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Microsoft Browser Use Down Following Antitrust Settlement

March 22, 2010

Usage of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in Europe is on the decline now that the American company has made access to rival web surfing programs easier, statistics released on Monday show.

Internet Explorer use has decreased in Britain by 1-percent, Italy by 1.3-percent, and France by 2.5-percent, according to information provided to Reuters by Statcounter, a web statistics provider. Meanwhile, Opera Software reports that usage of their web browser has doubled across the continent, and tripled in select areas, including Italy, Poland, and Spain.

The shift in Internet browser popularity is due largely to the launch of browserchoice.eu, a website established by Microsoft in response to antitrust accusations levied by the European Union.

The site, which is being automatically displayed for more than 200 million users in select locations throughout Europe, shows Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer alongside some of its top competitors, including Safari, Google Chrome, Opera Turbo, and Mozilla Firefox.

A bottom scrollbar can also be used to locate additional web browsing options, including FlashPeak SlimBrowser, Slepnir, Flock, and Greenbrowser.

“We have seen significant growth in the number of new Firefox users as a result of the Ballot Choice screen,” a representative for Mozilla, the second most utilized browsing software in Europe, told Reuters technology correspondent Tarmo Virki on Monday. “We expect these numbers to increase as the Ballot Choice screen fully rolls out across all countries.”

However, Flock spokespeople told the news agency that their service, which is not initially visible by users to the browserchoice.eu website, has not seen a significant increase in usage.

“To date, new downloads of Flock originating from the browser choice screen have only contributed marginally to growth in overall downloads. This is also the case for the other browsers not on the main screen,” the company told Virki in a statement. “We hope that the changes recommended in our urgent petition to the European Commission are implemented so that all the browsers that have been placed to the right of the main screen will have a reasonable chance of being found and considered by European consumers.”

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