Browser ballot "boosts Opera downloads by 85%"

Opera hails browser ballot as Opera downloads surge across Europe

Stuart Turton
18 Mar 2010

Opera claims that Microsoft's browser ballot has caused UK downloads of its browser to jump by 85%.

The browser ballot was introduced by Microsoft in early March to appease the EU, which was investigating whether bundling Internet Explorer with Windows was anticompetitive.

The ballot offers a choice of 12 browsers, and is being rolled out through Automatic Updates to anybody with Internet Explorer set as the default browser on their computer.

It now appears the screen is having the desired effect, with Opera claiming that more than half of the European downloads of version 10.5 came directly from people directed to its site from the ballot.

Indeed, Opera claims the browser ballot has accounted for 46% of its total UK downloads since early March. Opera hasn't put a figure on the actual number of downloads this involves, although we've asked the company to get back to us with that data.

While the UK jump is sizeable, the numbers pale in comparison to the rest of Europe. Downloads in Poland, for example, have increased 328%, with Spain up 215% and Italy not far behind on 202%.

Opera claims the result justified its decision to bring the original complaint against Microsoft before the EU. "This confirms that when users are given a real choice on how they choose the most important piece of software on their computer, the browser, they will try out alternatives," said Håkon Wium Lie, chief technology of Opera.

"A multitude of browsers will make the web more standardised and easier to browse," he concluded.

The ballot will continue to be offered through Automatic Updates until the end of May, and for the next five years on new PCs, under the terms of the deal struck with the EU.

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