Choice screen has little impact on IE use

European Internet Explorer usage continued to drop in the first full month following Microsoft's browser choice screen roll-out, but its losses in March were nothing to write home about.

Windows users in Europe were recently forced to choose, again, which browser they want to use, as a result of Microsoft's settlement of its long-running antitrust spat with the European Commission.

The browser choice screen, delivered via Microsoft Update, offered a choice between IE, Safari, Chrome, Opera, Firefox and a handful of lesser-known browsers.

The net result of this roll-out appears to be a 1.81 percentage point decline in IE usage in Europe between March and April, according to data from StatCounter.com.

Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox seem to be the main beneficiaries of IE's decline. Firefox is currently used by 39.26 per cent of EU surfers; its market share has barely changed over the last 12 months. Chrome is now used on 8.17 per cent of European machines, up from 5.78 per cent in January.

IE currently has 43.51 per cent of the European browser market, compared to 45.32 per cent in March and 45.5 per cent in February.

But such declines are hardly unusual. IE has been on a downward spiral in Europe and elsewhere for years. It experienced market share drops of over one percentage point in six months last year.

It lost 1.73 points between November and December last year, for example, when there was no browser choice screen.

Which begs the question: was the EU settlement a huge waste of time?