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100 Million Browser Choices by May

Process will be repeated for five years in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein as well as the 27 countries of the EU

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The European Commission figures over 100 million (doubtlessly utterly confused) European Windows users will be exposed to the browser-bearing Ballot Screen that Microsoft is being made to circulate offering alternatives to Internet Explorer to settle the EC's latest antitrust action.

And that's just by mid-May.

The process will be repeated for five years in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein as well as the 27 countries of the European Union. And if the European Committee for Interoperable Systems, which represents Microsoft enemies such as IBM and Oracle, has its way regulators worldwide will push Microsoft into offering the Ballot Screen where they live too.

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Microsoft's IE, Mozilla's Firefox, Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari and Opera will be on the constantly shuffled row followed - scrolling along - by little-known competitors Avant Browser, Flock, Green Browser, K-Meleon, Maxthon, Sleipnir and Slim Browser. See

The exercise is supposed to boost competition, innovation and the use of open standards.

Opera , whose complaints led to the screen, claimed Wednesday that downloads of its browser in places like the UK, Belgium, France, Spain and Poland had already tripled, more than could be attributed to its new 10.5 rev.

Globally Chrome has started taking share from both Firefox and Internet Explorer. At the end of February Chrome, the only browser to gain share, was good for 5.61%, ahead of Safari at 4.45% and Opera at 2.35%. Firefox is said to have a flattish 24.23% and is said to be on the decline and IE 59.23%. The numbers come from Net Applications by way of Ars Technica.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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