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Mozilla announces massive losses due to Microsoft "technical error"

Mozilla allegedly lost out on several million Firefox browser downloads because of Microsoft's failure to display a court-mandated browser choice screen to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 customers.

According to a blog post (opens in new tab) by Harvey Anderson, Mozilla's general counsel and VP of business affairs, between six and nine million downloads were lost during the period in question.

The European Commission in December 2009 declared that Microsoft must present European Windows users with a screen displaying the most popular alternatives to Internet Explorer, but it has recently emerged that Microsoft failed to act in accordance with the obligation (opens in new tab) for approximately 15 months.

Anderson states that, immediately prior to the fix, Firefox downloads had decreased by 63 per cent, to a low of 20,000 per day. Daily downloads then climbed to 50,000 after the fix was issued, growing by a massive 150 per cent.

Anderson's blog post concludes, "After accounting for the aggregate impact on all the browser vendors, it seems like this technical glitch decreased downloads and diminished the effectiveness of the remedy ordered in the 2009 Commitments."

If Mozilla decides to take Microsoft to court over financial losses, the Redmond-based company could be hit with fines of up to 10 per cent of its annual earnings.

Microsoft maintains that a "technical error" was to blame for the glaring oversight (opens in new tab).

Aatif is a freelance copywriter and journalist based in the UK. He’s written about technology, science and politics for publications including Gizmodo, The Independent, Trusted Reviews, Newsweek, and ITProPortal.