Microsoft IE loses more market share -

Microsoft's market share in the browser market is falling faster than a team of skydiving elephants which have forgotten to pack the key ingredient of their act.

Punters in France, Britain and Italy, apparently all walked away from Internet Exploder after Microsoft started to make it easier for European consumers to use competing browsers.

According to web statistics firm Statcounter, Internet Explorer's share of all Web surfing has in March dropped in France by 2.5 percentage points from February, in Britain by 1 percentage point and in Italy by 1.3 points.

Opera, the fourth largest browser firm, has seen downloads more than double in Europe from normal levels due to the choice screen, with downloads in Italy, Spain and Poland more than tripling.

Mozilla, says it has seen strong growth. "We have seen significant growth in the number of new Firefox users as a result of the Ballot Choice screen. We expect these numbers to increase as the Ballot Choice screen fully rolls out across all countries," said a spokeswoman for Mozilla.

Of course market share could have also fallen because Germany and France all warned businesses not to use Internet Exploder until Microsoft fixed a particularly nasty zero day bug.

The argument would be once people tried something other than IE they never went back.

If the browser firms are telling the truth and the reason is because Microsoft started offering a choice, then it means that Redmond's protests that tying the browser to the operating did not harm competition were all wrong.

The EU can also pat its self on the back in that it did something that America didn't have the balls to do and resulted in opening out the browser market.