updated 11:30 am EST, Wed March 3, 2010
Opera sees huge upswing since EU trial begun
Downloads of Opera's web browser have tripled since the EU implemented the trial version of its Windows browser ballot two days ago, the company's chief strategy officer Rolf Assev said today. The combination of a new beta and a prominent if randomized place in the Windows choice system has triggered the huge surge in key countries, including France, Spain and the UK as well as smaller nations like Belgium and Poland. Assev didn't provide a specific tally.
It's also unknown whether other browsers featured prominently on the list, such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari, have also seen an increase. Firefox has had disproportionately high demand in Europe since well before the ballot and is less likely to see a boost, but browsers with relatively small share such as Opera stand a better chance of growing share in the new European climate.
European Commission officials originally mandated a choice in browsers after they found that Microsoft had an unfair advantage on the web by pre-installing Internet Explorer on every Windows PC. Although earlier rulings had already forced Microsoft to allow other browsers to come installed as the default on PCs, IE's automatic presence was still considered a problem as it didn't affect retail copies and left many companies simply choosing to use IE rather than go to the extra effort of bundling a third-party browser.