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back to article Mozilla: Windows 7 browser bungle cost us nine MILLION downloads

Microsoft's Internet Explorer clawed back some of its share of the desktop web-browser market in October, as it stood accused of costing rival Firefox valuable downloads by Windows users. Meanwhile, both Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome have slipped in the browser rankings. Firefox-maker Mozilla blamed its dip on the …

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still upbto their old tricks

f*ck the law, bundle bad software, delay legal proceedings till its too late.

The Microsoft business model. ®

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Anonymous Coward

Re: still upbto their old tricks

So Google aren't under investigation then?

eg.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-31/google-data-an-issue-in-antitrust-talks-consumer-group-tells-eu

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Joke

Re: still upbto their old tricks

@AC

I think the point is that Microsoft created the business model.

Google are now following it, and Apple are preparing a lawsuit that they have a patent on it. :)

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FAIL

@AC 12:48

logic fail:

company A implements business model X and company B implements business model X therefore X is not A's business model

imbecile

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Mushroom

Re: still upbto their old tricks

But the 'bad software' was better than the competition. IE9 was faster than Chrome and firefox on release - and has had far fewer security vulnerabilities than either of them.

And now IE10 is also faster than the lastest Chrome and Firefox: http://www.neowin.net/news/ie10-is-8-faster-than-chrome-20-says-strangeloop

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Facepalm

It wasn't better.

It had a deliberate bug in the String.split() method of its JavaScript interpreter, as follows.

var a1 = "10 Acacia Avenue:Anytown:Countyshire:AB123CD"; // the sort of thing that might be returned from an AJAX postcode lookup script

var a2 = "123 High Street:Bigcity::EF45GH"; // big cities don't need their counties mentioned

var b1 = a1.split(/:/);

var b2 = a2.split(/:/);

With all browsers, we get b1 == ["10 Acacia Avenue","Anytown","Countyshire","AB123CD"] as would be expected.

With Webkit-based browsers (Chrome / Konqueror / Safari), Mozilla-based browsers and Opera, we get b2 == ["123 High Street","Bigcity","","EF45GH"] as would be expected.

With IE, we get b2 == ["123 High Street","Bigcity","EF45GH"] -- the empty element has been silently removed from the array; placing the postcode where the county should be, and leaving the element which should contain the postcode undefined (which sometimes causes an exception when trying to read its value).

There is no way in hell that that behaviour is remotely proper -- and neither is there any way this was accidental.

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Unhappy

Re: still upbto their old tricks

Being a Firefix fanboi (been using it for years) I was going to make a scathing remark to your post. Then I got to thinking just how bloated Firefox has been getting in the past year or so with each new release and realized you may be right.

I'm running Linux now, so the Firefox version isn't as bloated, but it's still better than being spied on when using Chrome.

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Thumb Up

Re: still upbto their old tricks

>still better than being spied on when using Chrome.

Wow Linux is coming along nicely if it now has users that are such non geeks they have never heard of Chromium or SWIron which use chrome's code base without the google spyware.

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Linux

Re: still upbto their old tricks

You missed the part where I said I was a Firefox fanboi. I was using Firefox in Windows, so when I recently switched to Linux, I had no reason to research other browsers as it also had Firefox.

You're right, I have never heard or SWIron, however, I have heard of Chromium, though have not looked into it enough to know it did not have the Google spyware. I just assumed (yes I know what that means) that it was Google Chrome for Linux so still would have the spyware.

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While I think that to some extent users are suffering from download fatigue in

Round 2 of the 100 Years Browsers War, I can't help but think: If a cop gave me a ticket for going 65 in a 45 zone, I couldn't get out of paying it because of "technical errors." And if I were silly enough to try that angle in front of a judge, I'd probably wind up with a doubled fine.

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Re: While I think that to some extent users are suffering from download fatigue in

If this browser choice thing in Windows was so critical to the likes of Mozilla, how come it wasn't just MS that 'failed no notice' that it had disappeared, why did no-one from Google or Mozilla appear to notice either?

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Unhappy

Re: While I think that to some extent users are suffering from download fatigue in

To be fair (and I speak as a long-term Firefox user) FF has been getting worse for a couple of years now.

That will also be "costing" them downloads.

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Re: While I think that to some extent users are suffering from download fatigue in

You took the words out of my mouth - I'm a long term FF user, but recently, it's become so slow and cumbersome - without any extensions/plugins - I'm looking at Opera or IE instead. Add in ABP, noscript and I'm looking at making a cuppa waiting for it to start.

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Re: While I think that to some extent users are suffering from download fatigue in

@Tom 13

Actually, in the states, you CAN get off of a speeding ticket for a technical error. If the citing officer does not follow the correct procedure, and it can be proven (usually by a lawyer), then the ticket is dismissed. You obviously have to pay the lawyer, but at least the state doesn't get to ding your record.

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Re: While I think that to some extent users are suffering from download fatigue in

@ dogged

Agreed. I use all 3 of the biggies at work for various tools. Every time I use FF, I am reminded of logging in to AOL back in the day.... "please wait while [AOL] Firefox is updated”

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Re: While I think that to some extent users are suffering from download fatigue in

I use Firefox for the range of developer-focused add-ons, but if I have to suggest one to a loved one, it'd be Opera.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: While I think that to some extent users are suffering from download fatigue in

"If the citing officer does not follow the correct procedure,"

BUT: That's the COP making the mistake. If YOU make the mistake - e.g. your speedometer is in error, or you didn't see the sign, etc. - TOUGH NUGGIES, court clerk's on the left as you go out, cash, check, or credit card please.

This wasn't the court's fault, it was Microsoft's.

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FAIL

Re: While I think that to some extent users are suffering from download fatigue in

@John 104

that's when the issuing side makes some misteak. If you (as the receiver of the ticket) commit an error by, say, transposing two digits in the fine payment reference number, I doubt that you'll have even a small chance of convincing the judge to let you off on this 'technical' error.

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Anonymous Coward

Strange way of doing things

A rum business that relies upon the EU to do your advertising for you.

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I miss the days when Firefox was a good quality, lightweight browser. Gave up on it when it became that buggy bloat-fest we know it as today.

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WTF?

Agreed!

I have one window open with six tabs... Firefox process currently reports 335,236K memory useage... what the hell does it do with it all?

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Have to agree. This is just FF trying to blame MS for their failings. Chrome has managed to catch up to them in a short time where as they seem to reckon they can only get people with the EU screen. I gave up on FF years ago and moved to Opera but now FF is my 4th browser of choice after Chrome and IE9

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@ Daemon Byte

Wrote :- "This is just FF trying to blame MS for their failings."

No, it is about MS failing to keep a promise they made to the EU.

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Re: @ Daemon Byte

@ Nuke

You must realize, however, that it was Microsoft who reported the omission, not the EU. MS came clean on their own and fixed the issue. If they had kept mum, I wonder if anyone would have even noticed...

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FAIL

@ Daemon Byte

Why has Chrome caught up? Well one reason is that google is the most used search engine in the world to such an extent that to "google" something is now a dictionary term. And what's advertised on the front page of google? Google Chrome Browser.

Now, looking at Firefox search....

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Re: @ Daemon Byte

"If they had kept mum, I wonder if anyone would have even noticed..."

More perversely, since Mozilla's share of the market only dropped in October, despite the ballot being missing for ages, can we conclude that it was Microsoft's admission of guilt that caused the drop in FF's market share?

Next month, perhaps MS can admit that Win8 is crap, thereby crippling Apple's share of the tablet market.

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Have to agree, I was a big pusher of FF and FF was superb around 18 months ago but it's slowly getting worse, Chrome beat it to death and unless they slim it down and stop using all my damn memory.

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Happy

SeaMonkey

I've been getting fed up with FF quite some time ago but didn't really want to miss out on some of my plugins. So I eventually moved onto SeaMonkey. Its the Mozilla engine we initially came to love & respect but without all the bloat. In fact; by default it looks like your standard Netscape browser, which quite frankly suits me just fine.

I don't care that much for the interface (of course it has to be usable) but more so for my "browsing experience". Well SeaMonkey has what it takes IMO. Since a few updates ago its even fully Aero compliant (so you see download progress in the program icon).

I never looked back.

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You're living in fantasy land. Firefox was never lightweight in the past. It was plagued with memory leaks for the longest time. It's certainly better than it's ever been which is why I'm using it.

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Re: Agreed!

And how much memory do you think it should use? It depends entirely on the pages you have open and your plugins. I'm on the latest version and it doesn't use near that for 6 or 8 tabs.

Chrome actually uses more cpu and usually similar memory. They've just designed the gui in such a way that it feels more responsive. That and they use show that lame error page more often than trying to load a page. But afaik it still has a bug that let's render way too many elements when running across broken html so it performs far worse on some pages.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Agreed!

"what the hell does it do with it all?"

about:memory in the Firefox URL bar.

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Mushroom

Re: @ Daemon Byte

I and many others noticed when they fixed it.

Suddenly every PC loaded that irritating browser choice screen...

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Vic
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Re: Agreed!

> about:memory in the Firefox URL bar.

"A script on this page may be busy, or it may have stopped responding. You can stop the script now, or you can continue to see if the script will complete."

:-(

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Firefox is a yo-yo dieting emotional bitch. It gets fat, it slims down, it bitches a lot and tends to make you wish you could just go with the cute girl next door.

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Translation

"...After the browser ballot screen was reinstated in Windows, downloads shot up by 150 per cent to approximately 50,000."

There are approximately 30,000 people every day that will click on something they know nothing about because it popped up on their computer screen.

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Coat

Re: Translation

** Top secret ** - Mozilla Business Plan

Phase 1 - Dupe idiots into clicking on button

Phase 2 - ???

Phase 3 - Profit!

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Firesucks

I'm pretty sure it was more that Firefox became a fat, bloated piece of shitware that caused the problem.

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Alert

Whilst I agree that MS deserve a slap on the wrist for this the thing I find interesting is that the likes of Apple still get away with having a very closed shop mentality when it comes to products that can only use apps (officially) via its App Store and that if you try to submit a product that replicatates a core function they can reject your App. Or even worse, if your App has already been accepted and if what it does becomes a core function, that your App can then be removed from the App Store without warning. And as newer Apple products are disposing optical drives now it makes me wonder how long it will be before it becomes a problem on their desktop systems as well?

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Anonymous Coward

You can call it different things...

Mainly I'd say either "playing by the rules" or "gaming the system". The restriction against Microsoft was their consequence for breaking said rules... for better or worse, there is no requirement for anyone else to provide a browser choice dialogue.

I don't like Apple's behavior in this regard either, but they don't even seem to be on the radar of the EU regulators where the competition laws are quite broadly defined... much less in the US.

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Thumb Up

This is exactly what I was going to say...

Surely it can't be denied that the iPad now has a monopoly on tablets, why are they not forced to show a browser choice pop up the same as MS are?!

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Anonymous Coward

Gaming the system / Playing by the rules

Ignoring the other differences, let's assume for a moment that it is an 1:1 comparison from an OS/Browser/technology standpoint... the legal distinction is this:

iOS came with their model out of the gate when it had, essentially, zero market share - they established their tablet monopoly with this constraint in place... Microsoft attempted to implement this model *after* they had an established desktop monopoly to the detriment of competition in the market (i.e. Netscape).

I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but that is the way the law works in this situation - in the states in the form of "misuse of monopoly power" and in the EU under the much looser guidelines of "anti-competitive behavior".

There is no legal requirement that "[an OS must allow a variety of browsers to run on it]", else ChromeOS would be illegal. The reason Microsoft has this requirement is that it established its desktop OS monopoly without the browser built in, and used its desktop OS monopoly power to establish a monopoly in the browser space.

A little f'd up maybe, but dems da rules.

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FAIL

Upgrade cycle

I blame Mozilla's ridiculous 6 week update cycle. I do not want my gui & functionality changing every 6 weeks especially on the sly. The ESR version is better if you can find it.

But even then, as others have stated FF is getting slow & bloated and has been a memory hog for ages.

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Unhappy

New world

I notice that you can only have IE on the surface RT.

I suspect the EU are powerless to do anything about that!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: New world

IIRC the requirement was specific to x86.

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Anonymous Coward

Err?

If it was so important to their business strategy, why didn't they have anyone looking to make sure that the browser choice was being offered?

It sounds like a case of "our browser can't be loosing popularity in any way, what could have caused the problem" rather than anything else.

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Anonymous Coward

umm?

"Both Firefox and rival Mozilla dropped in the rankings."

This is either really badly-phrased or confused :)

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FAIL

Re: umm?

I was going to comment on that but whenever I question anything editorial it gets deleted :O

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Joke

I wonder

How long is it going to take until someone sues them for bundling minesweeper ? It hurts open source game developers, you know ? Why not a "choice of OS ballot" as well ? Wouldn't it be fun to see a "Are you sure you want to install Windows" screen, along with a choice of other operating systems ?

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