Microsoft Modifies European 'Browser Ballot' to Eliminate Safari's Advantage

In mid-October, it was reported that Apple's Safari for Windows browser was slated to receive prominent placement on a "browser ballot" designed to allow Windows users in Europe to select which Internet browser they wished to use. The ballot process was included by Microsoft to address anti-competitive concerns there, where the company has been found at fault for its integration of Internet Explorer with Windows.

Apple benefited from the proposed ballot plan due to Microsoft's proposal that the top five browsers be listed in alphabetical order by company, placing Apple's Safari browser for Windows in the primary position ahead of Google's Chrome, Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla's Firefox, and Opera. The arrangement, however, drew criticism from a variety of sources, unsurprisingly including Mozilla and Opera.

Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft has revised its plans for the browser ballot, and among the revisions was a change that will randomize the list of top five browser each time the list displayed.

Under the modified settlement, computer users with Windows will see a "ballot screen" that randomly lists the top five Web browsers that compete with Internet Explorer, the people said. Users would then click on a browser's icon and the program would be downloaded from the Internet.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, agreed to changes in the ballot screen following complaints from Opera, Google Inc., and Mozilla Corp., maker of the Firefox browser, according to the people.

Despite the change, Apple still stands to gain from the inclusion of Safari on the primary ballot screen. Safari 4 for Windows held only a 0.29% share of the total worldwide market, suggesting that Apple may have much to benefit from in its inclusion with other major Windows browsers on the ballot.

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142 months ago

Also, Safari has never had anywhere near a monopoly on Macs. When my mom went to pick up her new Macbook from the Apple Store, there were lots of people there recommending Firefox over Safari. Compare that to Windows where, for the longest time, you needed IE to view the help files.

Actually based on the numbers from marketshare.hitslink.com that was linked form the article Safari on the Mac is "more of a monopoly" on IE on Windows.
IE = 63.26%
Safari = 4.36%
Windows = 92.52%
Mac = 5.12%

The article says 0.29% share of the total worldwide market, this all implies that:
Windows users who use IE is 68%
Mac users who use Safari is 79%

This could be due to Mac users, in general, being more loyal, that Safari is a better browser than IE so less Mac users have a reason to switch from the default, or some other combination of reasons.
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