IE? Firefox? Safari? Google? Opera? Today, Microsoft rolls out its ‘browser choice’ ballot, asking European Union citizens to choose their preferred web browser from a choice of up to 12 surfing tools on Windows-based computers.
This means that millions of people who have never really thought about which browser to use will now be asked to make a choice. Whilst this sounds like music to my ears, I’m still at a loss as to whether it’ll change the “browser war” as we currently know it.
According to NetApplications, IE unsurprisingly is still at the top of the tables with 61.58% share, followed not so closely by Firefox with 24.23% of the market. Chrome’s 5.61% share is a little better than Safari’s 4.45%, and Opera’s 2.35% is barely worth mentioning.
The browser choice which is Microsoft’s response to the EC antitrust probe definitely leaves room for IE’s competitors to get a larger chunk of the market which has arguably been unfairly dominated by Microsoft for too long. How much room on the other hand is open for debate.
First of all there are a large number of web surfers who are not tech savvy, and probably not even aware of the existence of the other browsers. Presented with the browser choice screen, they’ll simply select the blue ‘e’ that they’ve become so accustomed to.
Secondly according to the open source organisation, a whopping three quarters of internet users are not aware of this new browser choice. Will they maybe confuse it with another unnecessary configuration? The red ‘x’ is visible enough for users to simply close the screen.
The browser choice is definitely only a first step to a healthier competition in this industry, and whilst I don’t think IE is shaking in its boots just yet, we might be telling a different story a year from now.