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Browser ballot "boosts Opera downloads by 85%"


By Stuart Turton

Posted on 18 Mar 2010 at 14:16

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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User comments


I would suspect this is simply by people being curious about what the other browsers offer, rather than using them in anger. It will be interesting to see the actual stats in usage after a few months.

By Steve_Adey on 18 Mar 2010

You may well be right and I also expect that IE will take a hit in the next couple of months from this. However this ballot only appears for those that have IE as their default browser and I suspect a high percentage of those don't care about other brosers because they didn't go looking for them in the first place. I don't think it's helpful to burden those users with making a choice that they don't have a clue about in the first place

By TimoGunt on 18 Mar 2010

If anything this just goes to show how few users opera had before... On a lot of the sites I work on its market share is under 1%

By jonners99 on 18 Mar 2010

when you down loads are very low just a few more can push your % up a lot

eg if you down load is normaly 1 a day and then you get 2 a day that a 100% increase


By mprltd on 18 Mar 2010

The text to speech function is a boost for Opera - many europeans can hear pages read to them - its a great language tool in the classroom - even if the accent is not perfect its simple to use and works.

By nicomo on 18 Mar 2010

Two little niggles

stopped me embracing Opera:
1. I got too used to the 'find on page' facility docked a la FF and hated the floating one and..
2. If I added a favourite to the links bar, it got added to the bookmarks menu root which sucked.
Maybe there are ways around those.

It is still my third favourite after FF and Chrome

By Alperian on 18 Mar 2010


If you download the latest version of Opera the find on page is now docked - or you can also have it permanently in your favourites toolbar.
And when you add a bookmark a dialog pops up which lets you choose where to put it. You can have any of your bookmarks appear in the favourites bar - there isn't a special folder for it as there is in Firefox and IE.
The latest version is also blisteringly quick, particularly on sites which depend a lot on Javascript. FF seems to have major problems with Facebook, but Opera just breezes it.

By jgwilliams on 19 Mar 2010


When I rebuilt my girlfriend's computer recently I suggested she chose an alternative browser, but she just wanted to stick with IE because it was what she knew and she didn't want to complicate her life. And I would have described her as a pretty savvy user.

By jgwilliams on 19 Mar 2010

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