Small browser firms rail against new ballot screen

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Small browser firms rail against new ballot screen

Solution falls short for all but the top five.

A group of little-known web browser developers is pushing for more space on Microsoft's new browser ballot page.

Six companies have petitioned the European Union about the ballot page, which appears to show a range of just five browsers unless customers use the scroll bar to view more examples.

"The final choice screen design leaves the vast majority of users unaware that there are more than five browsers to choose from," the six firms said in their petition.

The petition is signed by the makers of browsers called Avant, Flock, Maxthon, Slim, Sleipnir and Green. The maker of the other browser on offer, K-Meleon, did not sign it.

At issue is the fact that web users have to scroll right through the site to see each of the alternatives, which the group believes many may miss.

"We are only requesting the simple addition of any text or design element that would indicate to an average user that there are choices to the right of the visible screen," said the petition.

Maxthon said in a statement: "The agreement between Microsoft and the European Council calls for the five browsers that are currently most popular in Europe to be displayed in random order on the part of the web ballot that first greets the user. The remaining seven browsers are lurking, in random order, just to the right."

Flock, meanwhile, said that the rollout of the ballot screen had been well received and described it as a "banner day" for the company.

"The fact that millions of users can now choose a browser that fits their needs is the good news. Unfortunately, there’s some bad news too," wrote Flock chief executive Shawn Hardin in a blog posting.

"It doesn’t achieve the European Commission’s stated objective to provide 'information on the 12 most widely-used web browsers and to allow users to easily download and install one or more of these web browsers'."

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