when they obviously try to do things well…

  144. ed says:

    For all those who suggest adding a random A in front of the browser name or organization name – it’s been tried before in local politics: 😀

  145. Alan says:

    LOL, You got to be kidding!

    There is no top position in this list because it is listed horizontally not vertically.

    That makes a BIG Difference!

    In-fact, when looking at this I can not see a top chose at all. I love Firefox, use it Exclusively and recommend it to any and all, but this is just pointless bitching!

    I personally I think Microsoft should give a BIG “F.U.” to The EC! No one bitches about Safari being already installed in OSX.

  146. zieroh says:

    It seems to me that many of the pro-Firefox commenters here seem to be engaging in some fairly dubious arguments in a bald-faced and shameless attempt to justify Firefox being listed first.

    The most egregious example of this — that the browsers be listed in order of market share, except for the one with the dominant marketing position — is simply replacing the biggest bully with the next-biggest bully. Honestly, I’m astonished that seemingly intelligent people would stoop to such gymnastics in an effort to justify their chosen browser. You guys should be ashamed of your Microsoft-like tactics.

    If things were meant to be TRULY fair, the browsers would be listed in order of market share, alright, but from least to most. That way, all browsers would tend to even out over time, or at least approach parity.

    I’ll note for the record that such an arrangement would put my personal LEAST favorite browser first.

  147. Reality Check says:

    Way to come off as a self-serving whiner, Boriss.

  148. Rakesh says:

    Sort it alphabetically by company name… oh no, not fair!

    Sort it alphabetically by product name… oh no, not fair!

    Sort it by popularity and highest market share. Wait… that’s the whole reason for the ballot screen in the first place. Not fair!

    This would be funny and its pathetic seeing you whining here

  149. Fuck you. says:

    Microsoft shouldn’t have to bend over backwards just for you, you fucking shit.

  150. Jack Dee says:

    Jenny, You really should get a life. Firefox is bloated and should not be included on the list. Count yourself lucky that MS included you.

    Maybe MS should have not included a Browser and let the user sort if out themselves this would have been fair. I can just see the packaging Windows 7 not internet Browser included as not to disgruntle the FF creators

  151. Eraserhead says:

    In UK elections the candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name – just as Microsoft have done here with company names. This seems to be totally fair.

  152. Don says:

    Windows 7: Socialist Edition

  153. Thog says:

    As others have said, no matter how you list items, something is “first”. I would not like randomization, too much of a pain when you are doing many installs. Going by the Vendor’s name is as fair as anything else.

    If you go in market order, you’re just propagating the status quo. Then, leaving IE off would be an unfair exception. (As much as I don’t like it, I prefer being fair.)

    I think it’s a bit of a “sour grape” situation when you criticize Safari. I use it, it works well. As well as any other browser I’ve used – they all have flaws and they all have strengths.

  154. Wilbur says:

    Will somebody please stop that incessant whining?

  155. DM says:

    I hope that this whining will stop, be happy that they have included the different browsers. Even if your browser is listed first doesn’t mean it will be used more.

    So stop this nonsense and focus on developing a better browser instead of investing millions on lawsuits and unneeded discussion about how bad MS is, how about you show them how good you are without whining…

    An no I’m not a IE user but a Firefox user.

  156. Stop whining! I’m so tired of this case. If it were up to me, Microsoft wouldn’t have to do this AT ALL!
    And for the record. I never use either IE or firefox. I’m a google chrome user.
    So, PLEASE! STOP WHINING! Users doesn’t care which browser they use. They just want to surf the web.

  157. Thomas Wiesinger says:

    If it’s a road block, then make it very simple:

    Put a big “I don’t care / select later” on top of the list. Those who don’t care will select it and they will continue to use IE and they and everyone else is happy.

    Those who care will look what is below and will then not choose Safari because it’s first (as the first option is “select later”) but because they want it, or choose whatever they want, because they care.

    That will solve the problem.


    PS: Sorry if this was proposed before, I didn’t read thru hundreds of comments 😉

  158. Chris says:

    You should spend your time on improving Firefox instead of issuing stupid request to the European Commission or complaining about an alphabetical order.

    An unhappy firefox user who is more and more thinking to change his browser for one supported by a less morron team of developers.

  159. Aleksander says:

    Quit your whining.

    It’s not like any other OS lets normal users (like the ones that choose a predetermined desktop install of linux) choose which browser to use.

  160. Sean says:

    It’s whiney drivel like this ‘article’ that makes even open source evangelists like myself blush with embarrassment.

    Seriously – grow the f*ck up

  161. Ra says:

    Whats your point…if you get your way, Apple will complain, if Apple gets its way, Google will complain.
    You really want IE off that list and Fireox first….lol.
    Its a MS OS, go make your own and tailor it your way.
    What really is not fair is that MS HAS to add other companies browsers into THEIR OS.
    You guyes should have gone for your own OS years ago 😛

  162. Vykook says:

    Renaming of “Mozilla Foundation” to “aa Mozilla Foundation” will be probably much better solution, then rethinking ballot again and again. 🙂

  163. load.o.crap says:

    I don’t wanna sound like a troll… but you’re trully a big whinny bitch, why aren’t you complainning about america’s market, where Windows comes with IE de facto and nothing else, why don’t you just change the “Can a browser really…” for “Pick us up!!!, we are crapping our pants out of fear for losing our market share!!!” or put “Crapzilla Firefox, Now with more Internets!!!” that should help you.

  164. Yeronimo says:

    Haha. Mozilla ppl have always been bad losers

  165. Eric says:

    Stop whining! Firefox isn’t that much better than the other browsers.
    You just can’t stop nagging about Microsoft. *yawn*

  166. Frank says:

    Djeezz, get a life man. What an incredible stupid opinion.

  167. Mike says:

    It’s never good right? Just because your affiliate to firefox you want something to complain…

    Get a life..

  168. Herman says:

    Oh my dear God, please get yourself a life. Seriously NOTHING Microsoft ever does can go by without some idiot criticising their desicion.

    This, by far, is the most retarded citicism ever.

    Alphabetic is as logical as it gets.

    Please disconnect yourself from the internet for the rest of your life to prevent me from screaming WTF the next time you post something, upsetting the neighbour’s kids. Now I have to go and apologise.

  169. Y. says:

    come on…. put them in a spinning wheel or whatever?
    too childish to complain about. at least firefox and opera are mentioned!! Do you really think people go for the first option? if you mention on first place the option to get 10 dollar and the fifth place up to 10000 dollar. I realy should choose the right option…?!
    This is just picking and complaining.
    every browser even has an own slogan etc… this is nice!!

  170. Bajoran says:


    Get a life.

    What did you want than, Firefox as first?

    You cant please them all, they could deliver 5 cd’s extra with Windows so the choice would be based on which cd people choose.

    Probably the one with the flashiest design on it.

    Sorry you lose Jenny.

  171. Nerdi says:

    Mr. Firefox, please get a live.
    What do you want!!!!

    This is so no-lifer attitude.

  172. M2 says:

    This article is just pathetic… “Probability ordering by market share” that’s real fair to browser like Opera. You are only looking for a better marketing option for Firefox with a Microsoft attitude. Carreer change?!?!

  173. RandomFool says:

    Perhaps you should have put so much passion in the fact that M$ is being screwed over by true monopolists.
    I would rather have seen no option, no browser, no mail clients, no solitaire … Euro-‘leaders’ have done nothing but cost me money, no wait… i am wrong they made telephone messaging cheaper between eu countries…

  174. Me says:

    Is this the most important issue you have in your life…the arrangement of the browsers???!!! Kind of pathetic, don’t you think?

  175. Don says:

    Why doesn’t the EC start making McDonald’s sell Whoppers? Sounds about as “fair” as basically forcing MS to include alternate web browser options in *their* OS.

    jBoriss, I honestly think you don’t even understand the meaning of the word “fair,” at least, not as it’s aptly used in a free market economy. What’s being done here is, ironically enough, practically the exact opposite of fair. What the EC has done is basically taken a level playing field and given the current “loser(s)” special treatment in order to “even out” the end result.

    This is about as plainly and disgustingly socialistic as it gets, and follows the same giant flaw in logic that most proponents of it seem to possess – they don’t realize that fair means “the same rules”, not “the same result”.

  176. Picardijn says:

    Saying the sort order is wrong means only one thing. FireFox needed to be in number ONE. First it was IE of Microsoft that needed to be replaced in the standard, now the give people a choice and again it is not how ‘they’ want it. Boriss and all the other browser makers and the EU. I’m running IE, FireFox and Safari because I want to. It is my choice and I made it after I hade default IE. So don’t worry Boriss, the customers will choice what the like to use. Good luck browser makers.

    Some with a mind that can make choices.

  177. FusionX says:

    I think that people choose for what they know, not for the first option thats only when they dont know. And as they know Internet Explorer already that will be their choice i think.

  178. Firefox gets an awful lot of promotion thanks to Microsoft. And MS pays the bills. Don’t complain Boriss, just say “thanks Bill”. You guys there at MS spend millions in designing software, and thanks to Nely Smit Croes you promote us. Not quite the real meaning of fair business, but EU was never into fair business. MS pays the bills, we get the promotion. Right Boriss???

  179. Sebastiaan says:

    What’s all the fuss about? Just let everyone install Opera and world peace will be guaranteed 😉

  180. I’ll vote for the random approach.
    Easy to implement + no need to ” update ” the ballot based on market share ( for it will be unfair if the market share shifts )

    + In addition to userfriendlyness … display all options on multiple rows ( so no more scrolling to the right … )

    • jboriss says:

      Hey Ramon – Randomized is indeed the best way to random five items on a ballot, but unfortunately it still forces users to make a decision they may not want to make. My preference would still be no ballot!

  181. Richard says:

    Wow… what a backlash.

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree that at some point the complaining from Opera, Mozilla, etc. against Microsoft has -got- to stop. But a lot of complaints directed at Jenny Boriss here are ignorant of the history and ignorant of the problem.

    The complaints against Microsoft’s solution here are completely valid. Even at the very early mention of creating this ‘browser ballot’ thing, Slashdot was full of recommendations that the options be randomized; this was not implemented (as far as we know), and that is just stupid.
    Yes, some people might just click what they know; be that the IE icon or the Google logo or FireFox “‘cos I’ve heard about that in the news a lot, might be worth a try”, or Safari “‘cos it’s Apple”; heck, the only loser in any options screen may very well be Opera – the company that brought forth the complaint.

    But that doesn’t mean that any form of bias – and please note that research into how people deal with options screens were cited, a simple “I don’t think people will…” is not a scientific argument. Show that they don’t – shouldn’t be prevented.

    The only option that statistically prevents bias* is a random set.

    This, then, is where I disagree with the marketshare option. Sorting everything by marketshare (oh, but leave out IE, ‘cos it got that marketshare ‘illegally’) introduces bias. A heavy bias. A heavy bias favored to FireFox; a browser that has been around on Windows *much* longer than Safari or Google Chrome, and by legacy a good bit longer than Opera as well. Of course it has a greater marketshare. Of course it’s more popular. On the other hand.. Chrome only fairly recently came into existence, and it’s already well past Opera. By saying that ‘FireFox should come first, based on marketshare’, you’re effectively doing what Microsoft did… taking away a bit of consumer choice (never forget that we’ve always had choice), and thus taking away a bit of potential increased marketshare from Google Chrome (and the other options).

    * Just to get back to the bias bit. Let’s be honest here.. the top 5 browsers get priority spots, and all the other alternatives (does *anybody* have a full list?) get demoted to a “you’ll have to scroll just to see them” position. That’s already a fair amount of bias.

    To summarize:
    random order: aye
    any other order: nay

    P.S. writing “This is my personal opinion” did absolutely nothing to stop the blogs, the press, etc. from citing this as being Mozilla’s opinion. You should have known better (even if the bloggers and press need to do -their hobby/job- better) and not made any statement on this hot issue at all without checking with management.. Mozilla doesn’t need the bad press any more than you yourself do.

    • jboriss says:

      Hey Richard – Thank you for your well thought-out comment. I agree with basically everything you said. Firefox being first on the list – or any browser – does indeed create harmful systematic bias. But even randomizing the ballot does not solve the problem, because users are still being forced to make a decision that they probably do not care about. Really, the ballot itself is the problem, and that’s why I don’t believe there should be one. And you’re right about some reporters reporting this blog as official opinion. While it’s potentially dishonest of them, there’s not much to be done. Mozilla is an open company, and thus we are not only allowed but encouraged to post individual opinions. I wish more companies operated like this!

  182. LJS says:

    Stop crying man.
    Damn dont you have anything better to do..

  183. Richard van Heukelum says:

    Everything fine at home? And the wife? Kids? So what else could be wrong … bored perhaps? Get a life.

  184. henny v says:

    get a life

  185. Best idea says:

    Got another one:
    Rename your browser MEGANFOX (with an according logo 😉
    Could cost a pretty penny, but download rates would explode, trust me!

  186. Richard says:

    @Wladimir Palant #831
    “Random is not a good option because Safari still gets a 20% chance of getting listed first – which is not justified given its market share.”
    If we’re going for a fair ballot screen, then nobody would have to justify being in a certain position at all. Do your marketing, let people know about your browser, why you think it is the best choice, and then leave it to the people to make that choice.

    “However, the `small` browsers will sometimes get placed first so that they get their share of the people who just click the first entry in the list.”.
    Those who don’t actively choose, and simply click the first one (or the middle one, or the last one, or lucky number 7th one), should not statistically be more likely to pick A over B.
    If you in any way bias the randomness, you’re statistically enforcing the status quo* on these users. If 1 out of 3 clicks lands on browser B, but 2 out of 3 clicks land on browser A.. well, you do the math.

    It gets worse, of course…

    @David Tenser #833
    “IE is the only browser that the market didn’t actively choose, so it naturally needs to be removed from the equation”
    I don’t see how that is ‘naturally’ so. For quite some time now, OEMs have been able to, and some have been, installing a browser other than IE as the default browser.
    Sure, IE is still on the system, but if every hyperlink, media button on a keyboard, etc. opens, say, Chrome, then IE just sits there in the background for a CHM file or crappy app with a built-in browser invoking Trident.
    -Those- users certainly didn’t actively choose to have Chrome be their browser. Why should they not have the option to choose IE in such a ballot screen?
    ( Not that it matters – because this ballot screen apparently will not be shown if any browser -other than IE- is the default. That’s right, if your OEM states Thou Shalt Useth Chrome, than Useth Chrome Thou Shalt – no option screen for you. )

    @Mark T. Tomczak #841
    “I fail to see why the EU should be in the business of increasing the complexity of the average citizen’s life.”
    Simply giving users choice is increasing complexity. That’s a given.
    At the same time, the call was to decrease the deemed unfair advantage IE has in the browser market.
    If you can think of a method that gives people things both ways that isn’t fraught with its own problems (legal, technical, etc.), please do let us know.

    “I wonder if a design that deviates significantly from this ballot system could be more beneficial to the end-user in terms of freeing them from the monopolistic power of Microsoft?”
    I think this very question in itself shows your own bias, which is clearly affecting how you feel an options screen should be presented. You’re not talking about giving the users choice, or informing them of the better options out there.. just so long as they are “freed from the monopolistic power”.
    Users have always been free from that power (business users stuck on IE6 due to old ActiveX crap aside; who aren’t the target for this ballot anyway as their needs aren’t addressed in later versions of IE either).

    “One possibility would be to bundle a random browser.”
    rcw88 #902
    “why not simply bundle the current top five”
    And make sure it’s up-to-date with every pressing of the DVDs, include the various legal notices in printed work, documentation, etc. where required, potentially deal with the customer support issue (“But it’s on YOUR INSTALLATION DVD!”), etc. etc.
    No. For various legal and technical reasons alone.. just no.

    @Robert Ameeti #885
    “The browsers should be listed in order of their scores on tests such as the Acid Test”
    Great. Your browser can pass Acid Test 3 (future: 4!). Now can you make it not crash on YouTube? Thanks.
    ( as an aside: the acid test isn’t a standards-compliance test; please read the acid test explanations of what it does and tests. )

    “or some other test that has been created by a non biased organization.”
    The problem is that you’re always just testing some -thing-, rather than the whole package.
    One user may prefer the Add-Ons available when using FireFox. Others may prefer some games site to be *working* (and the games site only runs under IE). Yet others might just want their browser to look shiny.
    Any metric, however well-performed, would introduce a bias even if the researchers behind the tests aren’t biased.
    The only way this could work is infeasible: testing hundreds of aspects of a browser, and letting the user choose which to sort by, or which carry a greater ‘weight’, and then determine their (according to the numbers) best option.

    @Stephen #905
    “Randomly […] they’re in a crap-shoot to see if they happen to get one of the `crappy` browsers”
    But who are we to determine those browsers are ‘crappy’? Just because they have a smaller marketshare? You could then say that Opera is crappy because it’s the last in the list of 5 (well, by some measurements) – yet if you’ve ever used it, I’m sure you’ll know better.
    The important part about a random order is that the user is -equally likely- to get a ‘crappy’ browser vs a ‘great’ browser vs IE in the first-listed slot.

    @KenC #909
    “In fact, the originally proposed idea of alphabetical arrangement seems more random and fair, given that the companies did not know that might be a possibility.”
    No, the companies could not know this ahead of time. But one company does know this, and that’s Microsoft.
    By knowing the company names, they know that if they put them in alphabetic order by company name, you get Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera.
    Whereas if they were to put them in alphabetic order by -product name-, you’d get: Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari.
    Do you really think Microsoft would put their #1 general online competitor in the first-listed slot, and their #1 browser competitor in the second-listed slot, given that they have any number of different sorting orders that would work more favorably?
    I’m not saying that Microsoft -is- doing this, even though it does put them conveniently in the center, but by having them pick the sorting order, they do have that influence.
    It’s far from ‘more random’ than random.. by definition, nothing is more random than random (unless your random number generator is flawed.. in which case it’s not really random, is it?)
    And it’s certainly not more fair. There is nothing more fair than giving the browsers each the same odds of being placed in any given slot.
    That is, if the goal truly is to either A. give the user choice or B. reduce the deemed unfair advantage of IE. If the real goal is to drive more users to Browser X, then yes, random is ‘unfair’ 80% of the time.

    @jboriss #912
    “What I don’t like is users being given an unpopular browser […] don’t want it, don’t like it, and don’t know how to get rid of it.”
    But who are you to say that the user who has chosen that browser – be that an informed choice or a result of clicking the first-listed option – won’t want it, won’t like it, and won’t know “how to get rid of it”?
    Even if they in fact don’t like it after using it, they’re absolutely free to ask their friends, or browse the internet, for alternatives. Just as so many of us have done with the switch from IE to another browser.
    In fact, those who did not make an informed choice and just clicked whatever (be that the first item or not) and find that they do not like the browser choice they made, will be -better informed- once they do start looking at alternatives.

    That said…
    “I’d much rather this ballot just go away”.
    Ditto. For a variety of reasons, not necessarily the same as you have 🙂

    “I think Microsoft went for an option that would confuse users but still give IE the upper hand.”
    And this is where I disagree again. What was the other option, again? Not delivering a browser at all? For some reason that got people on all three sides (EU, Microsoft itself, and competitors) foaming at the mouth wondering who the pancake came up with -that- idea.
    So, instead, there’s an option screen. Oh noes. The genie is out of the bottle – good luck putting it back in. (I know you/Mozilla didn’t release it.)

    What I haven’t seen, and which I’ll mirror from David Hayes…

    @David Hayes #940
    “What do you propose instead of a ballot?”
    I, too, would be far more interested in seeing your take on how things should have been implemented on the whole.
    What I haven’t seen in your post is how you would have done things if you could have done it from scratch. There’s plenty of arguments of why a ballot screen is flawed, why this specific ballot screen is flawed, and why the ordering of items is flawed, but you haven’t offered any solutions for the first two points, and the third point.. well, I respectfully disagree with all but the ‘random’ option, as you can probably tell 🙂

    @Thog #1034
    “I would not like randomization, too much of a pain when you are doing many installs.”
    You should really consider unattended installations. Although I have no information to suggest that this can be set unattended, I also have no information to suggest that it can’t. Push comes to shove, use Auto-It. Better: get the appropriate license from Microsoft that allows you to make a single pre-set image with a few variables and either site or individual license keys.
    Unless, by many, you meant ‘3’. In that case, I think you’ll live with having to find the browser of your choice in the list.

    @Don #1076
    “Why doesn’t the EC start making McDonald’s sell Whoppers?”
    1. McDonald’s does not have a monopoly on a given good. Microsoft, with Windows, does. Though I -personally- don’t agree with that, the various courts have ruled thusly.
    2. Even if it were, it would have to be convicted of leveraging that good’s monopoly to gain an unfair advantage in a new market. Microsoft did, with Windows, to give Windows Media Player an advantage (hello Windows N versions), and were now being looked at in terms of Internet Explorer.

    “fair means `the same rules`, not `the same result`”
    The rules are the same, however. You are forgetting however that some rules only apply to certain entities.
    In this case, the rule that you can’t leverage the popularity of product X to give product Y an advantage -if- product X is deemed to have a monopoly.
    Put differently.. if Mozilla Firefox had a monopoly in the browser market, and Mozilla were to start shoving Thunderbird down with a FireFox update, whether you like it or not, they could very well find themselves at the pointy end of such a rule.


    @everybody telling people, and especially Jenny Boriss, to “get a life”
    I’d imagine they’ve got more of a life than you guys who have nothing better to do than go here specifically to tell them to get a life.
    Oh, and I’m a wiley bastard.. did you see what I did here? If you tell me to get a life now, you just prove my point 😉

    In all seriousness.. come up with some arguments as to why you disagree with her, people.

  187. Ben Morrow says:

    1. There is a need for some separation: ‘The user doesn’t care about the choice’ is not the same thing as the user not caring about the result.

    2. I imagine that it is only through necessity that Microsoft get to design the ballot themselves, I would imagine that one of the candidates designing a ballot would be unusual in most contexts.

    3. When the problem as the EU established [why we’re all here] is partly that Microsoft caused the browser market to stagnate due to exploiting the inaction of users and their position. I am thus surprised that there is such strong feeling against dealing with subtle systematic biases – it’s what got us here no?

    Whether the action against Microsoft is punitive, restorative or some attempt at market correction in a wider sense I think that a good debate about the correction is called for particularly after so much money has been spent on reaching the decision. The devil is very often in the details.

  188. Hease says:

    I believe the problem is the post did not simply focus on the negative issues of s ballot solution, but was heavily coupled with statements about how to improve the ballot by making firefox more likely to appear first in the list of choices.

    Hadthe post focused only on the downsides of a ballot system I believe the reaction would have been significantly different. Saying things like “safari is a bad browser” makes your argument appear self serving.

  189. EeKay says:

    Interesting. There are countries/cultures where people start reading from the right to the left. I don’t think those are represented in any test that could have stated to the information presented here.

    I think this is a fair enough policy, and although i’m a Mac fan (and iPhone developer), i don’t see any reason to push this baby around once more!



  190. Dear Jenny,

    Safari is only the first item viewed from the perspective of someone writing from left-to-right (or better yet written from the top-left corner to the bottom right). For some using a right-to-left writing system (even though reading in English) Opera is mentioned first, and Safari is mentioned last.

    A fair share of the world population traditionally write right-to-left (in China writing can be bi-directional and oriented in both the vertical and horizontal plane, however traditionally the orientation is vertical and the writing starts on the upper right corner).

    Kind regards,

    Maarten van Wesel

  191. tss68nl says:

    First, people rant about IE being shipped with windows because ‘it’s not fair to the other browsers’. Now, they put themselves back in favour of others, based on pure alphabetical order, and people accuse Microsoft of not favouring their favourite browser.

    You must be joking. What you should have asked for in the first place, was if Microsoft would kindly advertise your favourite browser at no charge at all.

    Now that would have been a joke…

  192. Jason says:

    I seriously can’t see the problem with the fact that its orderd by name, Firefox just wants to be the first ine in the list. People aren’t choosing a browser because its the first one in the list but they choose the one that they are Familiar with wich would be IE, why would they have to mae a selections screen anyway, its their OS so they can do what they want, if you want a other browser just download one, the average person chooses IE anyway.

  193. Bas says:

    I think the whole discussion About internet explorer is nonsense.
    I always had Windows with Internet Explorer and run Firefox as well without any problems. I live in europe and the EU is just a bunch of idiots to demand to remove Microsofts own browser.
    “People cant run the brower they want” they have as argument. Well LEARN TO INSTALL IT PROPERLY.

    Then Microsoft settles and removes Internet Explorer and puts a list there on alphabetical order then this guy start to cry like a baby that the list isn’t fair.
    Man get a life, is it ever gonna stop?
    Microsoft could place Internet Explorer first in the list and they didnt. so what isn’t fair about this list??? Can they help it Apple starts with an A?

    I think its only hate Toward Microsoft because they are world leader in operating systems.
    If the rest is so much better why isn’t there a stable easy to use OS for desktop home users aside from Microsoft Windows? Apple sure didnt make it cause its needs their OWN branded hardware to make more money.

    Oh well. Some people are never satisfied.

    Windows 7 is the best version so far. i guess some people start looking for things to crack on.

  194. Mike Rozeboom says:

    Personally, I think this is a bit too easy, to blame Microsoft that a certain webbrowser is placed as first, and your own is placed further on the row. People that have a computer, and not that much knowlegde of it, usually go for the one they know the best (Mostly IE of Firefox), so the thought that Firefox would be outruled because of the fact that Safari is placed at first is a bit like a child crying: I won’t get anything because he came first. People choose what they like, and learned troughout the years that they shouldn’t just click anything.

  195. pc cleaner says:

    I see no problem. Make your choic.

  196. HONG says:

    who cares.. start crying

  197. Paul says:

    So here I am on a Mac, because it is on the table in my kitchen, I work on a Windows machine in my office, and guess what I use all sorts of browsers, I choose. Please stop with this whining on which browser should be used, Apple comes with one browser Safari, it only allows it’s software to operate on approved hardware. Linux is for people that are enthusiasts that enjoy working with that system, and guess what it lost out against Windows. Who truly cares, well politicians that need to be in the spotlight, and people with to much time on their minds. I stopped using Opera because I did not like their browser, and they are whining. My opinion is maybe somewhat more simple, if you don’t like it don’t use it and stop arguing about it, make your product better and hope people will buy it. If you want to whine about anything start with Apple, I would love to see them distribute their software on a wider platform.

    This discussion is in my opinion fruitless, almost the same as having the right blend of coffee first on the shelf, who cares. This is business nothing is fair in business and it has never been, you aim for the consumer market and you need the product people want to buy, be that one and you will win, if your not, well you are there to compete or loose. And on my new Windows 7 machine what will I use, well it will be Explorer and on my Mac it will be Safari, why because I like them. And Firefox will be installed and on occasions I will use it, but I will choose, and will not have some blogger or politician tell me what to do, so stop whining about this, you indeed look like a bunch of school-kids fighting for the right color of marbles.

  198. Daniel Ríos says:

    I think that your opinion is not good because Firefox can be in last position.
    If you have good customers, your clients will select your browser, no?

  199. jielun says:

    After reading this post, I think I am going back to using IE or Opera or something.. FF has lots of problems still and it seems more and more that is build, and used, by a bunch of whiners.

    Microsoft is doing what they were told to do, and still you’re not happy with it.. it is so childish this bickering. Gawd. Get a life.

  200. Postal says:

    Get a life…

  201. Me says:

    What a load of crap!!!!

  202. haste says:

    Get real and focus on real issues..

  203. Gerben says:

    People will select the browser from the developer/brand they trust (and otherwise are familiar with). F.E. normally IE users will choose IE or could try Chrome because of Google’s position in the market. They won’t choose Safari. And so we can go on about targetgroups, personas etc etc.

    It is no gameshow so don’t randomize the browsers eacht time. When I want to install W7 for the second time I want the same line-up in the ballot as the first time. RECOGNITION!

  204. Frank says:

    Oh my god! Please quit this MS-bashing!

    First of all it is stupid that a company like MS is ordered to supply their competitors’ software in their own. But complaining about the order in which this is being done is pathetic! I like Firefox a lot, but I think current Windows-users are able to choose their own browsers also after installation.

  205. Jerry says:

    Why not use a random order on every reload of the page, so it would be fair for every browser

  206. Jan Lenders says:

    @Frank: you are so right. This is really pathetic.
    @Jerry: that would be a brilliant way to stop the nagging.

  207. Erik says:

    I think this is over the top. MS is doing what it’s supposed to do. Does Leopard give you a choice?

  208. David says:

    Please stop bitching about it. It’s an alphabetical ordered screen. Let people make their own choices and if you want that to be firefox make it known to the general public.

    I personally use Safari and Chrome because they are fast and have a clean interface and Firefox because of the add-ons. IE is installed because for some websites you just need IE to fully use and access the site with all it’s potential.

  209. Jack says:

    People are perfectly capable of making their own choices. Try making a better product instead of throwing away your expert reputation to write an article on a button (your button, not Apple’s) being in the wrong place.

    Your idea of randomizing choices sucks by the way.

  210. David says:


    Nope, it gives you Safari and that’s it. If you want something else you need to download that yourself. Anything but IE by the way 😉

  211. Oboema says:

    Christ…how anal can someone be? Unbelievable.

  212. John says:

    Ok… this sounds like a clear-cut case of envy.
    Sounds to me like Mozilla is never going to be satisfied untill it’s listed first.

    I agree that a little button above the install link would be nice.
    It could say something like “Information” and you can see the marketshare, a couple of screenshots perhaps, etc.

    But to bash on M$ for something like this sounds like childish behavior.
    Get a grip man and grow up !
    Welcome to the REAL world !

    If mozilla wants more users… stop going nuts on small details and either come up with something that beats the M$ browser (like speeding up the startup process), or simply make more advertising.

    The reason i refuse to use Mozilla, is because it’s still so damn slow on startup, and all the preloaders or other solutions still haven’t been able to speed it up to IE’s performance.
    The only viable alternative to me is google’s Chrome.
    But that one still isn’t as user friendly as i expected.
    Took me long enough to figure out how the “favourite’s” work.
    Ow hell… i’m not going to explain user-friendly any further… just google it 😉

    No matter how you slice it… users will still look for the most familiar browser in the list and install it.
    Why ? Because they know how it works!

    Main thing… M$ has come a long way in it’s browser developement, and while it isn’t up to my expectations, it’s still more to my liking than the alternatives.

    A note to IE competitors: Work on speed, reliability and userfriendly GUI’s.
    Do that and i think your marketshare will become a LOT better.
    Hell… improve those steps and even I will switch browsers !

    On a side note…
    I think it’s crap that M$ needs to remove IE from their OS.
    If this is becoming a standard… than remove safari from Apple, Konquerer from Linux KDE !
    Either draw 1 line on ALL OS or stop bitching and let M$ market their own software !

  213. Mac says:

    Acting like a little child that does not get what he want. That Microsoft does this is already stupid. If they make a product for years, and after all those years there are some other software programs the builders of the new programs need to realize the complete package Microsoft offers. It is the same with Apple with Safari standard installed.
    Come up with an own operating system with your own browser. You know that when Firefox was build, that IE was the standard so don’t complain later but grow up!

  214. LOL says:

    Haha totally agree with guys who thinks this is plain rubbish

  215. mike says:

    Oh for god sake Jenny, cry me a river will you?. Microsoft is entitled to do as it pleases, and hopefully they wont change a thing just because you came crying along.

  216. Graham says:

    I somehow suspect that if Mozilla’s Firefox was to have ended up as being first in the list there would have been no outcry from them as to how unfair this and demanding that the selection be presented in random order instead. I’m far from someone who will go out of their way to defend Microsoft but I do believe that a ballot screen that shows the options in alphabetical order by manufacturer is a perfectly logical and acceptable one. Besides, isn’t presenting the list of in order of market share just another way of trying to unduly influence the choice made by consumer and bump Firefox up the list in the process?

  217. Steef says:

    Very good alternative from MS! They are not putting their own browser on the first place.
    I don’t think it should be random, its nice the way it is.
    ‘Order of market share, excluding Internet Explorer. (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, IE)’
    That is the biggest crap i’ve ever heard! Why should IE be excluded? Don’t forget that IE is their own product so why not promote it? If you got a problem with that…go and develope your own OS like google.
    Excluding IE…damn what a BS!

  218. Kenny says:

    I think this whole EU thing is a major crock of shit to begin with. And yes, I AM a EU citizen, so yes I am one who will have to deal with this rediculous ballot thing. I’m also an IT specialist, who sells and pre installs computers. This means I will be dealing with this even more.

    So first of all, stop crying like a baby because you’re not on top of the list. Perhaps had your company chosen a name starting with an A, you’d been op top of most every list.

    Secondly, is the EU going to do the same with Apple and Google with their operating systems? I suggest they do so, since that would only be fair to Microsoft. Or are Apple and Google going to pre install IE on *their* operating systems? If not, they’re not better than Microsoft…

  219. Ale says:

    don’t cry men!!!

  220. Mark says:

    Randomization rulez! This is the only way to make it truly independant!!

    Firefox rulez!

  221. I think Microsoft took a huge step by adding this browser selection in the Windows 7 installation.
    It would be much more user-friendly to just ship Win7 with IE8 pre-installed because the majority of users don’t want to be bothered with this choice, they simply want to use the internet.
    So it’s not only a big sacrifice because of the market share they might lose.

    Now, i would expect that Ms would make IE8 the primary choice, put in on top of the list.
    But no, even that is something they try to solve in a fair way; they sort the list in alphabetic order based on the manufacturer.

    How can anyone even think about saying that this solution is not fair enough?!
    And what’s this with proposing that they should just exclude their own browser from the list?
    How would it be fair that a company cannot ship their own product with their operation system?

    And would you have posted the same thing if your company’s name was Amozilla and your browser was the first one in the list?
    I don’t think so 🙂
    It is clearly just about the fact that Firefox is the fourth choice in the list and not the first.

    But don’t worry Jenny.
    Once i install Win7, i will still choose to install IE 8 as default browser and use that to download Firefox.
    Just like i always did.


  222. Henri says:

    Man, I’m glad you don’t work at Microsoft.
    From a user’s perspective randomizing is the worst possible option. The user sees e.g. Google Chrome first and Internet Explorer last and will wonder: why Google Chrome? Is that the best option?
    At least the way it is now, the user can defer that the order is purely alphabetic and he has to make his own choice.
    Very good of Microsoft to take an objective approach.

  223. Chiel says:

    My kid, who is now 16 months old, just read this blogpost and told me that even even at kindergarten they find this crying over nothing.

  224. Haehan says:

    I think that people are smart enough not to choose a browser that’s placed first in a row.
    People choose the one that they think is the best.
    I think that the writer of this article should stop thinking like a child.

  225. aikiwolfie says:

    Ruud van Falier Says:

    October 20, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    I think Microsoft took a huge step by adding this browser selection in the Windows 7 installation.
    It would be much more user-friendly to just ship Win7 with IE8 pre-installed because the majority of users don’t want to be bothered with this choice, they simply want to use the internet.


    It’s true most users just want to use the web. A survey by Google showed most don’t even know what a browser is. But Microsoft didn’t add this screen to give people a choice. They added it because the EU were breathing down their necks again with another anti-trust complaint. Filed by Opera this time.

    Microsoft first tried to play hard-ball with the EU and threatened to release a copy of Windows 7 without a web browser at all. Which I would have been perfectly happy for them to do. However thet EU were having none that nonsense. Which is a pity.

  226. Dear Boriss,

    1) Many (perhaps most) of the above commenters are fools, or at least acting like fools for the duration of commenting.

    2) I agree, a ballot is a terrible idea.

    3) It just occurred to me, looking at the design again, that I might be equally likely to click on the middle item as on the first item, because there’s five items and the design of the middle item is the one I’d be most familiar with as a Windows user.


    • jboriss says:

      Oh yes, there are many reasons one would choose the IE logo. Yes, it’s the only logo that many users will be familiar with. But also they clicked the IE logo to launch this ballot, the ballot has IE chrome on it, the ballot has the IE logo at various places in it, and IE is the only entry with the word “internet” on it. You’re right, many (probably most) people will click on this logo. My point is that for the remaining users, a disproportionate amount will go for the first item.

  227. Or they’ll click on the only recognizable name, Google. (Nobody knows what “Internet Explorer” means, and MS made the mistake of making that bigger than the word Microsoft.)

  228. Richard says:

    @jboriss #1092
    Thanks, first of all, for getting back to those commenting here; it’s a lot of posts and some can be quite lengthy *whistles innocently*.

    “users are still being forced to make a decision that they probably do not care about”
    I’m curious, actually.. are users forced to make that decision (i.e. they cannot use IE – as that’s what the ballot appears to be presented in; something I think is odd, but there we have it – until they have chosen), or are they simple presented with the option to make a decision, but they can cancel out of making a choice as well. Where, presumably, it would fall back onto IE; as per the concerns raised by Harvey Anderson.

    But let’s start at the beginning… we can quite easily dissect ‘the problem’ into a tree… I’ll forego any attempt at ascii graphics as wordpress didn’t even accept my leading spaces in my last post 😉

    A. no options for a user. This is the status quo, and obviously some parties – the EU being but one – finding this unacceptable for reasons well outside of the scope of this post to discuss.
    B. options for a user.
    B.A. Something other than a ballot screen. Again, I’ve not really seen much in the way of alternatives – other than the “present them in a circle” comment up above. Maybe I’m using the wrong search terms, but mostly I see criticism of the ballot screen, rather than alternatives (and I don’t mean just the order in which options are listed).
    B.B. A ballot screen. That’s what we have now, but we can divide this further…
    B.B.A. -This- ballot screen, which obiously has its flaws.
    B.B.B. A different ballot screen. This includes things such as item order, graphics or no graphics, horizontal vs vertical, etc.

    Now, personally, option A I would have been fine with. I found my way to FireFox just fine without an options screen, but I’d imagine my grandmother would be more hesitant; though, as you note, she probably wouldn’t care either as long as she could read her blogs and watch youtube.
    But we’re at *least* stuck with option B (options given to the user) in the EU. But are we really ‘stuck’ with option B.B. (a ballot), or even B.B.A. (-this- ballot form) for that matter?
    As I understand it, the options will be pushed down to end-users via Windows Update; so it’s entirely reasonable to believe that how this choice is given to users, and how it is presented, is flexible. Perhaps we won’t be changing it for the first roll-out, but there’s room for suggesting to the EU (EC) that there’s a better way and steer the future direction.
    My question is.. what would that better way be, if working under the condition that we can’t go back to A.

    @jboriss #1092 (same post, just delimiting this)
    “Mozilla is an open company, and thus we are not only allowed but encouraged to post individual opinions. I wish more companies operated like this!”
    I harbor that wish with you, I honestly do. At the same time, I’d imagine the Mozilla higher-ups would not be pleased if one of their reasonably-notable employees started ranting about the CEOs of Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc. and simply disclaim it as their personal opinion, as it would reflect badly on Mozilla. So, too, this – although this isn’t a rant, of course 🙂

    @Ben Morrow #1095
    “[…] The problem […] is partly that Microsoft caused the browser market to stagnate due to exploiting the inaction of users and their position. I am thus surprised that there is such strong feeling against dealing with subtle systematic biases – it’s what got us here no?”
    I’m not sure why that would surprise you. There was a not-so-subtle bias in the browser market in part* due to Microsoft’s bundling of IE. I can’t speak for everybody, but -I-, personally, object to this bias.. and not so much that it was Microsoft and IE. So it’s absolutely natural to me to be against a bias that would favor one browser over another. Any different would be rather hypocritical, to be honest.
    * just to clarify the “in part”; I was a Netscape Navigator user up until 4.06 at which point I could see that IE simply performed better. I’ve never touched IE3 or IE4; wouldn’t even know if an IE2 and IE1 existed at any point in time, to be honest. So personally I had already made the choice, way back in the day, to use Netscape. Then Netscape simply dropped the ball – an issue I feel is separate from the IE bundling – and I switched to IE. I switched to FireFox sometime after IE 5.5 (but before 6).

    @Hease #1099
    Absolutely, 100%, agreed.
    However, I think it -is- fair enough for Jenny to point out the issues with the ballot ‘as is’ and how she feels it could be improved – and I’m certainly glad that the very first, and natural, solution was to randomize the options (well, top 5.), even if I disagree with her critiques of it 🙂

    @Eekay #1100
    @Maarten van Weesel #1101
    “There are countries/cultures where people start reading from the right to the left.”
    “A fair share of the world population traditionally write right-to-left”
    Surprisingly, you might find that many such systems also reverse their alphabet sort if the pagination order is also in reverse. Whether the ballot screen would or would not.. I’d suspect ‘would not’, but somebody on the discussion board would have to say (if they can).

    @Bas #1105
    “then this guy start to cry”
    I think you meant “this gal” 😉
    But really, I think anybody viewing this as a “Waaaaaaaaah I want FireFox fi-hi-hiiirst!” post hasn’t even read it. Although the two latter solutions proffered do end up putting FireFox ‘first’, this is only by circumstance. If the same metric were to be kept – e.g. marketshare – we may very well find that Google Chrome has a greater marketshare than Mozilla FireFox due to all the default installs they’re getting out of OEMs (presumably offering kickbacks). That would then put Google Chrome ‘first’.
    Everybody should really read the full post, along with the arguments made, and understand them before posting a knee-jerk response.

    “So what isn’t fair about this list??? Can they help it Apple starts with an A?”
    See my previous post, but in short: Because Microsoft -can- decide the sorting order, there is the -potential- for abuse. Randomize the list (well, top 5, again.) and voila.. no potential for abuse (beyond the whole bit of deciding who the top 5 are in the first place).
    Put differently… say that this wasn’t Microsoft and IE, but Apple and Safari. Now they order by Company name and – hey presto – Apple is listed ‘first’. Well gosh, ain’t that convenient? So what if they sorted by Product name instead (which makes much more sense to me, really)? Now they’re ‘last’. Huh. Ain’t that somethin’? 🙂

    “I think its only hate Toward Microsoft because they are world leader in operating systems.”
    Desktop operating systems, perhaps. Server, embedded, and certainy if you divide the desktop market into certain areas and look at, say, graphics design – you’ll find that Microsoft is way behind.
    That said… Apple certainly do make a great OS, and part of why it’s so great is because they can optimize it for their approved hardware. If you look at Microsoft’s blogs there should be one in there from a higher-up discussing crash reports they get (yes, they actually look at them), and how almost every single crash report points back to a driver or an application doing low level naughtiness. These are well ouside of Microsoft’s control, but what’s the first thing people say when they get a crash / blue screen? “Stupid Windows crashed again.”
    If Apple were to sell OS X for just any ol’ hardware and driver combination, they’d get the same flak. Can’t blame them for not wanting that.
    Beyond Apple.. have you tried a Linux OS, perchance? Plenty of ‘live cd’s you can download, burn to CD, pop in and boot from.. it’s harmless, and you just might find that things aren’t as bad as they were 5 years ago. I dual-boot my other machine between Vista and Ubuntu and usually just have Ubuntu up. The only reason to go into Vista at all is for a few choice apps that do not work smoothly in Linux under e.g. Wine and have no reasonable alternative available. That’s not a shortcoming of the OS, however.

    @Paul #1110
    “I will choose, and will not have some blogger or politician tell me what to do”
    I don’t think Jenny is telling you -what- to choose ( although we can all guess what she would like you to choose 😉 ), nor are politicians telling you what to choose.
    Jenny, as apparent from her comments, would rather not have you be presented with a ballot choice at all, preferring the way things were – which you seem to agree with.
    The politicians, under the direction of some people and businesses in the industry, only want you to be given -a- choice, somehow. They’re not saying “Thou shalt not use IE”, or “Thou shalt use Opera”.. merely “Thou shalt have a choice, and it shall be put right in your face”. Of course we’ve had the option of making a choice for a different browser, or even the conscious choice to stick with IE, for a long time now – but that’s not nearly as obvious to most people (the ones that get a machine from e.g. Dell and simply accept all the defaults and installed trial products as they stand) as we would like to believe.
    So if IE is your default browser and that ballot screen (thought up by Microsoft, not those politicians, as I understand it) pops up, your “I will choose” can kick right in, and you can on whatever the option of your choice is; no harm, no foul 🙂

    @Daniel Rios #1111 (you lucky bastid)
    “If you have good customers, your clients will select your browser, no?”
    No. Well, yes, but only if those clients have heard about your browser, and understand -why- they might select it.
    Again, I think that there’s a lot of room for marketing in the time to come here, when the browser ballot starts popping up.. perhaps 1 week, 2 weeks before that happens, each browser vendor can take a grab out of their marketing budget and make some -good- arguments as to why anybody should choose their browser.
    But should that fail, and the user is left with a “I dunno what to click, so I’ll just click the first one” (again, see cited research), then at least I wouldn’t want that first option (or last option, for those making the right-to-left argument, or the center option, for those making the ‘center of the screen’ argument) to be the same one for each of these users.

    Let’s change things a little just for sake of argument.
    Say IE is the default browser and the user should be given a choice in the EU and whatnot. The way this then gets presented is using two options:
    “Select your web browser.
    Here you can select the web browser you wish to use as your default web browser with which to surf the internet.

    (o) Internet Explorer
    ( ) Other (selecting this option will reveal further options.

    [Use this web browser]”
    I’d be dumbstruck if anybody thought -that- to be fair. Sure, the user is given a choice, but you don’t need to be a usability expert to venture a guess as to what will happen.

    @jielun #1113
    “Microsoft is doing what they were told to do”
    Actually, we don’t know what Microsoft were told to do (unless the meeting notes are made public somewhere?); but as far as I know, the ballot screen was Microsoft’s suggestion after the “okay, so we’ll leave IE out” didn’t go over too well (surprise, surprise.)
    Personally, I would have preferred that, and just let the OEMs take care of which browser to install for the user, with the EU making it clear to those OEMs that they have that choice. Then the OEM itself could even offer an option to the user on first-run whether to use e.g. FireFox or IE as the default, and keep them both installed.
    But that doesn’t deal with the currently installed base, so here we are 🙂

    @Gerben #1118
    “People will select the browser from the developer/brand they trust”
    i.e. they RECOGNIZE the browser they’re familiar within the line-up, and select that. Fair argument.

    “I want the same line-up in the ballot as the first time. RECOGNITION!”
    Uhm. But you just said that.. err.. nope. Does not compute.

    If you’re installing for 1, 2, 3 computers.. I think you’ll live. If you’re installing for a whole bunch, look into the various imaging / unattended install options Microsoft provides.

    @Frank #1119
    “MS is ordered to supply their competitors’ software in their own.”
    Just to point out – they’re not ordered to supply the software. They weren’t even ordered, as far as I know, to make this ballot screen – that was their own idea.

    @Jerry #1120
    “Why not use a random order on every reload of the page, so it would be fair for every browser”
    Which is the first suggestion in Jenny’s post, and should indeed be the proper solution (imho).

    @Jan Lenders #1121
    “Jerry: that would be a brilliant way to stop the nagging.”
    Making a valid point, even if one might consider it nitpicking, isn’t really nagging. And if a random order were to have been how things were implemented in the first place, even that nitpicking would not even have existed.
    ( Though I’d imagine some might nitpick about the use of logos (“ooh! Google! I know google! *click*”) and whatnot. )

    @Erik #1122
    “Does Leopard give you a choice?”
    This is a separate discussion, but one I do feel is entirely underrepresented in any discussion about the options screen. The fact that nobody else has to offer this options screen.
    I.e. if SONY decides to deliver a lineup of their notebooks with Google Chrome – as they do – and you fire that baby up, you will not get an options screen to let you choose FireFox, Safari, Opera or indeed Internet Explorer.
    It certainly would have been more fair, given the existence of an options screen in the first place, if all default installs would present the options. But alas.

    @Jack #1124
    “People are perfectly capable of making their own choices.”
    Oh how I wish that were true. A lot of people do -not- like choice and makin choices. They’re far more comfortable with choices being made -for- them. In absence thereof, a portion of the people making choices will not make a conscious or informed choice, and instead just choose whatever.
    It is -that- group of people, the ‘choose whatever’ group, that this post addresses in part by pointing out that people are more likely to go with option #1 (or option #5, or option #3) than with the other options. Note that even if people are more likely to choose the right-most option, or the middle option, that still leaves the two beside the middle option out.

    @John #1127
    “I agree that a little button above the install link would be nice. It could say something like `Information`”
    If you look closely at the screenshot, you’ll notice a “Tell me more” button just below the install button. So I think Microsoft already have your concern covered there 🙂

    “I think it’s crap that MS needs to remove IE from their OS.”
    They’re not being forced to remove IE at all; that’s one response MS gave the EC and one that was definitely not deemed acceptable. I doubt MS honestly would have removed IE.. it was a threat to some people to make clear that things aren’t that clear-cut.

    @mike #1131
    “Microsoft is entitled to do as it pleases”
    Believe it or not, they are not entitled to do as they please, thanks to the fact that they are deemed to have a monopoly on the desktop OS market with Windows, and thus are -not entitled to do as they please- when it comes to bundling other software and gain an unfair advantage in the market that software plays in (e.g. Windows Media Player, and potentially IE (was under investigation, after all).)

    @Ruud van Falier #1138
    “I think Microsoft took a huge step by adding this browser selection in the Windows 7 installation.”
    Just to note – it’s not in the current pressings of Windows 7 DVDs and images. It will be pushed down to users, likely via Windows Update. Future pressings might have some of the basics of it included, but as the browser market is dynamic, it’s entirely likely that it will always connect to a server online to get the latest data.

    “the majority of users don’t want to be bothered with this choice, they simply want to use the internet.”
    Absolutely – and they can simply use the internet using any of the browsers presented. They might choose IE if that’s what they’re familiar with, or click on the Google option ‘cos they know the name more, etc. But at least they’ll make the choice.
    It’s only the ones not making a conscious choice that would have to be dealt with. Preferably by informing them so that they -will- make a conscious choice, but if they’re a lost cause, then at least they could (on a whole, stastically, blabla) pick a random browser, rather than a non-even distribution due to a fixed order.

    @Henri #1139
    “At least the way it is now, the user can [infer] that the order is purely alphabetic.”
    That’s the thing, though.. they can’t infer that easily that at all. Check out the screenshot; The company names are not mentioned.
    It’s entirely unclear -why- the order is: S, C, I, F, O – or if going by the first letter in each option: S, G, W, F, O.
    Only from reading the descriptions below, then ‘extracting’ the company names from those, might it be able to infer the alphabetic ordering.
    The only reason it’s immediately obvious to us after-the-fact is because we’ve been told it’s alphabetical by company name.

    @jboriss #1147
    Hah.. I hadn’t even read this yet when I made the comment above about somebody possible nitpicking about the graphics! I wonder if there’s a national lottery going 😉

    “Yes, it’s the only logo that many users will be familiar with.”
    I suspect many more users are familiar with the Google name/logo… printed larger than Chrome.
    ( also mentioned by @Max Kanat-Alexander #1146, of course. )

    “But also they clicked the IE logo to launch this ballot”
    Unfortunately, information as to how/when this ballot will be presented is scarce. Personally I’d imagine it would pop up automatically once the options thing is pushed to users (via Windows Update, presumably), so users wouldn’t really have clicked on the IE icon first.

    “the ballot has IE chrome on it, the ballot has the IE logo at various places in it”
    Which I’ve mentioned in other places -is- a darn shame. There’s no real need for the ballot – if a ballot is the option-presenting option of choice – to be displayed through a browser at all. This could be any semi-dull Windows dialog box with standard Windows UI widgets like Labels, Bitmaps, Buttons, even the hyperlink out of comctl32. That way, IE wouldn’t even have to be installed (as a browser, I understand the need for the Trident engine and some IE browser components to be installed, at the very least, to keep existing software leveraging them working).

    “My point is that for the remaining users, a disproportionate amount will go for the first item.”
    Or middle item, or right-most item.. any of these disproportionate to options #2 and #4, at least.

    Randomize it is, then? *ducks*

  229. Tonio says:

    Who cares? It’s just a browser.

  230. Jason Go says:

    First and foremost I use both Microsoft Windows and Ubuntu Linux. Firefox is my choice.

    Now for my point.

    Isn’t it that when a user chooses Microsoft Windows as their preferred OS, it should also be granted that everything comes with it is an accepted choice?

    Microsoft needs to offer a whole PC experience for those who will choose Windows.

    The arguments that lead to the implementation of this voting scheme is also applicable to most of the default softwares installed in Windows.

    Now if we will implement the “Ballot” system for web browsers, why not also implement a voting system for other software, for example:
    – text writing software (Notepad, Notepad++, etc)
    – media player (Windows Media Player, iTunes, GOM, VLC, etc)
    – Calculator (Windows calculator, or some other GPL calcs out there…)
    – Defragmentation software (Windows defrag, JkDefrag, UltraDefraggler, etc)

    As you can see their is a lot of software that is bundled by default in Windows not because of competition but more of the virtue that Microsoft wants to offer a default user experience – a default handy solution for those who really don’t care about what software they use but actually just want to use the computer.

    And since everyone needs a unique experience, it is up to them if they want to change the default programs or not.

    ALSO, in addition, *nix distros like Ubuntu is offering Firefox by default or Konqueror for KDE based distros. Will that be unfair for Windows? If this voting stuff is implemented would it be fair if all the OSes implement the same? Just to be fair to everyone?

    Or conversely, why not just allow ALL the OSes to offer their default software solutions just to be fair to everyone? Offer default solutions so as to offer the minimum default user experience that the OS can offer.

    To make my point clear, what I do feel is that let the OSes have freedom to offer what they want as long as the user has the full option to change whenever they want it.

    No need to vote. If you want Firefox then download it. If you don’t like Notepad then install another text software. If you are contented with Windows Media Player then so be it. User experience is not like a political voting where in you can’t change your choice for a period of time. Your mere decision to change and choose the software you want is already a freedom to be happy with.

    Last idea to ponder: if every software needs to be voted or chosen upon installation, then OSes will be distributed with just kernel and drivers…What an akward OS for grandma who just wants to use the computer and doesn’t care what software to use because she believes that when she chose this OS everything will work by default…

  231. Menno says:

    This is so bias, if the order wouldn’t have any patern but you would be first, then you probably would be satisfied right? At least be honnest enough to treat every browser equal when using something like market share, excluding IE from that is so childish.
    Why not simply be honnest and sum it up in 1 sentence: “our browser must be displayed first”.

  232. Did you know that the avarage user that uses windows,
    could never have aquired a browser like firefox without microsoft internet explorer, for if internet explorer was never installed no-one could have EVER gone online to download firefox.. (firefox is still not available on CD/DVD).

    Thus i’d say, without microsoft, there would be no firefox.

  233. Oscar Godson says:

    Before I start, I use Firefox, and I love it. I use it everyday and im on it about 50% of my day and I hate Windows and do not use it. I run Linux and Mac OS X.

    I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. First off, the ballot is a completely moronic decision in the first place. Why doesn’t Apple or Linux HAVE to have a ballot? Oh yeah, cause they don’t have a higher market share and that is it. M$ makes the software AND OS, they should be able to choose what goes on there just as Ubuntu includes Firefox and Mac includes Safari, and also, if we do it for browsers, we need to do it for ALL bundled software. Oh, not to mention, how did we choose these browsers again? Oh yeah, once again market share. Aren’t we trying to COMBAT UNFAIR MARKET SHARE? Talk about being hypocritical.

    Also, thee most fair technically speaking, would be a completely randomized order. What is all this crap about being randomized based on market share or based on just market share or excluding M$ IE? Thats EXACTLY what the EU is fighting. My god people, are you really this self indulgent?

    To me this is amazing to hear this from Mozilla employee. Amazing.

    Market share !== better browser
    Ballot !== fair
    Randomized based on market share !== fair
    Order based on market share !== fair
    Excluding browsers, including IE !== fair
    Randomized order == fair (as it gets when you have to have a ballot)

  234. Pettrie says:

    Wel yes al nice, but what about browser choice when starting up Mac Os 10.6 ?
    It only shows one browser… Safari…

    Wy is it still bundeled on the MAC?
    FireFox, Chrome, Opera and many more are now available!

  235. Richard says:

    @Jason Go #1151
    “[…] When a user chooses […] their preferred OS, […] everything [that] comes with it is an accepted choice”
    I personally agree with this; although not entirely. I don’t think that everything that comes with it is an accepted choice. Not in the least because when you go out to purchase Windows, there’s nowhere to get a list of the software and functionality that it comes with.
    Many of the things it comes with I could do without, and many of the other things it comes with I’d rather have something else.
    However, I do accept that it comes with these things.. but not as an active choice. Rather, I know I can remove / replace them whenever I like, so I don’t haggle with the shop or Microsoft over a special-just-for-lil-ol-me box, nor do I take my business elsewhere as that in itself would not be viable (some stuff just doesn’t run on Linux / OS X and has no appropriate alternatives).

    “Why not also implement a voting system for other software, for example:”
    That would depend on the market. Sadly this is the stuff of lawyers, not of us laymen, but I’ll tackle your examples anyway…

    “- text writing software (Notepad, Notepad++, etc)”
    There wasn’t really any existing market for text editors for Windows at the time that notepad was included (way back well before Windows 95), so Microsoft weren’t abusing their Windows monopoly to gain an unfair advantage in an existing market.
    One could even argue that the inclusion of notepad later led to an explosion of other editors that could do things much, much better.
    At the same time, notepad itself has remained ‘as is’ for many years, and I don’t think anybody would argue that notepad is particularly competing with the wealth of text editors out there now.

    Wordpad might have been a more iffy example; although it hasn’t evolved much either, it’s a bit of an inbetween program; better than notepad wrt formatting and such, but nowhere near as advanced as e.g. Word. Personally I don’t know of any ‘inbetween’ applications, however, so that again might fall to there not being a submarket anyway.

    “- media player (Windows Media Player, iTunes, GOM, VLC, etc)”
    That’s a funny example. Microsoft were, after all, ordered to offer a version of Windows without Windows Media Player, called the Windows N series, in the EU.
    It didn’t sell much, of course; the price was just as high as that of a regular Windows version.
    This may also very well be why the EC is demanding a different solution from offering an Internet Explorer-less version of Windows.. they already know from experience that doing so just doesn’t work.
    ( aside from technical issues that could arise from not including a browser, such as first-time internet users finding themselves unable to configure their router with a web interface, leading to router manufacturers having to include a browser with their installation CDs, etc. )

    Note that WMP -was- included with Windows even in Windows 3, and did see active development and, more importantly, Microsoft -were- trying to get the upper hand in an existing market especially later on. Not so much in the land of media players, but in the land of media formats, streaming formats online, etc. There used to be quite a bit of a Battle of the Formats between Microsoft and Real Networks (and later Apple).
    That war has largely been fought, of course, and the major winner is Adobe Flash via their ubiquitous presence on desktops on several platforms (with Apple’s QuickTime in 2nd place, mainly due to the exclusive high quality trailers on their site).

    “- Calculator (Windows calculator, or some other GPL calcs out there…)”
    Again, not much of a market when it got included, and it hasn’t seen particularly much development since.
    On the other hand, Microsoft do offer a much improved calculator, Power Calculator, in their download-only PowerToys listing.
    Had Microsoft offered the later Windows Media Player versions as a separate download, rather than included in the base install, then the complaint case on WMP would likely not have existed either.

    “- Defragmentation software (Windows defrag, JkDefrag, UltraDefraggler, etc)”
    This could be argued to be a proper part of an operating system for correct functioning thereof and, again, was included with Windows before there was much of a market in these.
    Interestingly, all of the Windows disk defraggers I know of use the APIs provided by Microsoft, and only vary in functionality as to what chunks get placed where, when. Presume Microsoft would no longer include their defragger, and as a result pull the APIs as well (why else keep ‘m around). Then every third party defragger would have to tell users to first download Microsoft’s, or have to come up with their own low-level defragmentation routines while keeping the particulars of the filesystem in mind.

    A better example might have been back in the DOS days, DoubleSpace; essentially a transparent-to-the-user disk compression driver. Microsoft included this with MS-DOS at some time, even though there was a relatively healthy market for such drivers already.
    This was eventually fought with a patent battle (from the Stacker developers, I believe), rather than bringing this before the court as abusing a monopoly (if MS-DOS had a monopoly).
    In these times, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if they would have pursued both paths.

    I think Microsoft realizes this as well, and leaves many of their interesting applications well outside of the Windows base install, and offers them as downloads instead. They get much less exposure this way – which for some applications is a shame, really – but it does leave the users who are actively seeking such a solution which such an application would fill to find these solutions, and they might find themselves with Microsoft, or an F/OSS developer, or whoever; rather than saying “didn’t Windows include something like this? Ah yes, here we go, this will do.”

    “In addition, *nix distros like Ubuntu is offering Firefox by default or Konqueror for KDE based distros. Will that be unfair for Windows?”
    It would be if Ubuntu had a monopoly position and Windows was one of the underdogs.
    Keep in mind that this all hinges on legal definitions and rulings, the most important of which was the finding that Windows holds a monopoly on the desktop operating system market.
    Once that was found – BAM! – the rules changed, and Microsoft found themselves in a whole ‘nother ballgame, where including anything (perceived to be) to gain an unfair advantage in a new market through that monopoly is a legal no-no.

    Again, as an example of Microsoft offering things for download, instead of including… anti-virus. Microsoft are making their own anti-virus program now. There’s a healthy anti-virus market out there. If Microsoft were to include it with Windows, I think Norton, McAfee, Grisoft, Kaspersky, etc. would all be rushing to be the first in line with complaints.
    It would certainly be much more user-friendly if Windows would include an anti-virus out of the box, but Microsoft simply cannot do such things anymore.
    Instead, because it’s only available as a download, there’s a level playing field. Anybody looking for anti-virus software is theoretically equally likely to be find Norton as they are to find Microsoft’s solution.
    ( Though in practice OEMs will stuff whatever onto the machine and you’d be lucky to get it off again.. talk about restricting choice 😉 )

    I fully agree with most of your post, but the legal systems have determined that some things fall to the left and some other things fall to the right of the fine line that divides things that are OK to include and promote and things that are not OK to include and promote.
    I don’t necessarily agree with those determinations, but que cera.

    @Patrick Adrichen #1155
    “firefox is still not available on CD/DVD)”
    Sure it is 😮
    If you’re saying “I can’t find it anywhere stocked in a computer store”, then you are absolutely right and I do wish this would change.. but legally that could be difficult.
    But if nothing else, even if you didn’t have IE, you could slip into a library or internet cafe, order one of these, and be all set when it arrives in the mail.

    “without microsoft [IE], there would be no firefox.”
    Well, keep in mind that this is Mozilla Firefox.. it derives from Netscape – which was around well before IE.
    If you really meant “without microsoft”, period, then sure.. but without microsoft there would be no Windows and the entire discussion would be moot well before it got started 🙂

    @Pettrie #1157
    “Wel yes al nice, but what about browser choice when starting up Mac Os 10.6 ? It only shows one browser… Safari…”
    Because Apple chooses not to offer a choice directly, and only include Safari. That is Apple’s choice.
    Unlike Microsoft, Apple is allowed to make that choice – because OS X has not been determined to hold a monopoly.

    So, hinging point for many of the arguments made: Does the product hold a monopoly or not, and is the company (ab)using that monopoly to have an unfair advantage in another market?

  236. Sebastiaan says:

    I’m curious, when do you get this screen? I’ve installed Windows 7 two times now, and never received this screen 😉 And I’m running all the browsers by choice now within Win7.

  237. Javier Ochoa says:

    The EC must oblige MS to deliver windows 7 without any browser, then each user will be free to choose it or think about it.

  238. gigaxoft says:

    These suggest that we are not able and rational enough to choose the browser you want to use?, I think should have more confidence that your product is good, and that customers will prefer. Safari makes it hard to be first in the list fails to awaken any interest in new users.
    (Sorry for bad english)
    //// Original (Spanish)

    Estas sugiriendo que nosotros no somos lo suficientemente capaces y racionales para elegir el navegador que queremos usar?, creo que deberias confiar mas en que tu producto es bueno, y que la clientela te prefiere. Dificulto que Safari por estar de primero en esa lista logre despertar algún interés en los nuevos usuarios.

  239. Bennie says:

    But if your saying that the ballot is the problem (and not the order in any way) what kind of solution would you give the users to make a choice of browser?

    Or what would you have done to make sure IE doesn’t have the advantage of Microsofts monopoly on the OS market?

    Installing all browsers wouldn’t be an option either at first because it would just be plain impossible to keep them all up-to-date makeing them a HUGE exploit risk (as all are 3th party except for IE) and second it would probably just drive people crazy with options (bloating the OS)

    This post is far from objective and only seems driven to have more people choosing Firefox, if you don’t like the ballot stay away from negative outlets towards other browsers. If you want to have a fair randomized option list then you should include all 27 browsers in the option list and not only the first 5 (because the other 22 would be affected in an unfair matter!), only then its 100% fair. Of course this would also just give the user too many options so giving them the TOP 5 and by doing so reducing the chances of them making an unsuitable decission seem logic. But then your suggestion of useing market share and excluding IE is just ridiculous, you can’t ignore the fact that they are one of the bigger players on the browser market in any way (so they would have to chip in with the market share aswell – giving all 4 others in the list a very small chance of becoming first).

    Personally i highly doubt that most users only use IE because they don’t know about different browsers. Its just something they are familiar with and therefor use it when browsing the web. Firefox took a big gap out of the IE users with their browser just by offering more options catering to the “advanced” users. It doesn’t change the fact that someone who just checks their email doesn’t want all those extra’s offered, giving FF the advantage over IE.

  240. Maarten says:

    Oh men, what is this all about? Microsoft makes changes, so you can choose your own browser,some idiot complaints about the line-up…

    Maybe they have to show a message ‘put on the provided blindfold (see insert) and click somewhere after 10 seconds’… ‘Your browser is….’

  241. Billo says:

    Wow… what a whiney post. We know you wouldn’t have said anything if Firefox was first on the list. And you ignore that Firefox is far from perfect. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Firefox to have more competition from Safari — which, like it or not, is a very stable and capable browser that supports far more CSS3 layout options than Firefox does. And lets not forget that Safari passed Acid3 before Firefox did.

    Just because Firefox is popular, doesn’t mean that it should be first on a list. That doesn’t make it better or more appropriate — regardless of your bias.

  242. De Snotverlosser says:

    Can we discuss more important things now, like the color of my toilet paper?
    I’m torn between mauve and beige, any suggestions?

  243. Richard says:

    @Sebastiaan #1159
    “I’m curious, when do you get this screen?”
    Not yet, as it has not yet been OK’ed for actual deployment. Once it is, it will be pushed down to users by Microsoft – probably using Windows Update.

    @Javier Ochoa #1161
    Microsoft proposed this, but the EU and several other parties balked at this as not being a viable option for a variety of reasons. See earlier comments for some of those reasons.

    @De Snotverlosser #1166
    Given your ‘name’, I would suggest a deep shade of purple 🙂

  244. ‘many users do not know or care that other browsers are available’ – this is the problem!

  245. mark says:

    This is what happens when Microsoft tries to please a group as pathetic as the EU commision. They should have stuck with their original plan to not include any browser at all. Mozilla, the loosers at Opera and everyone else whinning about this are just bunch of crybaby’s. Mozilla already proved a third party browser can compete and the complaint should have ended there.
    No matter what Microsoft did one of these groups would have found something to snivel about, there’s no point in giving in to any of them.

  246. Joe says:

    Ever tried to set Bing as a search engine in FF?
    This is always defaulted to google. Why don’t FF let me choose at all

  247. mark says:

    Just click on the mange search engines in the search box. Install Bing the use the Move Up button on the “manage search Engines” tool. Move Bing to the top, now it resides in the default serach position.

  248. Shawn C. says:

    How about based it upon who has the nicest looking logo – this is such a beuracratic bunch of bull.

  249. pedro says:

    This must be a joke. Providing solid discussion of the topic, you recommend only those solutions that would give Firefox a higher chance to appear at the first place. This is actually exactly the same thing, Microsoft has been criticized for years – prefering his own browser at any prize. I Thought better of Mozilla, but was wrong 🙁 Never mind, lets go out and find an open sourced browser made “by people for people”.

  250. Maarten says:

    As a website developer i can only say i’m happy that people are forced to choose, which -i hope- will lead to the piece of malware called Internet Explorer loosing some more market share (and in the end, die a painful death)… all the other options are better! 🙂

  251. Norik says:

    I am highly pro Microsoft in here, even though I use Firefox and Chrome, and I am a website developer too. But I believe Microsoft has the right to bundle IE with Windows because Windows is their software, and if user does not like windows, let them use Apple that bundles Software and Hardware together, or Google that wants to bundle Chrome with ChromeOS and Netbook hardware together. This is all dirty politics big companies play together and EU case was supposed to favor users but at the end it was not fight for user rather than market share for companies to push their own software. I even blame Mozilla at some point for trying to commercialize Netscape and IE saved the web. Now I am pro Microsoft for bundling the browser in OS, not because they have the best browser but because they deserve the rights to bundle their software together. I can’t imagine what would Google do in their upcoming OS, let users to install IE on ChromeOS? Same case or not? what you think

  252. tilak says:

    well, it so seems that what ever MS does, it is not satisfactory to anyone. It is on the user to do research on what ever browser he/she wants to use and not the manufacturer to decide, given the choice. It was interesting to see that the author came up with different choices; why don’t we have a short video explaining all the pros and cons of different browsers and then only the user can install one instead of picking up the most popular or the one he/she has heard of. Seems by the end of the day everyone is trying to market their own product, be it Internet Explorer, Fire Fox, Chrome, Safari ….

  253. I dont think that adding IE in every windows by microsoft is a bad thing at all, it is the choice of the consumer either to use it or not.

  254. Don says:

    @ RICHARD:

    “fair means `the same rules`, not `the same result`”
    The rules are the same, however. You are forgetting however that some rules only apply to certain entities.
    In this case, the rule that you can’t leverage the popularity of product X to give product Y an advantage -if- product X is deemed to have a monopoly.
    Put differently.. if Mozilla Firefox had a monopoly in the browser market, and Mozilla were to start shoving Thunderbird down with a FireFox update, whether you like it or not, they could very well find themselves at the pointy end of such a rule.”

    Wow. So you think because that since this “rule” would apply to Mozilla (or anyone else) in the same situation, it’s “fair”? Are you really that shortsighted? The fact that is true EXEMPLIFIES my point that this is about controlling an *end result* and not a *fair playing field*. You’re pointing out that if ANYONE ends up “too much” or “too far” they are, in effect, punished to control that end result. That is not a fair playing field by any stretch of the imagination. That is a *predetermined* mindset to make sure the results are to whoever (in this case, the EC’s) liking. That is the complete and utter opposite of a fair playing field – it’s predetermined (and fundimentally botched, so to speak) from the beginning. Of course, I wouldn’t expect the EC (or you, it seems) to understand what freedom and equality really means, and how it relates to fairness.

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  264. RC says:

    There is a saying that seems particularly apt here, “If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, then Mohammed must go to the mountain.” Bearing that in mind, a far simpler solution might have been to change the name of your company from Mozilla to “Aardvark”, thus ensuring first place prominence under Microsoft’s existing system.

    And now, 2 years later, we see IE and Firefox both on a steady decline (the former went below 50% in Oct 2011 and the latter due to go below 20% in Jan 2012). Safari is on a very slight but steady incline – looks like being first in the list didn’t help as much as you were predicting. The real winner was Google Chrome storming up the market share leaderboard and only 2.4% below Firefox (on current trajectory, it will have overtaken Firefox by Feb 2012). I would attribute this to Google’s prominence in the marketplace and their massive advertising campaigns (in London, you can’t walk very far without seeing Google Chrome advertised on a billboard, giant TV screen – and they have adverts all over the London Underground too).

    Rather than blame the browser picker for your recent misfortune, you might perhaps like to reflect on whether prompting users to update to a “new” version of your browser every month is having a negative effect. It’s certainly one of the reasons I abandoned Firefox for Google Chrome last year. What “version” of Google Chrome am I running by the way? I have literally no idea.

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