Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 27th Jul 2009 07:29 UTC
Opera Software Last week, the European Commission announced that Microsoft is willing to implement a browser ballot screen in Windows so that users can select a browser to install when installing Windows or when setting up their OEM computer. While this makes Opera very happy, Opera would like to see Ubuntu and Apple offer such a ballot screen too.
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0.5% share threshold
by MollyC on Mon 27th Jul 2009 23:58 UTC
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

I read that the EC is demanding that all browsers with at least a 0.5% usage share be on the ballot. Notice how they specified the maximum "round(ish) number" share that still allows Opera to just barely make the ballot. Go any higher, and Opera doesn't make the cut. Go any lower, and hundreds would make the ballot. Neither of these scenarios is desireable to the EC, so they pick the "Opera threshold". What a joke.

Reply Score: 2

RE: 0.5% share threshold
by Johann Chua on Tue 28th Jul 2009 10:13 in reply to "0.5% share threshold"
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

You mean like IE?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: 0.5% share threshold
by hangman on Tue 28th Jul 2009 15:41 in reply to "0.5% share threshold"
hangman Member since:
2007-09-05

Notice how they specified the maximum "round(ish) number" share that still allows Opera to just barely make the ballot. Go any higher, and Opera doesn't make the cut. Go any lower, and hundreds would make the ballot. Neither of these scenarios is desireable to the EC, so they pick the "Opera threshold". What a joke.

Wrong. Opera is the #3 browser globally:

http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-ww-monthly-200901-200906-bar

And in Europe Opera is bigger than Safari and Chrome combined!

http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-eu-monthly-200901-200906-bar

The Europe stats are what really count, and Opera is nearly 10% there.

Does anyone even bother checking the facts before spouting nonsense these days? Clearly not.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: 0.5% share threshold
by sbergman27 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 15:53 in reply to "0.5% share threshold"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Neither of these scenarios is desireable to the EC, so they pick the "Opera threshold". What a joke.

Molly, I'm beginning to wonder if you are pro-consumer, or just anti-EC. Your vendetta is showing, and it looks suspiciously similar to that of the rabid MS hating bile-spewers around here. (As opposed to those who simply disapprove and speak out when it is appropriate.)

I'd have expected better from you.

Where to set the bar is a judgement call, and as such people are going to disagree. Personally, I'd go for the top four, which would be IE, FF, Chrome, and Safari. That seems a natural break point, as Opera is in a badly trailing 5th place. (And I'll admit that the highly annoying nature of both its execs and its user-base might contribute to my inclination to leave them out.)

But the ballot screen strategy is, in itself, pretty sound, and is, in my opinion, far and away the best solution. It gives regular users choice... but choice of the "point and click" nature that they can deal with. (Nothing messy like having to know anything or anything hard like that.)

Thom has an idea that forcing MS to make IE more standards compliant is the answer. Not a bad thought. But I put that in the same category as "forcing world peace". How do you do it? What does it mean? How do you measure it? How do you keep them from breaking the web in a way that your tests don't register? I just don't see how that could be executed successfully.

Edited 2009-07-28 15:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: 0.5% share threshold
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 28th Jul 2009 15:56 in reply to "RE: 0.5% share threshold"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Thom has an idea that forcing MS to make IE more standards compliant is the answer. Not a bad thought. But I put that in the same category as "forcing world peace". How do you do it? What does it mean? How do you measure it? How do you keep them from breaking the web in a way that your tests don't register? I just don't see how that could successfully be executed.


True. I haven't thought about that very deeply - it's more of a general desire than an implementable plan or something.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: 0.5% share threshold
by MollyC on Wed 29th Jul 2009 05:40 in reply to "RE: 0.5% share threshold"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

sbergman, I'm sorry to disappoint you, that you "expected better" of me. ;)

But you're right. I don't like the EC. Because I don't think they are a just organization. I think they abuse their power. And I think that among the most dangerous things is a government law enforcement agency that is unchecked (the EU appeals courts are a joke, just rubberstamping whatever the EC does) and is on a power/ego trip (we'll show everyone who's boss!). Their decrees are based on whim and predispositions. They provide no due process to reach their verdicts of guilt. The accused is not provided a chance to face their accusers, cross examine accusers, or cross examine evidence. Indeed, the accused doesn't even have the right to know the evidence and accusers against it if the EC doesn't want them to know, let alone cross examine them. It's straight out of a Kafka novel.

And the EU Appeals courts are like most nations' appeals courts, in that they don't allow for examination of evidence either, merely examination of procedure. So the accused can't cross examine evidence at the appeals court either.

So the EC decrees are made without due process, without real trials. So whatever entity the EC is mad at or predisposed to rule against, they do, and nobody can stop them. Then, once the guitly verdict is decreed, the punishment is arbitrary. The fines have no rhyme or reason. The solutions are dumb too, like Windows XP N.

Then there's the double/triple/quadruple jeopardy. How many times is Microsoft to be fined for the same offense? Seems that the EC has fined Microsoft multiple times for bundling IE in the 1990s.

And this latest incident where the EC decreed that it is illegal for Microsoft to not ship a browser at all? There's absolutely nothing in EU antitrust law that would indicate such, but EU antitrust law is so vague that it basically boils down to "Whatever the EC says". So if they say that it's illegal for Windows to not have a browser, then that's the way it is. Like Pharoah's decrees or something.

I think the EC is out of control. I think the 1.5 billion dollar fine against Intel was absurd. I thinks Windows XP N was absurd. I think the notion that Windows MUST bundle a browser is absurd. And, to the point I made in my GP post, I think the EU's decision to choose a ballot browser share threshold that's so tiny, but required to be tiny in order to let Opera sneak in is absurd. And I think this ballot screws over any new browsers that may come along. The ballot presents a barrier of entry, but not by Microsoft, but rather government mandated, which is an order of magnitude more troublesome.

Reply Parent Score: 2