Doing the Microsoft Shuffle: Algorithm Fail in Browser Ballot

“ did a test of the ‘ballot’ screen at, used in Microsoft Windows 7 to prompt the user to install a browser. It was a Microsoft concession to the EU, to provide a randomized ballot screen for users to select a browser. However, the test suggested that the ordering of the browsers was far from random. […] Maybe there was cogent technical analysis of this issue posted someplace, but if there was, I could not find it. So I’m providing my own analysis here, a little statistics and a little algorithms 101. I’ll tell you what went wrong, and how Microsoft can fix it. In the end it is a rookie mistake in the code, but it is an interesting mistake that we can learn from, so I’ll examine it in some depth.”


  1. 2010-03-01 11:48 am
  2. 2010-03-01 1:13 pm
  3. 2010-03-01 1:57 pm
  4. 2010-03-01 10:40 pm
  5. 2010-03-02 4:30 pm