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Apple's Safari gets prime placement in Windows browser ballot

post #1 of 74
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Microsoft's Windows browser ballot in Europe presents its options in alphabetical order, putting Apple's Safari as the first choice for users to install.

The design caught the ire of Jenny Boriss, a Firefox designer, who believes that the layout gives an unfair advantage to Safari over competing browsers. Her personal comments were not made on behalf of the Mozilla Foundation.

"Windows users presented with the current design will tend to make only two choices: IE because they are familiar with it, or Safari because it is the first item," she said.

Microsoft plans to offer the ballot screen in response to an ongoing antitrust dispute with the European Union.

After it was alleged that the Windows maker was engaging in anticompetitive practices, Microsoft was forced to release versions of its operating system without Windows Media Player bundled. Apple's rival to the north was also ordered to pay 497 million for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the market.

Early this year, the European Commission warned Microsoft that it believed the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows was an abuse of its stance in the market. The legal body argued that the ubiquity of Internet Explorer forces Web developers and programmers to optimize mostly or exclusively for the Microsoft browser, limiting the number of features available to users.

Due to launch on Oct. 22, Windows 7 will allow PC vendors to choose which Web browser they want to install on their hardware. Manufacturers can opt for Microsoft's own Internet Explorer, or choose another option instead.

After reviewing Microsoft's browser ballot, the option earned praise from the European Commission. A market test was conducted, and found that the new method provides greater information to consumers about Web browsers.

"The improvements that Microsoft has made to its proposal since July would ensure that consumers could make a free and fully informed choice of Web browser," the commission said. "Microsoft has in particular agreed to present users with a first screen explaining what web browsers are. 'Tell me more' buttons for each browser would also enable users to learn more about the web browser they may wish to install. The user experience would be better and the choice screen would better represent competing browser vendors. Finally, the proposed commitment would now be subject to a clause allowing the Commission to review it in the future to ensure that consumers would continue to have a genuine choice among browsers."

But Boriss said she believes a ballot isn't the right way to go, and the current design gives a "disproportionate advantage" to Apple's Safari. She cited studies that found that in traditional elections, lesser-known candidates can have their vote totals boosted by as much as 50 percent if their name is listed first.



She went on to say that Safari is not an "ideal" browser for Windows, as Apple puts more focus on software for its own Mac OS X platform than it does for Windows. She said that Safari is the least likely to be the browser Windows users want. She offered a number of alternatives, including random order of the top five browsers, or probability ordering by percentage market share.

"Past consumer choice has shown that Safari does not provide an ideal browsing experience on Windows," she said. "Taking IE out of the equation because of its advantage as the bundled browser, the free market really does show what Windows users prefer. Safari has the smallest market share of the five other browsers at 2.6 percent."

The overall share os Safari has increased steadily in recent years, thanks to increasing Mac sales, as well as the browser's availability for Windows. According to Net Applications, Safari has an overall 3.70 percent market share among all browsers.



When it launched in June, Safari 4 got off to an explosive start, with 11 million downloads of the browser within its first 3 days. More than half of those downloads -- 6 million -- were to users of Microsoft Windows operating systems.
post #2 of 74
Apple and MS have a nice financial relationship. what a way to show it off
post #3 of 74
Pick the order out of a hat and be done with it.
post #4 of 74
Waaah, how much you want to bet if Mozilla was named AA Mozilla this chick would not be complaining.
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post #5 of 74
What does Boriss suggest then? At least putting things alphabetically has some logic behind it. The alternative that I see would be to put them in installed base size order, but that would put IE top, and she wouldn't like that.

She should just convince Mozilla to change the name of Firefox to Aardvark and then keep quiet!
post #6 of 74
Given a vertical alphabetical list, like in an election ballot, then being first may have some advantage.

Given a smorgasbord selection like this with large logos I think people will gravitate first to the logo most familiar to them.
post #7 of 74
The best way to do this would be to randomize the order. Of course, random code is a tricky thing (most of it is not actually random) and the algorithm would be subject to Microsoft tinkering in a lot of people's minds. Still, the order could be regenerated based on the millisecond the code was executed which could be verified by EU testing. I wish the US Windows versions had this option...

And I'll bet Mozilla wishes they were named Amozilla right about now. (Doh! bigdaddyp beat me to it!)

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post #8 of 74
Give each browser a number (based on Alphabetical order if you like), and when the installer runs whichever number is closest to the last digit of the time in seconds goes first, followed by the rest in order. Easy. Pseudo random for the masses.
post #9 of 74
While maybe randomizing the order would be the most fair, doesn't Safari have one of the smallest percentages of users on the Windows platform, if not THE smallest? I'm not sure how this is unfair, though I would probably recommend to users they install Chrome or Firefox over Safari on Windows.
post #10 of 74
Exactly. Or if the selection didn't go by the Corporation's name, just by the product name, Firefox would be
second. She'd be singing a different tune then.
post #11 of 74
Such a big list. It could certainly cause confusion to people in Florida.
post #12 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

Such a big list. It could certainly cause confusion to people in Florida.

post #13 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drow_Swordsman View Post

While maybe randomizing the order would be the most fair, doesn't Safari have one of the smallest percentages of users on the Windows platform, if not THE smallest? I'm not sure how this is unfair, though I would probably recommend to users they install Chrome or Firefox over Safari on Windows.

Well, it's pretty close to one of the smallest. Poor Opera is languishing in last place. But the real fact that gets me is that she says that Safari is not an "ideal" browser for Windows. I don't seem to have a problem using it on Windows, especially after Apple released Safari 4, which has more "Windows" looks. Before, it looked more fit on a Mac than Windows. And most people don't even know that Apple is providing a browser; people don't recognize it b/c their friends haven't used it and therefore haven't recommended it. Everyone just recommends Firefox anyway because most likely that's what will fit most of everyone's needs, due to its plugins. So I call this blog post false, because obviously she has a motive to push, even though she doesn't explicitly say it.

I wish she were more honest; that derails her whole argument. Just saying that she would like to be the designer for the most popular browser on any OS and she would stop at nothing to achieve that, including criticizing whatever practices the software makers put out, would help her credibility. But then no one would read a fangirl(?)'s perspective.

I wonder if she'll criticize the Mac platform for having Safari as the default browser initially? Or what about Linux having Firefox as the default? You don't see a ballot on either of those OSes. Apparently she's a hypocrite
post #14 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

What does Boriss suggest then? At least putting things alphabetically has some logic behind it

yes but they were done by company, which is how Apple ended up first. the companies mean little to many so why not put them by software name with IE in the middle and not at the front.

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(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #15 of 74
The whole idea is incredibly stupid and redundant.

People who know what browser they like download it and uninstall any pre-installed browser.

People who don't know but want to find out more do the research and then download.

People who are clueless use something pre-installed.

This is just a waste of everyone's time, as everyone will still do these things and it will make no difference other than giving the biggest browsers more market share as the choice is severely limited (which surely defeats the purpose). Oh, and of course confusing the people who can barely use the Internet.

And if this is supposed to be 'fairer', then how come people are arguing about existing market share based on placement? You can't have it both ways - you either want to even the playing field or you don't.

Sometimes I hate Europe.
post #16 of 74
Who gives a sweet damn, it's Windows.

They can list it in terms of what a chimp picks out for all I care.



post #17 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Microsoft's Windows browser ballot in Europe presents its options in alphabetical order, putting Apple's Safari as the first choice for users to install....

What a ridiculous article.

First off, you can bet that if Microsoft knew it was being forced into a ballot like this and it *wanted* to be first it would just have to change it's name to "Explorer" which you know they would do if they thought it would give them an advantage. Secondly, MSIE is in the best position of all, which is dead centre. Third, if you read the language below, MSIE is installed by default and then *un-installed* during the browser ballot process. The reasonably scary language makes it quite unlikely the consumer will decide to just "decide later." Most will just pick the browser in the centre that is generally thought of as a part of the OS and that was just uninstalled.

What's really bad here though is that the entire complaint, and the entire article about the complaint seems to be based on an assumption that hasn't even been tested (that first position is best). You'd think someone could at least point to a study or something that might indicate that this is anything more than just an assumption.
post #18 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banalltv View Post

Given a vertical alphabetical list, like in an election ballot, then being first may have some advantage.

Given a smorgasbord selection like this with large logos I think people will gravitate first to the logo most familiar to them.

Yup. In fact people can complain that MS did itself a favor by placing itself right smack in the middle where first glances tend to zero in.
post #19 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

What a ridiculous article.

First off, you can bet that if Microsoft knew it was being forced into a ballot like this and it *wanted* to be first it would just have to change it's name to "Explorer" which you know they would do if they thought it would give them an advantage. Secondly, MSIE is in the best position of all, which is dead centre. Third, if you read the language below, MSIE is installed by default and then *un-installed* during the browser ballot process. The reasonably scary language makes it quite unlikely the consumer will decide to just "decide later." Most will just pick the browser in the centre that is generally thought of as a part of the OS and that was just uninstalled.

What's really bad here though is that the entire complaint, and the entire article about the complaint seems to be based on an assumption that hasn't even been tested (that first position is best). You'd think someone could at least point to a study or something that might indicate that this is anything more than just an assumption.

Question order IS a known factor in poll results, which is why political polls (for example) will sometimes randomize that.

However, polls don't normally exist in one single row. I agree that in a HORIZONTAL layout like this, IE, smack in the middle, is what pops into my awareness first.

Still, now everyone can point in amazement at how low Safari's share is despite having an "advantage"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Who gives a sweet damn, it's Windows.

They can list it in terms of what a chimp picks out for all I care.

Huh! The chimp went straight for Opera. Interesting.
post #20 of 74
You know, the screen for chosing browsers presented there is actually fairly well made, I'm impressed.

I expected something on the order of current IE8 accelerator choices. I think this is actually a pretty fair choice screen, though I doubt this will shift marketshare one way or the other.

The vast majority of users will just click on the icon that they already use (IE users will hit IE, FF will click FF, but in same percentages as are now.
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post #21 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

Apple and MS have a nice financial relationship. what a way to show it off

Other than selling Microsoft Office, what kind of relationship are you referring to?

Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple in 1997 ±. Is that it?
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post #22 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

Such a big list. It could certainly cause confusion to people in Florida.

Are you trying to make me CRY?
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post #23 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

Other than selling Microsoft Office, what kind of relationship are you referring to?

Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple in 1997 ±. Is that it?

It was actually part of a settelement, and MS was wise to take it.
post #24 of 74
While I don't get why Safari is first in Alphabetical order, it's not called 'Apple's Safari', I also don't get the complaint of Firefox. Firefox is a well known browser so stop whining.
post #25 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

She should just convince Mozilla to change the name of Firefox to Aardvark and then keep quiet!

Firefox is not the name that needs changing. It's Mozilla

Apple's "Safari" to Google's "Chrome" to Microsofts IE8, to Mozilla's Firefox...

It's the company name that is alphabetically arranged not the browser name... Otherwise, Firefox that begins with a "F" beats Safari that begins with a "S".

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post #26 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

It was actually part of a settelement, and MS was wise to take it.

A 12 year old deal that MS made to try and get the Department of Justice off their backs, can hardly be categorized as a "financial relationship" at this point in time.
Besides, I believe that "deal" expired after 5 years.
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post #27 of 74
What moron would pick either the first one or the one they're most familiar with when the list is only 5 long? They'll actually be more likely to pick Firefox than Safari because that's the browser that everyone always talks about on the web as being best.

I bet Mozilla would have preferred alphabetically by browser name to put Firefox first rather than alphabetically by company name or by market share. Yeah, a list that's so long, a person can't look at all those choices! They just pick the first one!

To bad the installer files don't come included with the OS, and too bad the screen doesn't just let you check all the ones you want to install though. I noticed the screen is displayed within Internet Explorer rather than a system window. So much for choice.
post #28 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

A 12 year old deal that MS made to try and get the Department of Justice off their backs, can hardly be categorized as a "financial relationship" at this point in time.
Besides, I believe that "deal" expired after 5 years.

Indeed.
post #29 of 74
At first I pictured a vertical listing of browsers, using a radio button control, with safari pre-selected. I thought, "ok, I guess this guy has a point, even though it is a very weak point."

Then I see the real selection box! It isn't even worth me typing this very sentence about. How absurd for someone to complain. I wonder if the "Firefox dude" even saw the presentation before whining.
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post #30 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

Firefox is not the name that needs changing. It's Mozilla

Apple's "Safari" to Google's "Chrome" to Microsofts IE8, to Mozilla's Firefox...

It's the company name that is alphabetically arranged not the browser name... Otherwise, Firefox that begins with a "F" beats Safari that begins with a "S".

Yes, but had I not overlooked that, the joke wouldn't really have worked would it?
post #31 of 74
post #32 of 74
0.81% still using Netscape!
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post #33 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

Such a big list. It could certainly cause confusion to people in Florida.

Oh Snap that was good.
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post #34 of 74
Yeah this is a clear case of whining because they aren't first. If they were, they wouldn't be claiming it should be randomized. I would agree it should be random to be a fair system but that would mean IE has an equal chance of being chosen and we don't want that.

Mozilla are just sad because they put so much effort into marketing Firefox and Apple get a decent boost for free. Out of all of them, Safari is probably the one Microsoft mind the least because it's the only one not on Linux and it doesn't really affect Apple if people use it or not.

I'd personally like to see Safari move up to Firefox's share because Apple have done a genuinely good job with it and improved the web experience and they deserve more recognition for it. Firefox is so bloated and I don't like to see it become another de facto standard where developers ignore other browsers like on eBay for example.
post #35 of 74
FF should stop whining. They're all right there in your face to pick and choose from. You can try all if you want. Shhhheeeesssssh!
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post #36 of 74
I don't think a horizontal list "first" position is the same as a vertical list first position (like the voting ballot example). I don't think there's that much advantage. You might argue the IE had the greater advantage... being smack dab in the middle of the screen. Anyway... who cares.
post #37 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

Anyway... who cares.

Comfortably the most intelligent point here!
post #38 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

A 12 year old deal that MS made to try and get the Department of Justice off their backs, can hardly be categorized as a "financial relationship" at this point in time.
Besides, I believe that "deal" expired after 5 years.

The calculation of what those Apple shares would be worth today (if Microsoft had held on to them) is left as an exercise for the reader.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

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post #39 of 74
...lol. Who cares about the order of the Ballot? If they don't like it, why not make a random order each time you visit, or change the order every week/month?
post #40 of 74
I find it ironic that the browser ballot is presented in the form of a web page. In order to display the web page to the user, there has to be a web browser physically present on the computer system. The web browser used for this job is, you guessed it, Microsoft Internet Explorer.

So Microsoft is still bundling IE with Windows. It's just that the user is given a more in-your-face option to add additional web browsers, to conveniently pick a different default web browser, and to "turn off" Internet Explorer if they wish.

(Exactly what they mean by "turn off" is a nebulous issue...)

Personally, I don't have any philosophical problem with that decision. There are practical reasons why Microsoft may want, or even need, to have internal control over its own HTML rendering subsystem for its own internal uses, even if it is never activated for any reason other than to access the Windows Update website.

However, I'm not sure if this solution strictly complies with what the EU regulators had originally asked Microsoft to do -- ie don't include IE with Windows at all by default. Fortunately, the EU regulators seem to have appreciated that the request they had originally made might have been poorly thought out, and perhaps unreasonably harsh. Maybe they recognize that this solution, while not living up to the strictest interpretation of the letter of their original request, is a more satisfactory solution to the spirit under which the request was made.
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