Windows EU Ballot Screen Technical Glitch

We’re encouraged by the European Commission’s efforts to ensure that users have meaningful browser choice in the Windows PC environment. The 2009 Commitments adopted by Microsoft were a foundational part of the remedy developed by the Commission to resolve Microsoft’s competition violations in EC countries. A key part of the remedy was Microsoft’s commitment to present the browser ballot screen to Windows users through vehicles like the Windows 7 Service Pack 1. Earlier this year, we learned that Microsoft failed to fully comply with the browser choice ballot screen obligation for nearly 15 months.

Most recently the EC sent a statement of objections to Microsoft for failing to include the browser-choice screen as promised. Our data suggests that the absence of the browser choice screen had the following impact:

  • Daily Firefox downloads decreased by 63% to a low of 20,000 just prior to the fix;
  • After the fix, Firefox downloads increased 150% to approximately 50,000 per day; and
  • Cumulatively 6 to 9 million Firefox browser downloads were lost during this period.

After accounting for the aggregate impact on all the browser vendors, it seems like this technical glitch decreased downloads and diminished the effectiveness of the remedy ordered in the 2009 Commitments.

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