As part of an antitrust settlement with the European Union last year, Microsoft agreed to allow Windows users to choose from 12 of the most popular Web browsers via a "browser ballot" rather than automatically installing the latest version of Internet Explorer by default.
That ballot debuted at the beginning of this month, and immediately, IBM's Rob Weir had a problem with it. According to Computerworld, Weir said Microsoft failed to use a random shuffle algorithm. He said: "This was a rookie mistake. [It] is more in the nature of a 'naive algorithm,' like the bubble sort, that inexperienced programmers inevitably will fall upon when solving a given problem. I bet if we gave this same problem to 100 freshmen computer science majors, at least one of them would make the same mistake."
Now, nearly a month into the ballot's use, Microsoft may be feeling just a little ill about it, too. Ars Technica reports the latest statistics from StatCounter show that Internet Explorer is slowly losing market share to the others. Writer Peter Bright says:
In France, IE usage has dropped by 2.5 percent, Italy by 1.3 percent, and the UK by 1 percent. Browser developers Opera and Mozilla have reported strong growth within Europe, with Opera claiming that downloads have doubled since the ballot was introduced, and a Mozilla spokesperson claiming, "We have seen significant growth in the number of new Firefox users as a result of the Ballot Screen."