Google’s Chrome was the only web browser application to gain global market share last month, with all other major browser platforms showing month-to-month declines, according to Net Applications.Mozilla’s Firefox browser – which had been racking up steady gains at Microsoft’s expense through November 2009 — saw its global market share fall for the third straight month, the web metrics firm reported.

Microsoft’s launch beginning this month of a new Windows browser ballot in Europe gives Mozilla a major opportunity to boost its market share. But as a recent Ipsos MORI survey indicates, European consumers still need to become educated about what the browser ballot means for them.

Nearly three-quarters of Internet users in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Poland and Spain are not aware of the browser-choice screen coming their way, the survey reported. To counteract this lack of awareness, Microsoft’s rival has launched a campaign “to encourage people to make smart informed decisions about the technologies that they use,” according to Mozilla CEO John Lilly.

IE’s Market Slide

For Microsoft, the browser ballot mandated by its antitrust settlement with the European Commissionthreatens to further exacerbate Internet Explorer’s market slide. According to Net Applications, IE has lost 6.19 points of global market share since last April. Data from Dublin-based StatCounter similarly indicates that Microsoft has lost nearly 6.5 points of market share during the period.

Beginning Monday, European browser users will be able to learn more about the alternative browser choices by clicking on the links that appear in the browser ballot’s list, which includes Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari. What’s more, the ballot even provides European PC users with the ability to turn access to IE on or off.

The choices that European PC users now face are important because the browser platform they choose is responsible for providing the necessary tools for managing their online lives and to protect their privacy and security, noted Lilly and Mozilla Foundation Chairman Mitchell Baker. “Whether or not you decide to keep your current web browser, we encourage you to learn more about your browser and the impacts it has on the way you see the world, and to make your own choice,” they said.


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