Microsoft begins IE8 advertising blitz in the UK as browser choice arrives

Microsoft has begun airing several Internet Explorer 8 TV adverts in the UK just in time for the browser "ballot" choice screen.

European copies of Windows began receiving a Windows Update for the controversial browser choice screen this week. The choice screen offers Internet Explorer users a selection of other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google's Chrome browser. The browser ballot screen software update is offered as an automatic download through Windows Update for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users. Users who currently have Internet Explorer selected as the default browser will see an introductory screen providing them with information about the update before being prompted to make a browser choice.

Microsoft has kick started an advertising blitz on UK TV stations to raise awareness of Internet Explorer 8 through what it calls "8 second demos". The demos show the new features of Internet Explorer 8 and feature the big blue E logo of Internet Explorer. Google recently started an advertising campaign across various parts of the UK with tube, billboard and newspaper advertising. The reason both parties are advertising free software is to gain the mind share of users in time for the browser choice ballot screen. The update will affect as many as 195 million people in 32 European countries so it's well worth both Microsoft's and Google's advertising revenue.

In July 2009, Microsoft proposed a ballot screen to allow users to pick their default browser in Windows XP, Vista and 7. The European Commission accepted Microsoft's plans in December 2009 after the software giant agreed to randomize the ballot screen due to several complaintsfrom rival software companies. The agreement marked the end of the "browser wars" after Opera originally filed a complaint with the EU in 2007. The European Union originally accused Microsoft of anti-trust violations back in January 2009.

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63 Comments

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So after all is said and done, the customer gets exactly the same choice and freedom they always had plus a nag screen just to be sure they understand that freedom. Time and money well spent by all involved for sure.

I wish the EU themselves would give us a choice as I certainly wouldn't go for them. All run by the French and Germans with the UK being the laughing stock that actually is stupid enough to think that we need to adhere to EU rules. Come on - allow us to not click on EU.

Only reason this happened was to bolster their stupid finances.

And the danger with this screen is that some people might choose Opera or 1984 (sorry I mean Chrome).

JonathanE said,
I wish the EU themselves would give us a choice as I certainly wouldn't go for them. All run by the French and Germans with the UK being the laughing stock that actually is stupid enough to think that we need to adhere to EU rules. Come on - allow us to not click on EU.
Xenophobia is fun! I don't think you realise quite how many special clauses the UK gets in the EU rules ... or indeed, how it is formed, elected or run.

But hey, ignorance is bliss, eh?

JonathanE said,
I wish the EU themselves would give us a choice as I certainly wouldn't go for them. All run by the French and Germans with the UK being the laughing stock that actually is stupid enough to think that we need to adhere to EU rules. Come on - allow us to not click on EU.

Only reason this happened was to bolster their stupid finances.

And the danger with this screen is that some people might choose Opera or 1984 (sorry I mean Chrome).


Did you forget the Labour Gov "promised" a vote on the Lisbon Treaty. I wonder where that promise went ..

Magpie said,
Did you forget the Labour Gov "promised" a vote on the Lisbon Treaty. I wonder where that promise went ..
This is utterly and completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.

Edited by Kirkburn, Mar 3 2010, 3:28pm :

and the default search engine in IE is..........oh yes bada BING, have some of the EU critics failed to remember a rather important fact ?

iamwhoiam said,
and the default search engine in the other browsers are what? so what's your point?

Go back a bit and try to remember why the EU wanted an option(s) for other browsers, have you really forgot the origin of why? Do you want me to dig up the reasons or could you do it yourself, as I work there I,m sure I could find the 1,000+ pages or you just google European Commission and have hours of fun reading (not)

Magpie said,
Go back a bit and try to remember why the EU wanted an option(s) for other browsers, have you really forgot the origin of why? Do you want me to dig up the reasons or could you do it yourself, as I work there I,m sure I could find the 1,000+ pages or you just google European Commission and have hours of fun reading (not)
No, just summarize it here.

Search engines in all browsers are easily and quickly switchable. IE even has a built in search engine chooser link.

Edited by Kirkburn, Mar 3 2010, 2:22pm :

Kirkburn said,
No, just summarize it here.

Search engines in all browsers are easily and quickly switchable. IE even has a built in search engine chooser link.

OK very quickly...
17 September 2007.... In a complaint by Opera, a competing browser vendor...
alleges that there is ongoing competitive harm from Microsoft's practices, in particular in view of new proprietary technologies that Microsoft has allegedly introduced in its browser that would reduce compatibility with open internet standards, and therefore hinder competition. In addition, allegations of tying of other separate software products by Microsoft, including desktop search and Windows Live have been brought to the Commission's attention.
As you can see it was not the EU that went after MS initialy but a complaint from Opera.
You remember now or would like a link to some of the commission documents, it's there for all to read, nothing hidden from jo public.

How utterly irrelevant. That has nothing to do with search engines, nor is the party that brought up the complaint particularly relevant. The EU made the decision, not the complainant.

Kirkburn said,
How utterly irrelevant. That has nothing to do with search engines, nor is the party that brought up the complaint particularly relevant. The EU made the decision, not the complainant.

Sheesh, the EU acted on a complaint, found it valid and hence the browser ballot (which MS proposed) if the complaint was not true why did MS not prove it ? You can't say they don't have the money or the lawyers.
Also for the last time IE = (browser) default search engine = (bing) clicks = $$$$
you gedit now..probably not, but don't forget to vote or you might not like another person choice.. :D

Magpie said,
<snip>
I'm very confused. Do you think I'm strongly against the browser ballot, or have problems with the original complaint being brought up? I'm not, and I don't.

Has anyone pointed this out yet, you ONLY get the ballot if IE is the default. Why shouldn't you still get it if you have FF or Chrome as your default? Isn't that only fair? Everyone wants to beat the "choice" drum, but we should only be forced to have choice when it's MS products and not everyone else? What sorta twisted hypocritical BS is that?

because you have already made your 'choice' by consciously downloading and installing a new browser, I guess?

GP007 said,
Has anyone pointed this out yet, you ONLY get the ballot if IE is the default. Why shouldn't you still get it if you have FF or Chrome as your default? Isn't that only fair? Everyone wants to beat the "choice" drum, but we should only be forced to have choice when it's MS products and not everyone else? What sorta twisted hypocritical BS is that?
*sigh* the issue is with IE market dominance, not other browsers. Y'know, IE ... the one supplied with your PC. Unlike the other browsers.

Ecion said,
because you have already made your 'choice' by consciously downloading and installing a new browser, I guess?
You could say the same when consciously going in to a store to buy a Windows computer.

My virtual machine (XP Pro x86) already got this when I did an update last week.

Not got it on Windows 7 Professional x64 yet.

The only browser that I have not installed is Safari so maybe I won't get the ballot.

leesmithg said,
My virtual machine (XP Pro x86) already got this when I did an update last week.

Not got it on Windows 7 Professional x64 yet.

The only browser that I have not installed is Safari so maybe I won't get the ballot.

It depends on what browser you have set as your default. Only users that have IE set as default will see the ballot screen. Firefox is my default browser on all my home and work PCs, so I won't get to see it.

Majesticmerc said,

It depends on what browser you have set as your default. Only users that have IE set as default will see the ballot screen. Firefox is my default browser on all my home and work PCs, so I won't get to see it.

IE 8 is my default.

I hope that those on FF, Opera, Google etc get the same ballot, only makes things equal.

Sadelwo said,
Most people will still click the "big E" out of familiarity. But choice is always a good thing.
They still click it if they've been using for long time and since it was bundled , well, they'll click it. Yup, this gives choice at least.

¿Why web developers still accomplish to the standards of a browser that has so many flaws and its bad designed since its beginning (Activex)?. (I'm not a hater of IE, you know its true). They should not opt to create code by the browser of major market but for the common use of the Internet, for the advancement of technologies and implementations due to what people need not for what companies need. (MS).

Mocosoft said,
¿Why web developers still accomplish to the standards of a browser that has so many flaws and its bad designed since its beginning (Activex)?. (I'm not a hater of IE, you know its true). They should not opt to create code by the browser of major market but for the common use of the Internet, for the advancement of technologies and implementations due to what people need not for what companies need. (MS).

You are a troll with bad English. Your claims are false.
ActiveX is no different from Firefox's add-ons/plugins. Firefox is very vulnerable because of them. There were even trojans that stole bank credentials in add-ons downloaded from addons.mozilla.com.

Edited by RealFduch, Mar 3 2010, 12:17pm :

hotdog963al said,
Why would you *switch* to IE8, I'd say pretty much all of it's users use it because it was pre-installed with their OS :/
The effect of the browser choice popup is to ask you to switch to IE8, or not switch away from it - it's not the "default" choice.

hotdog963al said,
Why would you *switch* to IE8, I'd say pretty much all of it's users use it because it was pre-installed with their OS :/

but as of now there is no default

hotdog963al said,
Why would you *switch* to IE8, I'd say pretty much all of it's users use it because it was pre-installed with their OS :/

actually i use it because i enjoy it and dont use anything else because i dont want to not because i dont know about them.

tablet_user said,

actually i use it because i enjoy it and dont use anything else because i dont want to not because i dont know about them.

I'm with you, I use IE8 because I like it better, I've installed the others from time to time, still have some installed right now, but I don't use them. I like IE8, and I hope MS has a CTP for IE9 at MiX I can download.

hotdog963al said,
Why would you *switch* to IE8, I'd say pretty much all of it's users use it because it was pre-installed with their OS :/

The Article said,
Users who currently have Internet Explorer selected as the default browser will see an introductory screen providing them with information about the update before being prompted to make a browser choice.

So people who currently dont have IE as default wont see it, so wont be switching back. only current IE users will see it, therefore they have the choice to stick with it or switch to something else.

HalcyonX12 said,
I'm wondering how IE makes Microsoft enough money to justify such a campaign?
The amount of money an individual department makes doesn't specifically define its budget.

They should have just used the IE8 videos here http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/videos.aspx

Tom W said,
How long till the EU says they gotta advertise Firefox and Chrome ;)
And OpenOffice, and OSX.

I swear if the EU said they were gonna do it, I wouldn't even be surprised anymore.

Tom W said,
How long till the EU says they gotta advertise Firefox and Chrome ;)

How long till a browser-article without the same old anti-EU rants/jokes we read A THOUSAND TIMES before.

dr_crabman said,

How long till a browser-article without the same old anti-EU rants/jokes we read A THOUSAND TIMES before.

Oh noes EU discussion in a topic that only exists because of the EU whatever next?
/sarc

Mike Chipshop said,

Oh noes EU discussion in a topic that only exists because of the EU whatever next?
/sarc

If only it was a discussion....

dr_crabman said,

If only it was a discussion....


Haha, so true about those one-liner "jokes" on EU.

I find the EU stuff frustrating by itself, and now we have to deal with tired jokes too!

Anyway, if IE is a good browser, MS should have nothing to worry about, as for this and EU.

Edited by Northgrove, Mar 3 2010, 8:55am :

Northgrove said,

Haha, so true about those one-liner "jokes" on EU.

I find the EU stuff frustrating by itself, and now we have to deal with tired jokes too!

Anyway, if IE is a good browser, MS should have nothing to worry about, as for this and EU.


Maybe EU should stop their bad "jokes"?