Browser ballot screen works wonders for Opera

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Browser ballot screen works wonders for Opera

Celebrates dramatic rise in downloads.

Opera has seen a sharp rise in downloads of its web browser since Microsoft launched its browser ballot screen on Monday.

The company said that downloads had tripled in several major EU countries, including France, Spain and the UK, while downloads in Opera's home country of Norway rose an impressive 400 percent.

Rolf Assev, chief strategy officer at Opera, explained that the ballot screen had clearly had an impact on downloads, and that users are taking advantage of the new choices.

"As far as choosing Opera we are seeing a positive response in all markets. Even in countries with high Internet Explorer use, we see that people are very responsive and open to new alternatives," he said.

The European Commission (EC) also welcomed the introduction of the ballot screen. Competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia said that the choice will raise awareness of alternatives to Internet Explorer.

"Web browsers are the gateway to the internet. Giving consumers the possibility to switch or try a browser other than that included in Windows will bring more competition and innovation in this important area," he added.

Almunia also believes that more competition in the browser market will help drive the development of open web standards, which he said are "critical for the further development of an open internet".

The EC expects the ballot screen to be displayed on over 100 million PCs in Europe between now and the middle of May.

Firefox maker Mozilla had yet to reply to a request for download figures at the time of publication. Google declined to release its figures for Chrome.

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