Opera Not Happy with Ballot Screen

By | April 6, 2010 | 63 Comments


Opera Software has reported a possible problem to European Union and Microsoft, where in rare cases; ballot screen would be hidden by Internet Explorer configuration windows.

Opera Not Happy with Ballot Screen

A Microsoft has also commented on this story, “This scenario is very easy to reproduce in a test lab, but would occur only in unusual cases in the real world. For it to occur with the Browser Choice screen, the user would need to have IE set as their default browser and have never configured it for use. Opera’s example, where a Windows XP user has rejected installation of IE 8 for the year it has been available but suddenly decides to install it is not realistic.”

Hakon Wium Lie, Opera’s CEO said that Opera Software has not yet decided whether to make a formal complain to EU or not.

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Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded FavBrowser.com. Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.

  • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael
  • Chuck Monroe

    The opera suits need to quit being pussies; if their browser wasn’t so good, I would ditch it on the spot just for their constant bitching.

    • http://www.pneumatig.com.pl pneumatyka

      Agreed. This whole ballot screen was a bad idea since the beginning. And it appears it didn’t made any visible difference anyway (at least not in Poland), what is I was expecting – most people used to IE (and their logo) will click IE logo even without reading anything.
      Opera IMHO made a very bad decision by complaining to EU. I hope they will stop playing the goat.
      Besides the whole concept of government intervention into private company’s strategies is, for me, as for libertarian simply disgusting, and if it wouldn’t be such a good browser I would quit using it.

      Opera (all desktop versions) usage in Poland can be seen here: http://tiny.pl/hgl5f

      • Morbus

        The important thing with the ballot screen is that there’s a legal precedent for these matters, and people WILL be aware that there is something called a browser. It doesn’t really matter which one they use, as long as they know they have a choice.

      • http://WOFall.myopenid.com/ WOFall

        Of course it’s hard to tell, but it looks like around a 1% difference to me. And the long term effects of introducing people to the concept of choice is even more important. It seems strange to me now, but I was originally quite distrustful of non-IE browsers, simply because they weren’t made by Microsoft. Having Microsoft themselves ‘promote’ alternatives will give people confidence in them. Perhaps on their next computer/ next windows OS, people will be more adventurous…

        As for regulating competition, would you rather Microsoft controlled 100% of the market? Even if they were the best (lol) it would be extremely unhealthy. I wouldn’t particularly like to see any browser above 50% (or even 30 for that matter…)

        • http://www.pneumatig.com.pl pneumatyka

          100% cannot EVER happen on free market. Thats a fact. There always will be at least people which will want to use something else then the mainstream.

          Problem is different – Microsoft probably gained its powers because intensive lobbing. Lobbing would not exists on free market, simply because politics would not have powers to force their regulations on others. I think thats why more then 99% of the world uses MS Windows – at first, for long time, their product sucked, but was forced on administration, on government companies etc. Thanks to this they earned lot of money. Linux never had a chance.

          About “Fall of IE” – it will happen naturally anyway , but it needs time, and of course all interested parties have to act (from people I know – no one uses IE).

      • Crackerflack

        The ballot screen was Microsoft’s own idea.

        Opera didn’t “complain” to the EU. They reported a crime. Mozilla and Google joined the case and fully supported it.

        You also find health and safety rules for things like nuclear plants, hospitals and airliners disgusting?

        • http://www.pneumatig.com.pl pneumatyka

          And what exactly those examples have in common with this particular case?

          • nvm

            Didn’t you just say that you didn’t want any rules or regulation whatsoever for corporations?

          • http://www.pneumatig.com.pl pneumatyka

            Your examples are not connected with the subject, and to make everything clear and keep it simple we should stick to it.

            FIY: I never said I don’t want any rules.

  • neko

    Opera should concentrate on developing its product, and stop complaining that their buggy browser is not interested users.

    • Crackerflack

      Considering that Opera has more than 100 million users according to the BBC, it seems that at least that this number of users is interested at least. And Microsoft’s ballot screen (which Microsoft suggested after being caught breaking the law) will definitely help raise awareness.

      • nobody

        according to who? bbc couldnt care less about opera, and 100mln is opera’ own number. number that no other source – reliable or not verified

        • nvm

          It says “according to the BBC”. Was that hard to read? The BBC is a pretty damn reliable source.

          It doesn’t matter if the BBC cares or not. If they wrote that, they wrote that. Cry about it all you want, but you can’t change what the BBC says.

          • nobody

            link please

          • nvm

            Pearls before swine.

          • nobody

            you dont have this link, so cut the crap

          • nvm

            Cry more.

            BTW, Firefox is slow as hell, even slower than IE now. Chrome owns Firefox. And there’s nothing you Firefox fanboys can do about it.

          • Crackerflack

            A link: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8574883.stm

            Not that I expect you to read it, and much less accept simple facts like this one.

          • nobody

            ‘as opera reports’

            ‘as opera claims’..

            even bbc can do bad journalism basing their information on one source. and opera is THE ONLY source for this information.

            they provide neither methodology nor data to support their claims. even repeatedely asked for.

          • nvm

            You may have asked repeatedly for it because you are a clueless Firefox fanboy, but I don’t think they are looking to convince people like you in the first place.

            As I said: pearls before swine.

          • nobody

            opera never provided this data and their methodology.

            your snide and stupid comments cant hide that FACT. opera is the ONLY source of this information, and they did not disclose any other data than ’100mln, swallow it’.

            it is ok with me that you are gullible and believe everything that you are told, i prefer to verify facts myself.

            esp, when these ‘facts’ stand oposed to what all other companies say

            btw. wtf firefox has to do with opera posting data pulled out of thier ass?

          • Crackerflack

            Opera did explain their methodology, but it’s too hard for ignorant Firefox fanboys to understand that.

          • nobody

            post a link then, stating something else than vague Haavard’s ‘it can be used’.

            but you will not post it, and will continue barking

  • RamaSubbu SK

    Opera,
    Thanks for reporting this. But it is not that worth to fix! There can other startup applications like Live!Messenger, Yahoo!Messenger, ..etc all other application will also popup on top of this window. Kindly just understand the reality.

    • Crackerflack

      Those other applications are not a problem, and they are not triggered by the ballot screen.

      The point here is that the IE welcome screen is automatically triggered and opened on top of the ballot screen, blocking it until you go through it or close it.

      But hey, keep denying reality…

  • Golden Boy

    Lets face it, Opera wont stop whining until their browser is the only one in ballot screen and is always installed by default.

    • Morbus

      It’s a good strategy though, you have to admit. They’re going on the, what, 10.5 now? What a joke! All these years to settle down on the market, all those lessons taught by IE and Mozilla/Firefox and they still haven’t learned anything…

      Opera is a joke, no matter how good their browser is. It’s moderately good, but being good isn’t enough. You have to be either awesome (Firefox) or have an overwhelming marketing campaign (IE/Safari/Chrome). Otherwise you won’t cut it.

      I’m a nobody, of course, but if *I* was in the lead of Opera, I’d make it open source right there and then, probably start using WebKit or Gecko (probably Gecko) and focus on extensions and graphics. You’d see how Opera would start growing in users. Oh yes, you’d see!

      • http://www.favbrowser.com Vygantas Lipskas

        As for switching engines, I believe it’s not possible or would require extra-ordinary amount of time, as they are using same engine to run on PCs, Mobiles, TVs, etc.

      • http://www.pneumatig.com.pl pneumatyka

        Opera doesn’t need open source. There is no reason to do this. They found nice niche for themselves.

        Go open-source and go for gecko and extensions – you would get another firefox – who needs this, there are plenty already. FAIL.

        Go open-source and go for webkit and extensions – isn’t that another google chrome WITHOUT huge possibilities which managing world-wide-company-with-servers-everywhere gives. FAIL.

        Go closed-source and go for webkit and extensions – wait a second… isn’t that Safari? With less market share then any other browser ?? ;P

        Maybe closed-source and go for gecko and extensions – impossible because of licenses.

        No, no. Opera is doing great IMHO. And I’ll stand behind them, however this particular ballot case pissed me off a bit. I hope they will at least stop whining (I do not expect them to say “we were wrong”, but that would be nice one :P)

        • Morbus

          Safari isn’t open source.

          It’s good that you think Opera is doing great. I don’t, honestly, but I don’t pretend to know it all.

          • http://www.pneumatig.com.pl pneumatyka

            Its was my subjective opinion. They mostly think they are doing well. You think they don’t – ergo there cannot be objectivity in this matter. Both sides can find arguments to support their opinion. Everything depends on point of view (for one 10% share in one country can be not enough, for others it can be a lot) etc.

            Only future will tell who was right. So lets wait 10 years :)

          • http://www.pneumatig.com.pl pneumatyka

            And I wrote closed-source about Safari.

          • Crackerflack

            Is Morbus saying that Opera is not doing great despite their desktop revenue consistently growing by 50-100% quarterly, and the user base doubling every couple of years?

            Opera is doing well. It might not have Google’s online ad monopoly to push it like Firefox and Chrome do, or IE’s OS monopoly. But it’s still growing, bringing in more and more money, and reached about 50 million users in just a little over four years after removing the ads.

      • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

        Opera is perfect as it is now. Open source would make the market share goes even more down because browsers like Flock-Opera would appear and in my opinion Webkit and Gecko sucks.

        Everything you said remind me of Firefox, if you think it’s that awesome go and use it, why telling Opera to copy the crappy Gecko and Mozilla’s -fake- open source, free and “little poor foundation needing your money” idea.

      • Crackerflack

        Morbus, Morbus, Morbus…

        They’re going on the, what, 10.5 now? What a joke! All these years to settle down on the market, all those lessons taught by IE and Mozilla/Firefox and they still haven’t learned anything…

        About what? What’s a joke? It’s 10.5 because it has been around for a very long time.

        Opera is a joke, no matter how good their browser is. It’s moderately good, but being good isn’t enough. You have to be either awesome (Firefox) or have an overwhelming marketing campaign (IE/Safari/Chrome). Otherwise you won’t cut it.

        In what way? Opera’s quarterly desktop revenue has consistently increased by 50-100% for several years now. The user base has been doubling every couple of years. It has, what, 50 million desktop users by now, just four years after they removed the ads?

        And that’s without help from Google’s online advertising monopoly (unlike Chrome and Firefox).

      • Crackerflack

        Morbus a bit confused?

        They’re going on the, what, 10.5 now? What a joke! All these years to settle down on the market, all those lessons taught by IE and Mozilla/Firefox and they still haven’t learned anything…

        About what? What’s the joke? It’s 10.5 because it has been around for a very long time. It has only been free and without ads for about four years, though, and has reached about 50 million users in that time without monopolies like Microsoft or Google.

        Opera is a joke, no matter how good their browser is. It’s moderately good, but being good isn’t enough. You have to be either awesome (Firefox) or have an overwhelming marketing campaign (IE/Safari/Chrome). Otherwise you won’t cut it.

        In what way? Opera’s quarterly desktop revenue has consistently increased by 50-100% for several years now. The user base has been doubling every couple of years. It has, what, 50 million desktop users by now, just four years after they removed the ads?

        And that’s without help from Google’s online ad monopoly (unlike Chrome and Firefox).

  • aavv

    I am Opera fanboy and using it since 4 year
    and liked it very much with high speed
    put this argument from opera is just childish

    if Opera have extensions FF, Safari and Chrome does not have any chance against it. you know why?
    1- Chrom is browser form google and it serve google goals and this is unwelcome to the people (if they know google take info from them)

    2- FF is strong with extentions but without them it is nothing and its default features can not stand aginst Opera and the developmet of them is very slow compared to others

    3- Safari does not have specific featue to be recognized other than Apple brand name developer.

    • Crackerflack

      What argument is childish? You think it’s OK that the IE welcome screen appears in front of the ballot screen and even blocks it until you have accepted IE?

      • aavv

        Opera itself acclaimed that its share is double or triable in some EU countries, is int it what they want? or do you believe they seek just for all companies ?

        and Opera & M$ themselves agreed upon the scarcity of this accident in PCs, so why to complain?

        • nvm

          Opera said that downloads increased. They didn’t say anything about market share.

          You are the one complaining, not Crackerflack.

          • aavv

            So what does more download means ?

            more downloads = more share (not as 1/3 or 2/3 increase) but it indicate to something useful for opera

          • nvm

            No, downloads do not automatically translate into new users, and new users do not automatically translate into increased market share.

            If Opera gets one million new users but competitors get two million new users, Opera will have more users, but still a shrinking market share.

  • Ichann

    Why Opera? You bitched once. Commented how the browser choice screen increased shares tenfold, and yet you still whine whine whine. Why are you doing this? My respect for this company has dwindled to speck. Cant you do anything right than to bitch to your hearts contend?

    • Crackerflack

      So you see no problems what so ever with the IE welcome screen blocking the ballot screen and preventing you from even accessing it until you have accepted using IE?

      Sounds to me like you are the one bitching and whining instead of actually reading the article.

      • Ichann

        Ohh shut the f up. You know you are getting into a battle with no resolve. Why does only this company ever whine? Other browsers are getting hidden by the box as well. On a new system a user would not have IE as default to worry about shut things. Which person not even once opens IE. Infact you will need to accept the config box to dl your favourite browser (before this ballot screen)

        See that button ‘Ask me Later’? press it. In fact it will be hard not to press it and use the window behind it.

        In a statement, Microsoft said that Opera’s example only applied to a user “very likely” to be opening IE for the first time, which was “unrealistic” in the case of a user already running Windows on their PC.

        Look what he says here:

        Lie noted Opera has better things to do with its time than chase Microsoft, but: “I’m a little stubborn on this, I want this thing to work.”

        Then do it you dumbass. These guys are committing hypocrisy to themselves. Very professional of them.

        Now tell me that I haven’t read this article. Go on. Instead of pulling shit maybe YOU should do a bit of reading of yourself.

        • Ichann

          i.e: Opera people do not install XP fresh then wait for the choice screen to come up and whine. I am sure the power users ‘idiots whom insist on installing the OS 10 times a year’, do not apply to the ‘average user’

          And winXP? You want IE dead yet you go to winXP? Market share? Or is it only XP that has the problem?

        • nvm

          Heh.

          You do realize that Mozilla “whined” repeatedly about the lack of randomness and other problems with the ballot screen, right?

          Why is it OK when Mozilla “whines”, but not when Opera does it?

          Your hypocrisy comment isn’t making sense. He is clearly saying that he wish he didn’t have spend time on this, but it’s an actual problem, and considering that the ballot screen is up for continuous evaluation it’s necessary to point out problems. Why should he keep quiet about such an obvious problem? It’s not like it takes several years to mention it to the EC and/or the press either.

          But hey, keep whining.

          • Ichan

            Why is it ok that Opera is the first to whine? Why is it ok that Opera whines the loudest? Why is it ok that Opera is the first to call Foul at every little detail?

            Have you read that this ‘only applied to a user “very likely” to be opening IE for the first time, which was “unrealistic”?

            Why do you people must defend such arrogant behavior? Why can’t you hold a neutral position for each and every company?

            I know this is a statement quoted to death but ‘Don’t you think it will be better for them to build upon incorporating new features and not complaining all the time?’ – (you will probably say, Ohh the PR department is in charge of that)

            They’re new browser has gotten some attention as to being bad. Have you heard?

            I’m 100% sure that this company will cry foul if the the roles were reversed. Instead of compiling to regulations (no matter how stupid it must be). That is my friend your OPERA!

            But hey keep defending

          • nvm

            Why is it not OK to report crimes to the authorities?

            Opera is not the first to cry foul for every little detail. Mozilla pointed out the lack of randomness and other things.

            But it’s natural that Opera watches the process carefully since they reported the crime in the first place. They also know that Microsoft has a history of lying and trying to play the system.

            I’m rather amused by your comment about being neutral towards companies. You are the one who are always whining about Opera, but not about Mozilla, Google and all the other companies involved in the antitrust complaint. Hypocrisy is fun!

          • Ichann

            Let me see here.

            Isn’t it true that Opera (is) are the ones that had this negativity towards MS recently? I haven’t heard as much as a sequel from neither Mozilla or Google in that regard.

            But it’s natural that Opera watches the process carefully since they reported the crime in the first place. They also know that Microsoft has a history of lying and trying to play the system.

            Let me fix that for you.

            It’s only natural that Opera WATCHES the process carefully since THEY ARE THE LEAST USED BROWSER OF ALL TIME. Since IT HURTS THEM ANALLY THAT SEEING NEW KIDS WHOM HAVE A MUCH BIGGER MARKET SHARE THAN THEM. Classics penis envy. Or more like: Opera doesn’t have a ding-dong.

            I’m rather amused by your comment about being neutral towards companies.

            Yes I am very netural. Sad fact is this site does not have much goss on Mozilla or Google. How about “Opera donates to Charity”? I’m sure my reply will be pretty differant then.

          • nvm

            Negativity towards MS recently? You seem to be obsessed with MS. Valid criticism is not negativity. It’s actually good!

            As for usage of Opera, they have more than 100 million users now. I’m pretty sure they are happy about that considering they don’t have Google’s advertising power. Your shouting only confirms you crazy obsession with these things :D

  • http://WOFall.myopenid.com/ WOFall

    Meh. On my OEM install of windows 7, the browser ballot didn’t even install. There were 21 recommended updates. 20 of them were marked to be installed. Go figure…

    Then after installing the ballot manually and installing Opera, some other apps were still managing to open IE (windows live messenger I’m looking at you) :/

  • Dels

    luckily i’m on Asia (Southeast precisely) where people don’t really care about browser wars, oh yeah my country has one of the loyal Opera user (especially the opera mini)

    fox still win the wars, but let’s wait for next browser wars (HTML5 + CSS3 era) firefox 4, chrome 5 (6?), opera 10.5x (11?), safari 4 (5?)

  • nvm

    Man Vygantas, you are getting really desperate for readers with sensationalist titles like that. I knew there was a reason why I bothered to visit this site much less frequently…

    The title should focus on the fact that the IE introduction dialog blocking the ballot screen. All Opera did here was to say “hey, this thing doesn’t look right”.

    No one in this story is unhappy with the ballot screen itself. It’s the fact that the ballot screen is blocked by IE that is the problem.

    • nobody

      i’d guess that opera itself is rather not happy that this ‘magic pill’ didnt cure opera’s lack of marketshare. as opera undoubtly believed it would. so title is correct :)

      it ist surprising given how much basic functionalities do not work in 10.51 stable release.. stuff like ‘loading pages’

      • nvm

        I’m guessing Opera is very happy considering their downloads tripled or whatever. They even published press releases about it. So the title is still wrong.

        No problems loading pages in Opera 10.51 here, I’m afraid. Not that it’s relevant to the discussion, but I know you are keen on bashing browsers that are better than Firefox. That’s one of the reasons you claimed Chrome would just be getting slower when the opposite happened. A developer even schooled you a few weeks ago, but you never seem to learn.

        • Ichan

          You know what. They are turning into Mozilla. Quoting only ‘Download rates’. What happened to active users?

          • nvm

            They are still reporting active users. Last time they reported that was for their recent quarterly financial results I think. But hey, keep whining about Opera :D

        • nobody

          that developer was ‘shooled’ by me shortly afterwards, and didnt reply afterwards. and you as ive told you before, know too little to understand what he and i were talking about.

          if you dont have problems loading pages (DNS resolve/nsl/cache issue) then you arent using 10.5x. simple as that. opera admits that there is a serious problem with that, tries to fix it for few builds, still without luck. (what does this tell you about opera QA?)

          and their tripled download rates.. if that is true, most of them droped opera afterwards, because no statistics confirm this kind of growth. or do you want to tell us, that all stat companies are in anti-opera conspiracy? we’ve heard that before, people are not buying this crap anymore.

          • nvm

            Please give me a link to where you “schooled” him. The proof is in the pudding: The latest Chrome is faster than any version before it. This alone proves you wrong. You are just desperate because Firefox is slow as a dog, and Chrome has taken over as the “hot browser”.

            I just told you that I haven’t had any page loading problems in 10.5. Reading comprehension problems? :D

            We won’t know if people who downloaded Opera stopped using it until Opera reports on the number of desktop users again. If it’s up, people kept using it. If it’s down, they stopped using it. Pretty simple, eh?

    • Ichan

      If you are so confident make one yourself.

      If you want an alternative: http://www.browser-watch.com

      If you come here to read then I suggest you either Help out (report news) or buckle down and man up.

      • Crackerflack

        So to criticize the poor reporting on this site he needs to run his own site? I guess you’ll have to build your own browser before bashing Opera again, then!