Mozilla: Millions of Firefox downloads lost due to MS browser ballot flaw

Microsoft has admitted that, for a sixteen month period that ended in 2012, 28 million Windows 7 Service Pack 1 PCs did not display the required web browser menu in Europe. Microsoft agreed to present such a menu to users in the European Union in 2009. The EU will likely fine Microsoft for this breach of the agreement.

This week, the head lawyer for Mozilla claims that its Firefox web browser 'lost' a significant number of downloads due to Microsoft's menu issue. In a post on his blog, Harvey Anderson, Mozilla's general counsel, claims that " ... daily Firefox downloads decreased by 63% to a low of 20,000 ... " before Microsoft restored the menu.

After the browser ballot was reinstated, Anderson says that daily downloads of Firefox increased to 50,000 a day, adding, "Cumulatively 6 to 9 million Firefox browser downloads were lost during this period."

Microsoft has said that the missing web browser menu was simply a technical glitch. However, the EU might decide that this software issue will be more than enough of an excuse to go after Microsoft with a large fine. There's no word on when the EU might make its final decision in this case.

Via: Computerworld.com
Source: Harvey Anderson's blog | Image via Microsoft

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If the EU tries to enforce this with a fine again, Microsoft should just tell the EU that they're going to pull out of the market altogether. I'd love to see how quickly every business in Europe starts complaining to the EU to reverse its decision because it provoked the maker of the OS powering 90% of their PCs to leave the continent, leaving those businesses with no practical way to buy new computers or upgrade if they're running XP. It's not like everyone would/could jump to Mac and Linux overnight. As unlikely as this would be to happen, a move like that would certainly show the EU how absurd and ridiculous people in their own market think these browser ballots and "N" versions of Windows are.

So when I buy a new ipad, my does safari come preinstalled. I want IE for the ipad. It's is the most ridiculous ruling ever, it's like saying that when you buy a new ford car they have to give you a choice of what brand of engine it runs.

ArialBlue said,
The looser complains, accuses the winner of cheating.

I read the blog post. It doesn't look like a complaint to me, just a calm statement of the facts.

Josh the Nerd said,

I read the blog post. It doesn't look like a complaint to me, just a calm statement of the facts.


Millions of users that don't care.
Seriously, if a user will not bother downloading Firefox unless it is on a ballot (read: Communist) screen, that user doesn't give a **** about Firefox in the first place - that user is fully content with using IE9/10.

when I download latest version of Firefox, but still slow. I tested speed for internet, and I see Firefox is very slow than IE 9 on Windows Vista here in USA. Flash player doesn't work with Firefox on any of Windows Vista, 7 and 8.

gameboy1977 said,
when I download latest version of Firefox, but still slow. I tested speed for internet, and I see Firefox is very slow than IE 9 on Windows Vista here in USA. Flash player doesn't work with Firefox on any of Windows Vista, 7 and 8.
You do understand that Firefox requires a separate flash player from Internet Explorer.

I used Firefox a lot in Windows 7, because so many websites crashed with IE9. Since moving to Windows 8, I installed Chrome but not Firefox and because of this carp I won't be anymore. I also removed it from my Galaxy S III and will only use the native browser and Chrome.

I am not down with the Fox anymore. I don't need to tell you how stupid this is, I will simply show you by not using your crap. Once I upgrade my desktop to Windows 8, Firefox will be banded from computers.

Firefox just joined my lists of apps/software company's I will no longer support. Along with Apple, Sun Microsystem since being bought by Oracle, Oracle and the list is growing. I am support Microsoft, Google and Samsung against all the other haters in this industry.

After all the other things that Microsoft has done, over its existence, with prejudice, against Netscape, Firefox, Google, WordPerfect, and more than a few others...

Somehow, 'that the missing web browser menu was simply a technical glitch' ...
about as much as I believe that the nations employment is up since Mr. Bush left office...

(and that is 'not one 'effing' bit' )

I used to live through such blatant 'doubleplusungood' fabrications. I live with Linux in a life free of Microsoft and its blasting my system out of the water while ignoring KNOWN bugs for decades....

I wish all users of Windows 8, and Microsoft's new attempt at phones, well, and that they enjoy great security, service and peace of mind...

I wish Microsoft did the same

meh i dropped firefox also because they went to **** and so what if u have to use ie to install another browser =]

If Mozilla kept this kind of "well-behaved, well-respected" attitude [sarcasm mode on], surely they are destined to a failure...

This is so lame.... "we lost millions of downloads because our competitor, Microsoft, failed to promote us in their products, and customers didn't bother to come to our website and download Firefox themselves. Please EU help us get money from Microsoft for the lost free downloads"

I guess for Mozilla and Opera it is far more profitable to sue Microsoft than to provide a free browser.

Nothing to do with the Browser Ballot. Firefox users have been switching to Chome in massive quantities over the past two years. This timeframe just happens to coincide with that. The fact that Chrome didn't experience a similar drop in downloads during this time just confirms that Mozilla is whining about nothing.

Calm down it`s not your money and it`s not like Microsoft can`t afford it I`m not on anyones side and have also noticed on many many installs the browser choice screen didn`t appear.
Look at it this way. If you ran company X and someone said company Y didn`t do this as they were supposed to. Would you say "nah we didn`t lose anything" and we certainly don`t wan`t any free money? It is Mozilla`s head lawyer making this statement after all
Use whatever browser suits you.

You lost millions because you have a piece of **** browser. Build a better browser and you won't have to have Microsoft give you free advertisement.

Simon- said,
I thought that it was just Opera moaning about the browser ballot, my respect for Mozilla has gone down because of this.

They all cry at some point in time.


hagjohn said,
You lost millions because you have a piece of **** browser. Build a better browser and you won't have to have Microsoft give you free advertisement.

Build a better browser. Come on, Firefox was the #1 browser of just about everyone on this forum, just not to long ago.

cork1958 said,
Build a better browser. Come on, Firefox was the #1 browser of just about everyone on this forum, just not to long ago.

Yes. Then the competition came out with, better browsers.

deadonthefloor said,

Yes. Then the competition came out with, better browsers.

Like most people, they took the matter into their own hands and downloaded their selected browser rather than needing some pathetic ballot dialogue box.

This ruling is just pointless.

I thought that it was just Opera moaning about the browser ballot, my respect for Mozilla has gone down because of this.

Mozilla Firefox is a OK browser that is the first thing. ^^

The Ballot Screen is a joke and so is the EU Council. For example: You Buy a Car for 10k Euro and up... And have to use the Standard Stearingweel from Audi BMW and so on... You cant mix them by choice.

What i want to come to is. That this is a MS Product and youll Buy this Product. So take it and leave it.... IE is so much more in Windows. That a third Party Bowser never is....

The IE Components have Intranet - LAN Access Policies... Safe Zones... AD GPO... these are powerfull tools and they come with the package. Other OS Companies dont even come close to usability and network integration....

So for MS to get rid of IE theyll need to make a Browser free EU Edition. That means that all fileaccess code needs to be rewritten.... and how do you install a third party with no Browser to begin with....

Best regards Val.

Mozilla's problem isn't the ballot box, it's that they've been bleeding users over to Chrome and a tiny bit to IE9, soon IE10 as well. They know this, and it's why they decided to shift over to Chromes rapid development cycle to try and hold on. I think at this point they should just come to terms with the fact that they'll be the #3 browser at this point.

I get the idea behind the ballot, but enough is enough. I know people need to be educated in other products. But as in most cases with other products they advertise to get there name known in the minds of the masses. Why is it that browsers are different in this respect. I have tried all the other browsers and to be honest I prefer IE, that's my choice.

so Mozilla pulls an opera and starts to bitch when things go south... and really, i started to sympathize with the co. for some time; if they'd jumped ship and stopped being google's dog on leash when they were considering it a few years back chrome wouldn't be eating up their market share at the speed of light

Tell me something ........Does Google do a "Ballot" on its smartphones in Europe, so as to allow other companies other than itself to supply a browser on Android phones??

Caveman-ugh said,
So I'm not the only one who thinks that the EU is getting money for NOTHING !!!

If MS wants to operate and profit from customers inside the EU it has to play by the local and national regulations, if they don't like it tough.

Instead of bitching about Firefox download issues fix your nation your stupid idiots! EU is a joke instead of going after the corrupted that have stolen millions of dollars and Euros they complain about a broswer selection.

shadodemon said,
Instead of bitching about Firefox download issues fix your nation your stupid idiots! EU is a joke instead of going after the corrupted that have stolen millions of dollars and Euros they complain about a broswer selection.

A joke huh
So far we're doing it better then the US economically, even militairy we're stronger.
And our advantage lays in the eastern and southern europe which are/will be rising nations ... so just wait untill they gained up to north/west europe .... and we're already ahead.

Im glad EU does get involved in these cases, this browser ballot war with the EU started when IE was still at ~ 90% marketshare. EU been really slow on this case, but at least they're trying to protect us citizens from dominating monopolies.

Shadowzz said,

A joke huh
So far we're doing it better then the US economically, even militairy we're stronger.
And our advantage lays in the eastern and southern europe which are/will be rising nations ... so just wait untill they gained up to north/west europe .... and we're already ahead.

Im glad EU does get involved in these cases, this browser ballot war with the EU started when IE was still at ~ 90% marketshare. EU been really slow on this case, but at least they're trying to protect us citizens from dominating monopolies.

Internet Explorer is a monopoly? HAHAHAHAHA. How many web browsers exist for Windows? Are you so lazy as to say even though we know Opera is made in our country, we are to lazy to download it. We want it presented on a menu?

If your car comes with everything u need when you buy it, you keep what's inside. if you fine something u don't like u replace it. You don't go bitchen to the government saying the tires on the car is a brand we don't like, we want u to force them to use our crappy brand of tires instead.

Any EU citizen who backs the EU on this is just totally out of touch with life.
If you losers actually made a better product, IE wouldn't be an issue. Opera is the crappiest browser I ever used until Safari showed up.

shadodemon said,
Instead of bitching about Firefox download issues fix your nation your stupid idiots! EU is a joke instead of going after the corrupted that have stolen millions of dollars and Euros they complain about a broswer selection.

whos the idiot? EU citizens, or YOU for thinking the EU is a nation......go google what EU is abbreviated for (tip, itll give you a clue) European Union (aka nationS of europe as 1 market, thats like me saying all people in America/Canada are idiots.......after all your the same land mass......

Shadowzz said,
EU been really slow on this case, but at least they're trying to protect us citizens from dominating monopolies.

Monopoly is when you have no options. You forced to be a customer of the only available option.

IE is not a monopoly, because you are not forced to use it. You can download and install any other browser.

Can't you just say Firefox isn't needed for those who don't get this choice? IE or some other browser (heard from, advised to use) will do just fine?

Uh huh sure. Why is it then that in the same period Chrome usage increased without a ballot?

Oh is it because FF now sucks? Nah lets just blame MS for it.

Edited by -Razorfold, Nov 1 2012, 6:53am :

You can't honestly think that's fair. Mozilla's only real product is Firefox. Microsoft has the advantage of shipping their browser on 90% of the world's computers. Google has the advantage of being the homepage for about the same number of people.

Simon said,
You can't honestly think that's fair. Mozilla's only real product is Firefox. Microsoft has the advantage of shipping their browser on 90% of the world's computers. Google has the advantage of being the homepage for about the same number of people.

So Microsoft spends millions on TV and internet ads to promote IE, and so does Google. But Firefox relies upon Microsoft for free advertising, and when that advertising is not good enough for them, they want more, and that is fair? If I recall, Mozilla makes millions from Google for defaulting to Google search. Why not spend a little of that cash, and run some TV ads to get their numbers up? Or is it just easier to whine to governments to force Microsoft to do their advertising for them?

-Razorfold said,
Uh huh sure. Why is it then that in the same period Chrome usage increased without a ballot?

Oh is it because FF now sucks? Nah lets just blame MS for it.


Its funny, cause most of the Chrome users are former Firefox users.
IE is still at 60% ish marketshare, FF used to be 40% ish marketshare. Now both FF and Chrome are on 20ish % marketshare and IE is still at/around 60ish %...
In my opinion, Mozilla is barking up the wrong tree.

nohone said,

So Microsoft spends millions on TV and internet ads to promote IE, and so does Google. But Firefox relies upon Microsoft for free advertising, and when that advertising is not good enough for them, they want more, and that is fair? If I recall, Mozilla makes millions from Google for defaulting to Google search. Why not spend a little of that cash, and run some TV ads to get their numbers up? Or is it just easier to whine to governments to force Microsoft to do their advertising for them?

Spending a few million on advertising is a lot easier when you have billions of dollars. I also highly doubt those ads do much for them at all.

Simon said,
Spending a few million on advertising is a lot easier when you have billions of dollars. I also highly doubt those ads do much for them at all.

Mozilla isn't some poor company that has no money. They bring in $150 million every year, mostly from Google (I think they get paid $80 million to set their start page as google.com).

Chrome didn't need a browser ballot to increase their marketshare. If you make a good product, people will use it. Firefox was good for a long time but then things started going downhill (and they decided they needed to release 5 million versions in a year) and that's when people started jumping ship.

Revenue != disposable income. And they can't release much more than Google Chrome does, and they're doing just fine, as you said.

I know Firefox has made some mistakes, but this notion that they can spend their way out of a hole is just completely unbased in facts. They're a successful company, but they have nowhere near the marketing budgets that Microsoft and Google have - and there's no way you can dispute that. They have employees to take care of with that $150 million, and they have R&D to do. Not to mention the marketing they actually do - they have ads around on the Internet.

They're a successful company, but they have nowhere near the marketing budgets that Microsoft and Google have - and there's no way you can dispute that.

Yes but Google, Microsoft etc all have tons of other products to market as well as their browsers.

And it's not that people don't know what firefox is. They know what it is, they know that it exists but more and more people are moving away from it. Back in november 2009 FF hit its peak of 32% browser marketshare (statcounter only goes back to october 2008). Since then it's gone downhill to a current 22%. IE and Chrome ads only started this year (apart from advertising online but FF does that as well as word of mouth).

crying because Microsoft didn't offer a menu to download firefox for specific amount of time last time i check Firefox isn't MS product this menu shouldn't even exist in the first place

badmouse said,
Firefox is slowly turning into the next netscape and they know it.

I loved me some netscape back in the day. It fell to the wayside though. Nothing lasts forever ... except for Keith Richards.

Shiranui said,
You mean turning BACK into netscape.

He's still right.

Netscape is a good example of failure.
Mozilla would be the next (example of failure just like Netscape = the next Netscape)...

The_Decryptor said,
Mozilla aren't relying on Microsoft to advertise Firefox.

Neither are Google or Opera (or the other browsers listed on the ballot)


Well according to this news message, Mozilla is surely relying on the browser ballot for a part of its users.

The_Decryptor said,
Mozilla aren't relying on Microsoft to advertise Firefox.

Neither are Google or Opera (or the other browsers listed on the ballot)

They clearly are, as downloads dropped over 60% without Microsofts free advertising.

Sub_Zero_Alchemist said,

Mozilla doesn't need them to.


Then why Mozilla is bitching? Please go and ask them to spend their own money for advertising instead of leeching from MS.

Sub_Zero_Alchemist said,

Mozilla doesn't need them to.

I can't tell. When Microsoft didn't advertise the browser less people downloaded it. As soon as they started too, more people downloaded it. The numbers are right there in the paragraph. MS didn't need to do that here in the USA, because people in the USA are smarter than our English speaking European counterparts. That's why we left you dummies and formed out own country. Even tho MS had some lawsuits here, people here don't complain about what browser is being downloaded the most times. The US didn't fine integrating IE, WMP and other stuff to me an issue. Those features are designed to support the capabilities of the OS. Having it preinstalled by default in my opinion doesn't offer any advantage. Its software. if you don't like what your PC came with, you use another application. Its that simple.

Tomorrow I am going to get the US to sue GM since they sell the most cars as a whole here in the states for American made cars and ell them the radio in the dash needs to be fixed so that 10 different radios are into the dash and I get to choose the one I want. Same goes for tires, colors, seats, battery and every other component I have to have direct interaction with.

Just trying to show u how stupid this whole thing is. The EU is not logical at all.
If I owned Microsoft I'd pull Windows of your continent and let you all suffer until you get Linux to do the things Windows already does and lets see how you all fair.

Just a bunch of ungrateful losers. Make you own OS.

Edited by Hi_XPecTa_Chens, Nov 1 2012, 3:29pm :

dead.cell said,
When Mozilla just got done sending them a cake, hah.

Mozilla sent the cake to Microsoft's IE team - not the team responsible for the Browser Ballot screen! ...so Mozilla's Firefox Team will continue to send cakes to Microsoft's IE team upon new major browser releases, just as Microsoft's IE team will continue to send cakes to Mozilla's Firefox team upon their major browser releases. The Browser Ballot screen is nothing to do with either of these teams!!

auziez said,
Really, the EU is a joke for this whole browser ballot issue

Because the EU responded after years of a whole array of companies complaining about this?
Even though I am also not behind the EU on this matter, its not just the EU to blame, its companies like Mozilla who continually cry and cry. Even though they've been losing market share not to IE, but mainly to Chrome users.
But keep crying Mozilla, keep losing my respect.

auziez said,
Really, the EU is a joke for this whole browser ballot issue

I think the EU should force Google to first display a "Select a search provider" showing all their competitors before allowing you to get a search bar. Same dynamics, equally ridiculous....

FlawedBlake said,

I think the EU should force Google to first display a "Select a search provider" showing all their competitors before allowing you to get a search bar. Same dynamics, equally ridiculous....


That may work if Google was selling their browser and it was installed by default.
To get Chrome you need to download and install it first, willingly.
When you buy a PC with Windows, you don't need to install IE, it's there by default and you need to use it to be able to download another browser (only very few Windows users know how to download a browser from the command line directly).

LAMj said,
Well well well, that cake didn't last too long

Mozilla: Here's a cake in advance for what we're about to do...

a0me said,

That may work if Google was selling their browser and it was installed by default.
To get Chrome you need to download and install it first, willingly.
When you buy a PC with Windows, you don't need to install IE, it's there by default and you need to use it to be able to download another browser (only very few Windows users know how to download a browser from the command line directly).

So if I buy a Chromebook, where I need to buy a Google OS, that only runs a Google browser that is installed by default without choice, and I need to pay Google a monthly fee to use their, and only their services, that is not a problem?

What few people know is that the DOJ lawsuit against Microsoft was very narrow. Microsoft was considered a monopoly on only systems that were built to specifically run Windows. Mac was excluded as a competitor as well as other machine specific OSes (Cray, Next, etc.) because they were not built to run Windows. By those standards, Google has a monopoly on Google specific machines such as the Chromebook. Apple has a monopoly on Apple specific machines, such as the Mac, iPhone, iTouch, iPad, iPad Mini, Apple TV, and so on. Now some could say that Apple are the only ones that sells Apple hardware, and you need to buy the OS with it, and I could understand that. But multiple manufacturers other than Google sell Chromebooks, so Google is forcing users into their ecosystem without choice, and have a monopoly on their specific types of computers in the same way that Microsoft was convicted of a monopoly on only Windows specific computers.

Of course, if you mention that Apple forces people to use their OS, their browser, their mail program, etc. then people will start screaming that it is their (Apple's)software/hardware, and they can do what they want to with it. But when the tables are turned, then people start with the Braveheart-esque "FREEDOM!!!!" scream to be unshackled from Microsoft "tyranny" but love that Apple and Google control not only their hardware/software, but also the data that is stored on the servers of those companies, even praising that software is reading and scanning their personal information to feed ads but condemning Microsoft for even the rumor that they may be doing the same, when they don't.

nohone said,
So if I buy a Chromebook, where I need to buy a Google OS, ....

Windows has about 95% of the PC market. Apple has something like 5% and Chromebook have what 0.01%?

Once the last two get anywhere near the position that Microsoft is in, we'll see what the EU and the DOJ do.

Until then, it's apples and oranges.

a0me said,

Windows has about 95% of the PC market. Apple has something like 5% and Chromebook have what 0.01%?

Once the last two get anywhere near the position that Microsoft is in, we'll see what the EU and the DOJ do.

Until then, it's apples and oranges.


Why are smartphones never included in the computer marketshares? its all they are, little pocket computers.

a0me said,

Windows has about 95% of the PC market. Apple has something like 5% ...

That 5% number is pretty dated. Apple broke through the double digit barrier years ago. If you were to actually look around you -- go to a library, any college campus, check out a local coffee shop -- and you'll see a lot of Macs. (I'm leaving out tablets even.) Large corporate places are still pretty MS-centric but a lot of small businesses I contract with have become much, much more mixed platform now.

a0me said,

Windows has about 95% of the PC market. Apple has something like 5% and Chromebook have what 0.01%?

Once the last two get anywhere near the position that Microsoft is in, we'll see what the EU and the DOJ do.

Until then, it's apples and oranges.

That is the point of what I wrote - the DOJ trial was because Microsoft had 100% of the market designed to run Windows. Apple has 100% of the market to run OSX, 100% of the market of devices to run iOS, Google has 100% of the market to run Chromebook.

But even if you were to look at the individual device category, Apple has a very large share of the MP3 market. Sure, you hear of some random player here and there, but the market is dominated by iPod. And Apple bundles their browser on those devices, they bundle their market place into it and force you to buy apps only from them when they take a cut. They only allow syncing with iTunes, have specifically disabled using iTunes to sync with other devices, and bundle their music store with iTunes and devices while signing exclusive deals that disallow other market places from selling certain products (Beatles).

Actually, I have no problem with this. But if you are going to sue one company for having a large market share, bundling, excluding others from the a fair shot at products, and controlling a specific device category, then you need to do the same to other companies.

Ed Vim said,

That 5% number is pretty dated. Apple broke through the double digit barrier years ago. If you were to actually look around you -- go to a library, any college campus, check out a local coffee shop -- and you'll see a lot of Macs. (I'm leaving out tablets even.) Large corporate places are still pretty MS-centric but a lot of small businesses I contract with have become much, much more mixed platform now.

Actually the 5% figure is correct. That's WorldWide marketshare for Apple. US share is something like 12%.

LAMj said,
Well well well, that cake didn't last too long

Let's remember though that the cake was sent to a team within Microsoft - specifically their IE team... and Microsoft's IE team are not responsible for, and have nothing to do with Microsoft's Browser Ballot screen! ....so your cake point is kind irrelevant!

auziez said,
Really, the EU is a joke for this whole browser ballot issue
Thank you. Someone else who thinks the EU is drastically overstepping their bounds.

Shadowzz said,

Because the EU responded after years of a whole array of companies complaining about this?
Even though I am also not behind the EU on this matter, its not just the EU to blame, its companies like Mozilla who continually cry and cry. Even though they've been losing market share not to IE, but mainly to Chrome users.
But keep crying Mozilla, keep losing my respect.

To be fair, both Mozilla and EU are responsible for this non-sense...

a0me said,

That may work if Google was selling their browser and it was installed by default.
To get Chrome you need to download and install it first, willingly.
When you buy a PC with Windows, you don't need to install IE, it's there by default and you need to use it to be able to download another browser (only very few Windows users know how to download a browser from the command line directly).
So what, IE is avail by default. And yes UI agree not everyone knows how to use a command-line to download files. You need a browser to get another period. The reality is, the makers of Opera cried like little _itches and the EU is trying to create some type of equality. Firefox isn't even losing to Microsoft, they are losing to Google.

nohone said,

That is the point of what I wrote - the DOJ trial was because Microsoft had 100% of the market designed to run Windows.


No. The DOJ trial was because Microsoft abused their monopoly power on x86-based PCs in its handling of OS (Windows) and browser (IE) sales.

a0me said,

Windows has about 95% of the PC market. Apple has something like 5% and Chromebook have what 0.01%?

Once the last two get anywhere near the position that Microsoft is in, we'll see what the EU and the DOJ do.

Until then, it's apples and oranges.

I never really 'got' this stance. Yes, there are, or rather were those percentages, but there was still and still is a free and open market. No one is forcing you to buy a PC running windows - there is no market pressure to, and no benefit from doing it. Monopolies are about using unfair practices to crush your oponents. Bundling a browser with your operating system is not doing this. It is providing core functionality that is required by every user.

By merely targeting only microsoft in this way, in an attempt to level the playing field oddly has the opposite affect. Levelling the playing field should see everyone obey the same rules..

But whatever, let's take your analogy further. The ipad is by far and away the most popular tablet. I'm forced to use Safari. I'm forced to use Google search.. I'm forced to use apple maps. Yes, I can change those prefereces or install replacement apps (albeit forced to always use the safari renderer), but I'm free to do that on windows without the need for a ballot screen.

standards please! Allow me to change all default service providers on any device through ballot screens... or simply admit the whole concept of a ballot browser window on microsoft operating systems is idiotic and backward.