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Windows Browser Ballot: the Winners and the Losers 134

Posted by timothy
from the bureaucrats-one dept.
Barence writes "It's a year since the Windows browser ballot came into being in Europe — but has it made any difference? PC Pro has surveyed the minor browser makers — who theoretically had the most to gain from the ballot — to find out what impact it's had on their business. The answers are very mixed. One of the 12, FlashPeak SlimBrowser, claims it's resulted in fewer than 200 downloads per day. Others claim it's transformed their business. One thing is for certain: the big boys still dominate."
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Windows Browser Ballot: the Winners and the Losers

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  • by Aerorae (1941752) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:34AM (#35329064)
    the slope of that green line. Anyone wanna estimate an (y=mx+b) m for me? :D
    Did note the part about measuring Safari usage by adding in OSX machines when comparing browsers. Statistical reporting at its best. (/sarcasm)
    • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @05:19AM (#35329376)
      Extrapolation [xkcd.com]: because past performance perfectly predicts future growth.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Dogtanian (588974)

        Extrapolation [xkcd.com]: because past performance perfectly predicts future growth.

        It's funny, and does make a valid point about silly extrapolations. However, it's flawed in that an arbitrary point was chosen for the "0" husbands point- they could have chosen any time prior to the point of marriage with equal validity- 5 seconds, 1 day, 20 years, and would have got very different results for each.

        In fact, I'm not sure anything meaningful can be extrapolated from a situation like that- you could get an infinitely steep line by choosing a point infinitely close to the point of marriage,

      • by bunratty (545641)
        You can't simply extrapolate any function and get a meaningful result. But if you extrapolate a long term trend that looks like it's going to continue, you can make very accurate predictions. The most famous is Moore's Law. In the browser world, we could predict Mozilla usage would continue to double every year, at least while it was still under 10% usage. I think we can expect Chrome's usage share to increase 6-8% over the next year, and Internet Explorer's usage share to decline by about the same amount.
    • by Bratmon (1649855)

      the slope of that green line. Anyone wanna estimate an (y=mx+b) m for me? :D

      I'm getting something like y=3/2x+4

    • Re:I like (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pandrijeczko (588093) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @12:01PM (#35330780)

      Personally, I think Safari should be lumped in with "Other" because usage of it on Windows is so insignificant.

  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:36AM (#35329070)

    I ran the browser usage by year through a spreadsheet a couple of months ago and found the same thing. The decline in Internet Explorer usage was remarkably consistent over the years. The EU's browser choice appeared to make no difference in the usage deltas for all the browsers. I didn't look at the less used browsers, but I imagine that they would be the true winners because hardly anybody would have heard of the minor players if it weren't for being on this list.

    It just goes to show that the reason that IE got to have so much dominance was not because it was bundled with the operating system, but that for far too long it had no real competition.

    • by kevinmenzel (1403457) <kevinmenzel AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:40AM (#35329076)
      And since none of the major browser trends changed with the introduction of the Ballot, it also shows that the entire situation was overblown, and that there was a competitive market in place which was (and is) correcting the mistake of leaving IE uncontested for so long.
      • by oliverthered (187439) <oliverthered@hot ... minus herbivore> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:47AM (#35329106) Journal

        I think it could be described as too late in some ways.... what would have happened if this was in there from the start?
        would it have created a more equal market for competition to develop in. overblown, it's been what 10 years?

        • But the point is, that when competition started developing, it started gaining marketshare. There wasn't instant adoption, but the long term trend is for more diversity.

          Also, the point is that this DIDN'T happen 10 years ago, it happened recently, once the market was already on the way to correction, and hasn't been shown to help speed up that process. It also hasn't particularly helped Opera, who were the ones complaining in the first place.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by bonch (38532)

          People have always been free to use alternative browsers on their desktop machines.

        • what would have happened if this was in there from the start?

          If there had been 12 worthwhile competitors to IE from the start then it would not have acheived such dominance. That the point of my last paragraph.

          • by djjockey (1301073)

            But there wasn't. According to this article, there was one worthwhile competitor. and it was shit.

              http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/02/24/1648259/Retro-Browser-War-IE6-Vs-Netscape-In-2011 [slashdot.org]

            • According to this article, there was one worthwhile competitor. and it was shit.

              That is why I added the adjective "worthwhile" to my sentence, just to exclude Netscape! Back in the day, I used to use lynx as an alternative to IE. I wouldn't consider that to be a maintream competitor either.

          • But Netscape was cheated out of the market, and the market was cheated out of the superior browser, by Microsoft.
            • But Netscape was cheated out of the market, and the market was cheated out of the superior browser, by Microsoft.

              That is just wrong. Netscape Navigator evolved to be a bloated mess. It crashed all the time, and had much worse standard CSS and DOM support than IE. Why do you think Netscape felt the need to completely rewrite the code after Netscape 4.X?

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          from the start? well, nothing much.
          you wouldn't still be using slimjim lite bang browser 23.

          but there'd be a lot more of webkit and mozilla engine browsers with shoddy branding.

          FlashPeak SlimBrowser seriously should be GLAD to get 200 per day.

      • by sjames (1099)

        None of the trends reversed, but IE's decline and Chrome's rise accelerated a fair bit. That suggests that being the default was helping IE. It's numbers were falling in spite of that boost.

        • None of the trends reversed, but IE's decline and Chrome's rise accelerated a fair bit.

          No, they didn't. There might appear to be a slight change in IE's descent in the graph in TFA but if you could zoom out the graph to show a larger timeframe then it is a pretty darn constant drop. The rise in Chrome would be because it was such a new browser, although the graph the TFA shows the exactly same gradient in the months before and after the browser choice system was implemented. The article itself says:

          The big five - or should that be big three? - almost aren't the issue here. As the graph above shows, despite a few minor wobbles around the time of the ballot's launch (marked by the dotted line), all five browsers continued largely on the trend lines they'd been following for months beforehand.

          Their conclusions are the same as mine.

          • by sjames (1099)

            IE lost 4% in the year before the ballot and it lost 9% in the year following., That sure looks like an acceleration to me.

            Chrome's growth is a bit more ambiguous since it was accelerating before the ballot.

            Their conclusions are the same as mine.

            I see nowhere in TFA where they conclude that IE's dominance was NOT driven by it's being the default browser. In fact, the opposite is taken as an implicit assumption throughout TFA.

            The only issue in question is how has the ballot affected the mostly unknown niche browsers.

        • "being the default was helping IE"
          Thank you, Captain Obvious.
          • by sjames (1099)

            If you will look at the post I was replying to and it's parent, you'll see that it clearly wasn't obvious enough!

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by bonch (38532)

        At least it discredited one more excuse used by Opera supporters and other fans for justifying their pet browsers' relatively minuscule market shares.

      • No isn't a "market" at all at least not in the conventional sense, MS destroyed that when they decided to give away internet explorer. There is competition but only between entities that for whatever reason can afford to give their browser away for free. Yes IE was better than the alternatives for a while but we will never know how much of that was down to incompetence at the competitors and how much was down to MS cutting off their competitors air supply and thereby forcing them to scramble for alternative

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @04:30AM (#35329270) Journal

      Yeah yeah, extrapolating future trends by drawing a straight line between past points. That is SUCH a reliable method.

      But hey, good news, by these figures IE will be at 0% in 5 years and Google at well over a 100%.

      The browser ballot changed things, would the lines have been as they are now without it? Nobody knows but it is not beyond imagination that IE would have bottomed out 50% instead and might even have climbed with the release of IE9.

      Basically, those who claim the ballot did not have an affect are claiming something like the new iPhone had no effect on iPhone sales. The old one was selling well, the new one sells well, ergo no change... because the old one would of course have done the same sale figures without a new release.

      • IE was less than 50% before the ballot.
      • Yeah yeah, extrapolating future trends by drawing a straight line between past points. That is SUCH a reliable method.

        But nobody even speculated about what will happen in the future. This discussion is purely about what happened once the EU forced Microsoft to implement the browser choice window. My only comment was the decline shows a fairly constant drop since Mozilla came out. I wouldn't dare predict what is going to happen in the future, mainly because I don't know how IE9 will be received.

        The browser ballot changed things, would the lines have been as they are now without it? Nobody knows but it is not beyond imagination that IE would have bottomed out 50% instead and might even have climbed with the release of IE9.

        The fact that there is absolutely no change in the trends in either direction is definitely an indication that the ballot had no ef

      • by fermion (181285) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @11:24AM (#35330518) Homepage Journal
        What we do see from the chart is that everyone won because it appeared that many made a choice, and when they did over half of them went with a browser that was not MS.

        It also appears that over time the share of non-MS browser stayed pretty consistent. This indicates that we are going to have a healthy standards based market as no firm is going to develop specifically for MS, or Chrome, given that they will automatically lose a majority of their potential customers.

        It also appears that Chrome growth might be limited. Google has the money to pull people away from IE, but not other browsers. This and other evidence shows that, despite, or perhaps due to Chrome legitimizing non-IE browsers, Firefox has market share that would be considered outlandish a year ago, and other browsers are holding their own. Therefore Google is competing for the 60% of the market or so that IE controlled when Chrome came on the scene Given that other browsers are still growing, some of which will be consumed by them.

        We see, again, it is unlikely a fully dominant browser wil emerge. MS has the money to keep Google from taking over the market. It may be in a year Firefox will be the top browser, albeit with minority market share, with Google and MS fighting to be #2. Safari and Opera would fighting for a distant place 4 and 5.

        Of course downloads does not a user make. I have many browsers in my computer. I mostly use Camino,but launch others for particular sites.

        • What we do see from the chart is that everyone won because it appeared that many made a choice, and when they did over half of them went with a browser that was not MS.

          What's the source of your "over half" remark? The only thing I see from the chart is that the trends don't appear to have wildly changed post-dotted-line. Perhaps you meant many people made a choice to install a non-MS browser independent of the choice offered them by the browser ballot? I wouldn't say "everybody won" so much as "everybody is winning" in that case.

      • Many processes have near-linear behavior for a time before switching to more complex behavior later. Using percentages (instead of raw usage numbers) can help create non-linear behavior, but on the right time scale any sufficiently smooth function is approximately linear. In any case, ignoring linear extrapolations out of hand is as bad as relying on them without noting their limitations.

        Without doing any halfways meaningful statistical analysis, IMO it looks like the trends didn't significantly change whe
      • by fucket (1256188)

        a 100%.

        Please stop doing this.

    • by BudAaron (1231468)
      IE still has no real competion in my view - so what's your point.
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by ynp7 (1786468)
        Well it's hard to make something that crappy. No surprise there are so few willing to challenge Microsoft for that crown.
      • IE still has no real competion in my view - so what's your point.

        My point is that eventually you will upgrade from Windows 3.1, and then you will find that there are other browser options out there. But until then, I hope that you have a WONDERF.ULL time in 16 bit land.

        • Back in the Windows 3.1 days, and into the Windows 95 days, you HAD to choose your browser yourself because no browser was included in the OS. Netscape was awesome back in the 3.1 days, and many people used it.
          • Netscape was awesome back in the 3.1 days, and many people used it.

            But then it stopped being awesome, and people stopped using it.

            I remember when I first tried Internet Explorer and found it to be a breath of fresh air compared to Netscape Navigator. It was smaller, faster, and had a superior DOM. The only thing that I hated about it was the alert that popped up on virtually every page because I had ActiveX turned off. If there was one reason that we needed some competition for IE, then it was that we needed something that didn't support ActiveX.

            But getting back to what t

    • <quote><p>the reason that IE got to have so much dominance was not because it was bundled with the operating system, but that for far too long it had no real competition.</p></quote>

      Switched to Opera years ago,  did I know it was no real competitor.
    • by kooky45 (785515)
      There always was real competition, tut when IE was bundled it because the majority of users' default browser and since people don't like to change they're unlikely to choose another browser simply because they now get the choice on startup.
    • It just goes to show that the reason that IE got to have so much dominance was not because it was bundled with the operating system, but that for far too long it had no real competition.

      It didn't just get bundled with the operating system. They also had some kind of deal with an awful lot of software makers so, no matter what software you installed, for some reason that software installed Internet Explorer on your computer too. And for some reason, no matter what software you installed, it required Internet Explorer to run, even if the previous version didn't. Maybe I'm exaggerating to say all software did this but Microsoft must have had a lot of deals with a lot of people. We couldn't in

      • They also had some kind of deal with an awful lot of software makers so, no matter what software you installed, for some reason that software installed Internet Explorer on your computer too.

        I imagine that was because they made a good API for Internet Explorer so that you could plug it into 3rd party programs. They installed IE because they needed it. This is exactly the same as video software installing ffdshow or any one of the zillions of examples in the open source world (where programs use other programs as building blocks).

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      It just goes to show that the reason that IE got to have so much dominance was not because it was bundled with the operating system, but that for far too long it had no real competition.

      I rather think that it means you're looking at the data too late. Of course MSIE was the dominant browser when it didn't have any real competition, but that was after the competition had been killed off. Before that, there was healthy competition between Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

      Although it is impossible to say for certain, many believe that MSIE came to have ~90% market share through a combination of being bundled with the operating system and having become good enough that it was

      • I rather think that it means you're looking at the data too late. Of course MSIE was the dominant browser when it didn't have any real competition, but that was after the competition had been killed off. Before that, there was healthy competition between Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

        I have already posted a number of times that I believe that Netscape killed itself. They kept making their offering more buggy and bloated. Just look at the download sizes as the versions progressed. Netscape 3.03 was 3.3MB, Netscape 4.51 was 14.3MB and version 4.78 was 22.4MB. These days those figures seem tiny, but back that that was a big download. No wonder why it seemed so slow to run.

        Why is it that they [Opera] never managed to sway a large percentage of users? Could it be because Opera, other than Netscape and IE, was never included on ISPs installation disks, included with shareware magazine's distributions, or bundled with operating systems on large scale?

        Opera failed because it wasn't free. When they finally came out with a free version it was ad supported. Look around at

  • by metalmaster (1005171) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:42AM (#35329084)

    ....so Link P thinks its unfair that they arent chosen.

    Lets be real here for a moment.....It might have been a bit unfair that MS had a stranglehold on the browser market for those PCs that had Windows pre-installed. Choice is good, and it's great that the EU evened the playing field. But too many choices will confuse the general public

    As a PC support tech, i'd have to argue that average joe consumer wants/needs a browser that will handle everything you throw at it. The top 5 in that list will do just that for the most part or they have a simple add-on scheme that handle's the rest. As internet technologies mature bloat is the way to go. If a customer says to me "my internet wont do this...." its not appropriate for me to say "well, you chose a browser that doesnt have that feature." A company that markets a product as a SlimBrowser sounds like it would put me in that very position.

    If you design a browser with a niche feature set(ie. Bare bones browsing) dont complain when the mass market doesnt choose your product

    • by Pentium100 (1240090) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:56AM (#35329140)

      It looks like SlimBrowser uses the IE engine*, so it probably supports whatever IE does.

      * the system requirements for SlimBrowser say:

      Windows 98 or above with at least Internet Explorer 5.0. Internet Explorer 8.0 is recommended for improved performance and security.

      So it probably uses the IE rendering engine. AFAIK, the security and performance of Firefox, Opera or Chrome do not depend on which version of IE I have.

    • by houghi (78078) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @04:02AM (#35329168)

      But too many choices will confuse the general public

      Yet limiting their choices is NOT an option. I am 'confused' by the amount of stores I can buy things. I am 'confused' by the sorts of food I can buy. Clothes, computers, cars, camera's, women... All things where I am 'confused' by the choice I have.

      Yet I rather be confused than somebody else make the choice for me.

      • by Nerull (586485)

        Yet, all your examples are exactly that. You have a choice of which car you want to buy, but you don't get to individually pick all of it's components unless you get something custom built.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by jappleng (1805148)
        I agree that there is a choice. The choice between buying the product or not buying it. Microsoft doesn't force people to use only their browser. Microsoft only supplies a pre-bundled browser. If you google web browser in google, you will get firefox as the first hit, not chrome. If it were chrome, there wouldn't be much of a problem either since it's an excellent browser to begin win. People can search for whatever browser they desire, and they can find charts of what browser supports what. It's not Micros
        • by Pentium100 (1240090) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @07:04AM (#35329682)

          Microsoft has a monopoly in the desktop OS market. And yes, monopoly does not mean that MS is the only supplier, it means that it has very large market share and as such, it influences the market and can influence other markets more so than some other company.

          Let's say that Microsoft made it so that WebM video codec (or, say, Firefox) does not work on Windows. Very few people will change their OS just to use the single program that does not work, so the result would be that the market share of Firefox or WebM would decrease sharply. On the other hand, if some Linux distribution made it so that it was not possible to run Wine (and in turn, windows programs) or h.264, the impact on the usage of those programs would not change much (even assuming that everyone stayed with their distribution).

          I hear the internet connectivity in the USA is great, you have so many options that you can choose and the competition between ISPs is so fierce that my 80mbps connection must seem like dial-up to you. I mean if one ISP starts capping the connection or offers only DSL you can just move to some other ISP...

          Microsoft makes a good OS (well, somehow people are buying and using it, so it must be good or Microsoft somehow manages to make it happen wven though the OS is not that good), but it should not have the power to dictate other markets (what if it made Windows only compatible with Intel CPUs, or just AMD CPUs? Should it hold that much power over the CPU manufacturers?)

          Same thing with the browser. A lot of people do not know what a "browser" is, they just use the blue "e" to get to the internet. IE is not the best browser (IE8 is Ok, but this started when the newest IE version was 6) and it is not compatible with the standards, so web designers have to make pages compatible with IE and the standard browsers or they would lose clients. That's why the EU made Microsoft offer users a choice, it was hoped that some of the users would find out about the choice that they have (if someone uses IE because he prefers it, the menu was just a one time annoyance, for others, it offered a choice).

          Someone will now say that notepad, paint and other programs are the same, so you have to offer choices on them too. Well, no. First of all, the other programs are basic and they do their job well, also, they are compatible with standard formats, so there is no harm in users continuing to use them, unlike IE, especially IE6.

          • "I hear the internet connectivity in the USA is great, you have so many options that you can choose and the competition between ISPs is so fierce that my 80mbps connection must seem like dial-up to you. I mean if one ISP starts capping the connection or offers only DSL you can just move to some other ISP..."

            HA! You're wrong. Not everyone has the options to switch. For example in my area, Cable is the only cheapest and fastest. DSL is not possible due to 20K ft. distance. WISPs are not close enough. FIOS isn

      • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

        Know what is crazy?
        Almost everyone I know is using non-IE browsers.
        None of them live in the EU.
        OMFG, they made choices without government interference!!!!

        • by boxwood (1742976)

          You said "almost" everyone you know. So there are some people you know that are still using IE. Of those people how many are aware that they have a choice?

          Why exactly is it wrong to make people aware they have a choice?

          • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

            Every person I know understands that there are a variety of browsers they can choose from. Just as they understand there are a variety of tire makers they can use for their cars. The few who stick with IE (which confounds me to no end), simply just like it.

            It isn't the proper role of government to force companies to point out their competitors' offerings to the customer. If Suzie buys Campbell's Soup, it itsn't Campbell's problem if Suzie isn't aware of her other soup choices.

      • by antdude (79039)

        Camera's what? Cases? Lens? Colors? Designs? :P

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nmb3000 (741169)

      It might have been a bit unfair that MS had a stranglehold on the browser market for those PCs that had Windows pre-installed.

      Except that IE's market share was slipping long before the EU felt the need to pointlessly start throwing their weight around.

      Choice is good, and it's great that the EU evened the playing field. But too many choices will confuse the general public.

      The EU did not level anything. All they did, as you note, is introduce confusion. Anyone who's read much of Raymond Chen's blog [msdn.com] knows the thought that goes into initial user experience. Starting off by throwing up dialog boxes and asking the user questions they cannot answer is NOT helpful and just reminds people that computers are hard to use.

      Something like 90% of users probably

      • Starting off by throwing up dialog boxes and asking the user questions they cannot answer is NOT helpful and just reminds people that computers are hard to use.

        I don't think that person had much influence in the design of the initial setup procedure. I didn't have the ballot box, and I recall that setting up a Windows 7 machine for the first time was more aggravating than it needed to be.

      • by Noughmad (1044096)

        Starting off by throwing up dialog boxes and asking the user questions they cannot answer is NOT helpful and just reminds people that Windows are hard to use.

        When you think of it this way, it's not so bad anymore.

      • It might have been a bit unfair that MS had a stranglehold on the browser market for those PCs that had Windows pre-installed.

        Except that IE's market share was slipping long before the EU felt the need to pointlessly start throwing their weight around.

        Yeah, you can tell the market is working well when the absolutely worst browser on the market, with huge security problems, huge performance problems, and utter failure to implement modern standards and popular new features ONLY has 50% of the market and is slowly losing share after no significant updates for a decade.

        Your argument is less than compelling.

        2. Have no idea what a "browser" is, and just want to check their email. They click a button randomly, or maybe based on which icon is the prettiest. Ballot still serves no purpose for the user -- all it manages to do is artificially spread around market share to no-name browsers.

        What you fail to understand is that option 2 is immensely better for a free market, competition, and driving innovation than the situation we had. If a us

    • But too many choices will confuse the general public

      Like they are confused by the choices of so many artists to download? I havn't noticed a dramatic fall in the number of downloads lately!

  • Of course many smaller browsers didn't get much of a turn out- everyone knows to cast your ballot for one of the front runners or you're wasting your vote.
  • The problem with the minor browsers is perhaps perception. Chrome has been successfully marketed as a leading edge "shiny" must have browser, and it's market share has risen accordingly. Opera on the other hand with its "we're the most compliant" attitude is perhaps perceived as a slightly dowdy tech-heads choice, and its market share has been a bit flat.
    • by bunratty (545641)
      I've always seen Opera as the "we're better than you" choice. Better at standards compliance. Better user interface. Faster. More customizable. More secure. Lower memory usage. Better everything! Then when people actually try it, it doesn't live up to the expectation. I think they should be a bit more humble in their marketing. Maybe the "give it a try and maybe you'll like it" choice.
    • by BZ (40346)

      Chrome has a _much_ bigger marketing budget than Opera does.

      So perhaps more precisely Chrome was marketed, period.

      • by bunratty (545641)
        I think marketing can get users to try a browser, but it's not necessarily going to get users to stick with a browser. We've seen users drop NCSA Mosaic, Netscape, and IE when better alternatives become available. Lots of people try Opera, but relatively few seem to stick with it, on the desktop at least. There may be other browsers out there that are just as good as the more popular ones, but they have trouble getting people to try them. Firefox and Chrome seem to be successful because they can get people
        • by BZ (40346)

          Agreed re: maketing being just half of it; for most non-IE browsers getting users to try them has been the hard part, though.

          > Lots of people try Opera

          Lots of tech geeks try opera. I have yet to meet an "average" user who has. Not that I think they'd necessarily like it if they _did_ try it, but nevertheless.

  • I know there's lots of google fan boys on Slashdot, but I find it frightening that Chrome use has been growing so much. Google already has a very powerful market presence on the web, and I don't think putting them in charge of your browser is a good idea. They are a corporation for profit, and hence inherently evil, like any machine that cares about nothing but profit would inherently be.

    The choice to use Firefox is obvious because it's the best browser. But people should stick with Firefox anyway becaus

    • by TeXMaster (593524) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:58AM (#35329672)

      I know there's lots of google fan boys on Slashdot, but I find it frightening that Chrome use has been growing so much. Google already has a very powerful market presence on the web, and I don't think putting them in charge of your browser is a good idea. They are a corporation for profit, and hence inherently evil, like any machine that cares about nothing but profit would inherently be.

      The choice to use Firefox is obvious because it's the best browser. But people should stick with Firefox anyway because it's OPEN SOURCE, and no corporation could abuse the power of it's market share for that fact alone.

      You do know that Google Chrome is a branded (and who-knows-how-changed) version of the OPEN SOURCE Chromium, right?

      As for the choice to use Firefox being obvious because it's the best browser ... funny, for me it's only the third choice (the first being Opera, which is leaving me quite disgruntled due to the rendering bugs and memory leaks that started showing up in version 11, the second being Chromium, i.e. the open source browser on which Google Chrome is based, and Firefox being only the last option if nothing else works).

      • by Lennie (16154)

        You do know that Chromium started out as Chrome and that Chromium had bugs which meant it included tracking features Google had in Chrome by accident because of it.

        Nope.. not interrested.

        Firefox 4 with the addons I want works for me really well.

        • by skegg (666571)

          Seconded.
          I find that Google is so omnipresent:

                  Google Analytics / Android / Chrome / Google Maps / googleapis.com / YouTube / Gmail / etc

          that I avoid their products & services so as to minimise my exposure to them.
          I figure their tentacles will grab me at some point (e.g. on Slashdot) so why give them more info than required?

          There's a reason they're worth $US200 billion ...

        • by tapo (855172)

          The only tracking features Chrome makes use of is a ping to Google upon successful install (RLZ identifier, by way of Google Update, which is not installed with Chromium and a separate open source project) and the suggested results in the address bar, which can be disabled.

          I'm all for people using whatever browser they want because it suits their needs, but I don't get the FUD against Chrome. It's utter bullshit and anti-Google paranoia when there are plenty of legitimate criticisms to be made.

          • Well, anything you type into the google bar gets sent to google, how do you think they implement the search feature?

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      They are a corporation for profit, and hence inherently evil, like any machine that cares about nothing but profit would inherently be.

      I'm not saying that they necessarily are, but it's possible they may be one of the few companies that realizes that long term profit can be made by providing good services to your users and not screwing them over in the short term. I don't think making money is inherently Evil, it's pretty much the same as you or me getting paid to do our job.

    • by boxwood (1742976)

      I use chromium because I prefer the UI, it loads up faster, its more responsive than Firefox.

      Its your opinion that Firefox is the best, and you may be shocked to find out that your opinion isn't shared by everyone. I have used Firefox previously, I tried Chrome and it worked better for me.

      And since I use Chromium, I am still using a FOSS browser.

    • I know there's lots of google fan boys on Slashdot, but I find it frightening that Chrome use has been growing so much. Google already has a very powerful market presence on the web, and I don't think putting them in charge of your browser is a good idea.

      Clearly, lots of other people disagree with your assessment...

      They are a corporation for profit, and hence inherently evil, like any machine that cares about nothing but profit would inherently be.

      A for-profit corporation isn't necessarily one that "cares about nothing but profit", its simply one that is not structured in a special manner such that it does not accrue profits to the benefit of shareholders. Corporations represent the shared interests of their voting stockholders, essentially; usually, for a widely held company that shared interest is nothing but profits (for closely held companies, it is more likely that the voting stockhol

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm curious, where is this "ballot screen", anyway?

    I'm from Germany. I just bought a laptop a month or two ago; it came with windows 7 preinstalled (naturally: try getting a laptop from a major manufacturer that doesn't come with windows preinstalled). Browser-wise, it had IE installed on it, and that was it.

    I fired up IE precisely once, to download an alternative browser, and I've been using that instead ever since. But I sure as heck didn't get a "browser ballot" screen where I could choose my preferred b

    • by xororand (860319)

      I've seen it in vanilla Windows 7 installations, e.g. retail, system builder's and MSDNAA editions.

      • by rastos1 (601318)
        I have to side with GP. It is not in 90-day trial version of Windows that is downloadable from Microsoft.
    • The OEM you bought the PC from already picked a browser for you. (They totally picked the best browser available, honestly. You can trust them. :P)

      If you do a new windows install, the ballot will appear after it is downloaded by Windows Update.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So I'm still waiting for the EU to require Apple to have a browser ballot upon Mac OS first boot.... I won't hold my breath though.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:27PM (#35331372) Homepage

    Perhaps the reason FlashPeak SlimBrowser gets so few downloads is because the web site looks exactly like those shady download sites that scrape and index all the freeware and demos, are full of ads and/or spyware.

    If they invested $29 in a modern and professional-looking template, maybe a few screenshots and better promotional text, they'd see more conversions. Policy alone can't convince people to trust you if your image is that of a 3rd world splog.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      I think it's a testament to that actually everyone has a shot at the browser ballot.

      you see, if you do download the slimbrowser - you're still using IE. so how much work do you think the guys who did it did? well, not enough to warrant even 200 / day.

      " * Minimum Requirement: Windows 98 or above with at least Internet Explorer 5.0. Internet Explorer 8.0 is recommended for improved performance and security.
      * Compatible with Windows 98/NT/ME/2K, Windows XP/2003/Vista/2008/Window

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