Microsoft fined $732 Million by EU authorities after tip-off by Google

The European Union authorities have fined Microsoft $732 million. The fine was imposed because Microsoft did not respect an agreement to give users who are using Windows a clear option to choose from various browser.

Microsoft was supposed to display a pop-up screen that showed users the option to choose between different browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Apparently in February 2011, Windows 7 Service Pack 1 was rolled out and the screen disappeared. EU authorities did not investigate the matter immediately and according to a report in GigaOm, Google and Opera tipped of EU about it.

Google and Microsoft bitter fighting!

Google and Microsoft are fighting against each other for a long time. Google had once accused Bing of copying results from Google Search. Microsoft has not been playing nice either. Their negative ads against Google – almost blaming them for the US financial collapse and recently a new campaign called BingitOn that was supposed to comparative differences between Google and Bing.

Google maybe playing a little negative here but what was Microsoft trying to do here! It is not the first it has been fined by the EU authorities. An anti-trust case in 2004 ended up in EU setting a fine of $794 Million against Microsoft for the same mischief regarding browser choices.(related Wikipedia article).

Google also has good reason to see Microsoft playing fair, as it does impact Chrome negatively. Most growth seen by Chrome has been at the cost of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Chrome Overtakes IE: Becomes most popular Browser Worldwide!

Browsers war at the desktop level seemed to be getting predictable. Developers might still swear by Firefox and some older Windows versions like XP, still have Internet Explorer as its best bet, most people are generally in adopting Chrome.

According to StatCounter, Chrome has overtaken Internet Explorer to become the most used browser worldwide.

Usage of Chrome is apparently 31.88% which is a slime lead over Internet Explore which has 31.49%.

One might wonder where Firefox is in this race, it is at third spot with approximately 26% usage.

What could stop Chrome?

Chrome does not give features or options which are entirely very different from say Firefox and dare I say even Internet Explorer. The difference lies in the simplicity of its options. The sync features, which can not just sync bookmarks and extensions but also browsing history or open tabs.

Lately, Chrome is now available on Android and it is already seeing millions of installs very month. If Chrome makes it debut on iOS as expected, it might soon leave all other browser very far behind.

The only thing that could stop Chrome seems to be Google itself, just like Microsoft did with Internet Explorer, when they became complacent and stopped improving the browser.

What are your views on Chrome dislodging IE as the most popular browser? Do drop in your comments.

Related: Chrome is the most popular browser in India!

IE6 Still Survives and Usage has Grown Over the Past Two Months!

Almost fourteen months ago, I wrote about the IECountdown – which was like Microsoft’s official goodbye to IE6. It was a good initiative by Microsoft, which is still trying to get rid of the bad reputation it received because of a browser (IE6) stuck in time.

Last year, Internet Explorer 6 still accounted for 12% of the world’s browser market. I decided to check on some stats and see if things have really changed or is IE6 still proving very difficult for Microsoft to kill off. I decided to use statistics from NetMarketShare the same source that Microsoft uses to show IE6 usage on the IE6 Countdown website.

Some Internet Explorer Shockers!

  • About 7.1% of the browsers are still on IE6. That is not the surprising part. The browser share of IE6 has grown in the past couple of months from 6.8% in Feb 2012 to 7.1% in April 2012. Usually this share goes up during December when year ending accounts are done on enterprise computers which still often run only on IE6.
  • China still seems to be the biggest market for IE6. An astounding 23.8% of the browsers in China are IE6.
  • Internet Explorer was shipped as a default browser with Vista almost half a decade ago. Strangely more people still use IE6 when compared to IE7.
  • Even though we are on version 10 for IE, the most popular version is Internet Explorer 8, which was released in 2009.

Internet Explorer has a very fragmented market share based on their browser versions. For example, most Firefox and Chrome users are on the latest versions of their browser. On Chrome, users do not even really notice when their browsers automatically updates to newer versions.

I must say that Microsoft has recently woken up to the horrendous reputation of IE. It even has called it the ‘Browser we love to hate’ in a advertisement campaign. Hopefully the recent spike in IE6 usage is just a blip before its eventual demise.

Do drop in your comments.

Microsoft Ad Campaign Calls IE “The Browser You Loved to Hate”

Internet Explorer has steadily lost out in the battle of the browsers. Yes, it is still the most used browser but that is mainly because it is the default browser on the most popular Operating System. Chrome in recent years has become increasingly popular and the general reputation of Internet Explorer has taken a nose dive over the past few years..

Microsoft has finally accepted this fact and calls Internet Explorer “The Browser You Loved to Hate“. 🙂

While accepting their previous versions were not up to the mark, they are pitching Internet Explorer 9 as a decent browser.

Microsoft’s New Advertisement for Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft has a new Ad poking fun at a guy who hated Internet Explorer all his life but now has become a fan of new Internet Explorer 9. The advertisement is pretty bad and not really funny enough. I think it might actually make more people avoid the browser than use it (See video below).

There are some gems in Internet Explorer 9 like pinning a website to the taskbar which cannot be done with Chrome or Firefox. But Chrome and Firefox does allow making applications of a website which can be pinned to the Windows Taskbar. 😉

What are your views on Internet Epxlorer 9? Have you checked it out? Do you find yourself quitting Chrome or Firefox? Also what did your think about that advertisement by Microsoft? Do drop in your comments.

Link: Browser you love to hate

Related: Microsoft’s Official Goodbye to Internet Explorer 6!

Google Chrome Is Now The Most Popular Browser in India

Over the past 2 years, Chrome as a browser has gained a lot of popularity and is now ahead of Firefox as the second most used browser. In India, however the situation is even better for Chrome. It is not only very popular but has overtaken Internet Explorer as the most popular browser.

This growth is incredible considering that Internet Explorer’s usage was almost at 50% while that of Chrome was less than 15% only two years ago. Chrome and Firefox have gained the most while IE seems to be in a free fall according this graph from StatCounter.

Why Chrome rules India?

  • Internet Explorer is just not customization friendly as Firefox and Chrome. People have outgrown tools bars and prefer less intrusive extensions.
  • Firefox should have ideally maintained a lead over Chrome, but it fumbled with its Firefox 4.0 release. Firefox was considered heavy and high on resources. Things have changed with recent versions of Firefox but people might still view it unfavorably now.
  • Chrome has been helped a lot with probably being the only browser in India to get promoted via online advertisements as well as television ads.
  • Internet users demographically are a lot younger than all over the world. This means a greater acceptability of newer software, which includes browsers.

Maybe it is a good time for Google to seriously push Chromebooks in India. Thanks to Ishit for the tip.

Which browser are you using and why? Do drop in your comments.

How Chrome Raced to 2nd Spot in 2 Years! [Browser Wars]

I admit to being a die-hard Chrome fan. I like Firefox a lot of how customizable it is. Chrome’s minimalist layout, simple sync options along with Apps and extensions makes it my browser of choice. I guess a lot of people think like me and are adopting Chrome. Latest reports by StatCounter suggest that Chrome has a market share of 25.69% while Firefox has slumped to 3rd place with 25.23%.

Internet Explorer is still at top with 40.63% but over two years ago it was almost near the 60% mark.

So let us see the growth of Chrome over the last two years. It had about 4.44% of the market share in November 2009 and has grown to get over 25% in only 2 years.

If you see the graph above, Chrome’s rise seems to be consistently on an upward trend. There do not seem to be big spikes at all. This means they are growing consistently and continuously.

Firefox has fallen off somewhat over the last year and that is not surprising. As Chrome churned out extensions and Chrome apps. It even introduced Chromebooks where the Chrome becomes the OS.

Comparatively Firefox has lost its way. A good indicator was how it launched Firefox 4.0 earlier this year after almost 1 year of anticipation. Firefox gets updated more often than ever all of a sudden and Firefox 8 is already available.

Internet Explorer has not managed to hold on to their users and is consistently losing out. The success of Windows 7 has not exactly spilled on to Internet Explorer.

Which browser is your favorite? Do drop in your comments.

Related: 9 Tips to get the most out of your Chrome browser

Choose and Add Web Apps for Your PC with ALOT Toolbar

Web apps have changed a lot with more and more people using add-ons instead of toolbars. This is mainly because most toolbars are limited in its scope and add-on allow a variety of functions from managing Facebook, Twitter and even your email accounts.

ALOT Toolbar allows sharing links, searching for content and looking up social networking accounts by allowing adding specific apps to it.

Features of ALOT toolbar

  • The ALOT Toolbar will work with your Internet Explorer and Firefox browser. This leaves out Chrome users which is a bit of a disappointment.
  • I could look up Facebook, BBC News, even Wikipedia articles from the toolbar itself.
  • Just click on the add app button on your browser and we can customize the apps that are present in your toolbar.

Usually I do not like toolbars, but I recommend using ALOT toolbars simply for the sheer number of apps available with it. Do drop in your comments.

Link: ALOT Toolbar

Microsoft Sending a Message with IE 10 Preview!

IE 10 Microsoft has almost always tied up the development of Internet Explorer browser with Windows. Whenever a new version of Windows is shipped out, the IE browser’s version also gets an upgrade.

Windows XP came with IE6, Windows Vista had IE7 and Windows 7 had IE8 pre-installed. The reception to the browser versions also reflected how the OS was received. Just like people are not ready to upgrade from XP to Vista, IE6 users seemed to not bother upgrading to IE7 or even IE8.

Microsoft’s message with IE 10

With IE 9 being released, many felt it was the last chance for Microsoft to save IE browser. With the release being only a month ago, the preview build of IE 10 was a surprise. IE 9 was expected to be shipped as default with the next version (Windows 8?) of Windows.

With IE 10 Microsoft is telling the internet community that they will probably upgrade browser versions without waiting for newer OS to be introduced.

IE 10 Features

  • It is really good at making most use of screen space like IE 9 does.
  • The graphics support along with CSS rendering is pretty good, as shown by a tests like Fish bowl and Paint Ball.
  • IE 9 has a good record when it comes to handling power efficiency. For Laptop users like me, that is a good incentive. I found IE 10 preview not being as light-weight but that might change when IE 10 goes into Beta from Preview version.

What Microsoft needs to do to give IE 10 a boost?

Firstly, IE 10 preview only works with Windows 7. I am not sure if that will happen with IE 10 browser going ahead but if it does, then it would be disappointing. Internet Explorer needs to offer support to Mac OS and Linux-based OS.

This will truly separate IE from Windows as a product and maybe then we might see IE browser building its own independent identity as a browser which does not only revolve around Windows.

I doubt that all this will happen considering how IE finds itself shooting in the foot, what are your view? Do drop in your comments.

Link: IE 10 Preview

Related: What all does IE 9 still not support? | [Tested] Chrome is better than IE 9 and Firefox 4

[Tested] Chrome is Better Than Firefox 4 and IE9

Firefox 4 final version is available for download now and Internet Explorer 9 (RTM) version was also released last week. So I decided to take all the final, non-beta or non-RC versions of Firefox 4, IE 9 and Chrome on my computer and carry out a few tests to check their performance.

I prefer the Chrome user-interface because it is so sparse and simple. IE9 and Firefox 4 try hard but I am not really happy with its user-interface. But then interface is a personal thing and hence I decided to go with performance.

I carried out two tests, one was the ACID 3 and the other was HTML 5 test.

The Acid3 Test!

I first tested Chrome, Firefox 4 and IE9 for the Acid 3 test. The Acid 3 test basically tests web standards regarding CSS, website rendering. The test was made famous by Chrome when it got a 100/100. This led Chrome to design a method to insert Chrome frame into IE8 for making it faster.

  • Chrome as expected for a 100/100 on the test.

  • Internet Explorer 9 scored a 95/100 with the Acid3 test. This is a big improvement because I remember in a post last year, I had performed quite badly.

  • Firefox 4 final version scored a 97/100 which. That seems to be a big improvement but still short of the perfect score set by Chrome.

The HTML5 Test!

This is a test to decide how well does the browser we are using support HTML5 standards. This has been a big talking point, with HTML 5 supposedly being branded as a web-standard. Internet Explorer version have traditionally fared poorly.

A look at the stats from their website, show that Chrome scores 288 while Internet Explorer scores 130. The score for Firefox 4 final version is 240. This is strange as I remember Firefox 4 RC version scored 255!

So is Chrome better than IE9 and Firefox 4?

The answer to that is yes. If it was purely about performance, then Chrome does far better than Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4. I did find the final version of Firefox 4 a lot faster than its predecessors but it still has taken way too much time to come out with version 4. While Firefox and IE released beta version slowly, Chrome kept updating its version automatically and so often that it stopped announcing the updated versions altogether.

What are your views on Chrome, Firefox 4 and IE9 as far as performance goes? Do drop in your comments.

Link: Acid3 Test | HTML5 test

[IE9 Launched] Last chance for Microsoft to save Internet Explorer!

No RC, no beta this time; finally I did get to download Internet Explorer 9. In my article “Internet Explorer awaiting launch on March 14th!” I had mentioned about a launch party at SXSW in Texas.

Finally IE9 was made available to all throughout the World in 39 languages by Dean Hachamovitch (Corporate Vice President of Internet Explorer) since March 14, 9 PM (PST).

With more than 40 million downloads for the pre-release versions, Microsoft has been excited about this launch.

But, is IE9 really going to prove to be a winner? Despite all the claims of IE9 being the best browser around, Microsoft must be knowing that if they do not get IE9 right, it will pretty much end Internet Explorer for good. This is literally the last roll of dice for Internet Explorer.

On one hand IE9 claims drastic improvements over previous versions, while on the other hand it still lacks the edge!

Some positive signs for IE9!

The main positive sign for IE9 seems to be that it has been appreciated quite a bit by many users. Also Internet Explorer’s fate seems to be tied to Windows OS versions. We saw IE7 bomb, thanks to Vista being not such a popular OS. IE8 was more successful thanks to Windows 7 doing quite well. IE9 and its success might finally depend on the success of the next Windows version.

Internet Explorer 9 launch video

Do post your valuable comments and thoughts whether IE9 is seriously going the leading way or just another pitfall for Microsoft!

Link: Download IE 9