updated 01:00 pm EDT, Fri October 16, 2009
Draws fire from Mozilla designer
Apple's Safari browser may occupy too central position in upcoming European versions of Windows, critics say. Users should soon be presented with a special browser ballot, explaining what web browsers are, and more crucially offering a choice of apps beyond Internet Explorer. The feature comes as a result of pressure from the European Commission, which has accused Microsoft of hampering competition by bundling IE with Windows, forcing developers to design for it and potentially limit their innovation.
A designer of Mozilla's Firefox browser, Jenny Boriss, has complained about the proposed ballot's arrangement however, arguing that it gives a "disproportionate advantage" to Safari. The Apple software is presented at the beginning of an alphabetic list, which Boriss suggests could make it the default alternative for most people. In conventional elections, the designer claims, candidates can have their votes boosted by as much as 50 percent if they are the first name on a ballot.
Safari is too Mac-centric, Boriss continues, and represents only a small fraction of current Windows marketshare at 2.6 percent. A suggested alternative to alphabetical order is a randomization of the top five browsers, or else probability ordering, ranked by share. The latter would like put IE in the first position however, followed by Firefox, which is used on 22.75 percent of all Internet-connected computers.
Beginning on October 22nd, European PC vendors will themselves have the option of choosing which browser to install for Windows 7.