Is Microsoft losing its grip of tiny Eastern European markets?
Everybody pisses on Internet Explorer, and nowhere more so than in Europe, where antitrust issues have dogged Microsoft for years. Two years back, the European Commission forced the company to sell a version of Windows without its built-in media player. (Flop.) Now, as The New York Timesreports, the EC has secured an agreement with Microsoft--ducking a long, costly legal fight for once--to offer consumers an alphabetical list of alternative browsers. Says the Times, "Rival browser makers had been upset that Microsoft had planned to list the browser choices alphabetically, giving Apple's Safari browser an advantage." So European users of Windows 7 will be able to select and download options to Internet Explorer, though it's still the dominant browser in Europe (and worldwide), with about 64 percent of the market (per NetApplications).
With two small exceptions: The Times cites French research firm AT Internet Institute to the effect that "Internet Explorer now trails Firefox in Hungary and Slovakia." Did you read that, Steve Ballmer? We've lost Hungary and Slovakia! There will be sleepless nights in Redmond as the company tries to halt the tipping dominoes. What's next after Hungary and Slovakia... Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Andorra, or San Marino? Where will the slide end?