IE's share tumbles in some EU markets after ballot debut
But overall, IE stays stable, Firefox keeps falling and Chrome maintains growth
Computerworld - Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) has lost three times more share than usual in some European countries since the company issued a ballot that lets users choose an alternate browser, according to a Web measurement company.
In Europe overall, however, Microsoft's share has essentially remained stable, a turnabout from its typical decline over the last 12 months.
Microsoft added the ballot to the Windows Update queues of European users beginning March 1. The ballot, mandated by an agreement reached last year between Microsoft and European Union antitrust regulators, appears on Windows PCs where IE is set as the default browser. Users can choose to download and install 11 rivals, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and others.
According to Irish metrics firm StatCounter, IE's usage share -- the percentage of systems running the browser that visit the sites the company tracks for clients -- has dropped by double or even triple the average rate in several countries, including France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., since March 1.
In France, for instance, IE's share plummeted 2.4 percentage points since the end of February, more than double IE's average monthly decline of 1 percentage point in the country. Meanwhile, Mozilla's Firefox gained 1.2 points and Google's Chrome climbed 0.8 of a point. Both numbers were also dramatically above average; Firefox's and Chrome's average monthly gains have been just 0.4 of a point each over the last year.
Other European countries where IE slipped this month included Germany, where Microsoft's browser lost 0.9 of a percentage point, triple the 12-month average of 0.3 of a point; Italy, where IE dropped 1.3 points, more than twice the average decline of 0.5 of a point; and the U.K., where the browser slipped 0.9 of a point, almost double the 0.5 of a point point average.
Firefox posted the biggest gains in both France and Germany, with share increases of 1.2 percentage points and 0.4 of a point, respectively. Meanwhile, Chrome won out in both Italy and the U.K., where it led rivals with gains of 0.7 and 0.6 of a point, respectively.
Opera, the browser that sparked the EU antitrust action when it complained to regulators in late 2007, has also added to its share in those countries, with increases ranging from a miniscule 0.05 of a point in the U.K. to 0.13 of a point in Germany.
Norway's Opera Software is the only major browser maker to publish detailed numbers of its post-ballot downloads. Two days after Microsoft browser choice ballot began reaching users, Opera announced that downloads in Europe had tripled. Last week, it downgraded the increase to a doubling of its usual traffic.
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