Mozilla’s EU Browser Choice Submission

And so it came to pass, after months of watching and opining and speculating, that in mid-December we got the letter from Microsoft’s attorneys. The European Commission had adopted a decision settling its current tying case with Microsoft. Among other things, this decision introduced a mandatory browser choice screen for Microsoft Windows users. Would we like to participate?

(Yes, we would.)

Our deliverables had to be submitted by January 15. Others in our (amazing, amazing) community did all the real work, but since I was asked to pick up the coordination and delivery of those pieces, I wanted to talk about them a little.

In broad strokes, Microsoft asked us for 3 things:

  1. An icon for the choice screen itself
  2. Localized content for each supported locale
  3. Administrative pieces that aren’t really interesting here.

First things first, then.


Firefox Logo Submission

Among the many things for which I take no credit, I take no credit for this. Patrick Finch and Jennifer Boriss worked the logo question up and down. There was market research in more than a dozen countries, there were mechanical turks, and a great deal of analysis from all quarters. Taking the research as a whole, this design led the others by a healthy margin. It beat other background colours*, it beat other styles, and it beat versions that omitted the word “mozilla” to focus harder on the product brand. Design decisions tend to be very personal, but Patrick and Boriss ran this thing like champs, and by the numbers.

[*Curiously, in Italy a version with an orange background did significantly better than the green. We asked if we could provide an icon per locale. No such luck.]

Localized Content

We were also asked to supply a 140-character* product description in each of 23 languages, specifically:

Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian (Bokmal), Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish

In what is fast becoming a pattern, I can take no credit for making this happen, either. Patrick (always Patrick) worked with StaÅ›, Seth, and our amazing localizers, and collectively they got it done.

Got it overdone, really. Our team noted that while the EU has 23 “working” languages (and two more that are official EEA languages), we were quite capable of providing several more as well. They also pointed out that there were some surprises in the list supplied – it was similar, but not identical, to the EU working languages list. Maltese and Gaelic had been dropped, Croatian and Norwegian had been added. We offered to supply the missing ones, along with some others, but we heard back that, no, the choice screen will be limited to those 23. You can see our complete submission, here.

[*No, I do not believe that this limit was introduced in order to make them more tweetable. Tip o’ the hat to old Friedhelm though.]

Next Steps

Content! We have a little more than a month before the Browser Choice page goes live, and that means the localization and web dev teams (and Patrick…) are pushing to get everything ready for our new visitors. While we get that together, Microsoft will be running QA on the page itself in all 23 languages. We don’t get to QA the pages ourselves, but they have been responsive throughout this process; I trust that any issues they discover with our content will be brought to our attention quickly.

We did confirm that users in locales outside of the 23 requested will be shown the en-GB version of the Browser Choice page, which may give us the ability to wire up the Tell Me More and Download links with additional locale smarts if we want to provide extra information for those users.

So there you have it. We got the first pass done on a tight schedule, and we’ll get the rest in on time, too. At the end of the day, though, I think Mitchell put it best:

While the ballot mechanism represented by the choice screen has received the most attention, Mozilla is most pleased with the core principles Microsoft will be adopting that protect the choices a person has already made. These principles won’t be obvious to a person using Windows. That’s the point — once a person has chosen an alternative browser, IE should not keep reappearing. These principles are expressed in several components of the commitments and together should result in a greater respect for individual human decisions.


  1. Kurt (supernova_00)

    I only tried to en-GB links but both links to download and for more information do not work.

  2. @Kurt – like I say – content is the thing we have left to do! 🙂

  3. I can’t help but think that the sentence “Uw onlineveiligheid is voor Firefox de hoogste prioriteit” sounds a bit awkward in Dutch. I think onlineveiligheid (online security) is not a real word (although Dutch allows for combining words into new ones, sticking together everything does not always make things better). Also the sentence itself sounds like a too close translation of English, but that’s hard to explain here.

  4. The text could definitely have been better.

    Are there any browsers, for which online security is not a top priority? Are there any browsers that is not free [1]? Or said in other words: Change the product name, and the text could be used by any of the browsers on the list.

    It would have been better to tell people about the things that makes Firefox stand out from other browsers. Like the possibility to customize it with themes, and addons. And then some more generic words like making the internet a better, more personal experience.

    [1] Don’t tell me, that free is referring to the open source. For ordinary users there is only one meaning of the word free in this context.

  5. the german product description (especially the part: “…übernimmt ihren computer nicht…” also sounds strange,
    i do not know if this also is a bit askward in english but this is the translated sentence:
    “[firefox] doesnt overtake your computer”
    and there is a grammar mistake.
    that firefox is made to help you get most out of the web isnt even mentioned in the german translation
    so i think this text should be overworked a second time

  6. I agree with Pino. There’s a mistake in the Dutch description (onlineveiligheid should be “online veiligheid”).

    And it sounds indeed a bit.. literally translated, but that’s a smaller issue imho.

  7. I also suggest to put more emphasis on the ability to customize the way Firefox looks and behaves.
    However, I would keep mentions to security and the fact that it is free.

  8. Hi Jonathon,

    I’ve recently become a new mom and would love to get a set of the old books of knowledge if they are available. Could you help me ?A couple of people who responded to your post seem to have them. Thanks and regards
    Deepa – 919341258296

  9. Can you please remove the blank befor the “!” in the french translation at the end of the line. Thanks!
    Otherwise the “!” can stand alone in the next line.

  10. The Portuguese could be better. It doesn’t appear to have been vetted by a native speaker. The noun/adjective order needs to be switched from the English convention, a compound verb simplified to the way people actually talk, and it needs a pronoun fixed. (I saw all these errors and I am not even a native speaker!)

    Instead of “A sua segurança é a principal prioridade do Firefox. O Firefox é grátis e é feito para o ajudar a ter o melhor da web.”, it should read: “A sua segurança é a prioridade principal do Firefox. O Firefox é grátis e feito para te ajudar a ter o melhor da web.” Perhaps it should even be more like the Spanish version, ie: “Sua segurança na Internet é a prioridade principal do Firefox. Firefox é grátis e te permite obter o melhor da web.”

  11. For those who have suggestions on how to perfect the translations of certain languages, please feel free to comment in these bugs with very specific changes to the existing strings:



    Your comments about the translation word choices by our volunteer localizers will be very appreciated by those teams.

  12. Staś Małolepszy

    We’re seeing more and more comments suggesting changes to translations. Thanks to all who shared their opinions!

    I’m sure the localizers would appreciate your feedback, so if you feel strongly about the translations that we are going to use and would like to suggest improvements, please follow the link below, find the appropriate bug (corresponding to the language you’re commenting on) and leave a comment.


  13. In portuguese (Pt-PT) the usage of the “tu” is highly informal so “Voçê” should be used, in fact the two phrases are correctly written in protuguese (if one considers the meaning that was given in english) , “principal prioridade” and “prioridade principal” are double affirmative so they are technically correct both ways.

    The only questionable things are the references to the “gratis” (“free of charge” in portuguese) … if you want to say that it is “free” you should have placed “gratuito” instead(same word as in italian).
    And specially the “ter” (to have) … “conseguir”(achieve/to get) sounded better.
    Another thing … using the subject (firefox) is sometimes omited in portuguese.

  14. I just noticed something.

    In the portuguese translation the “online” word was droped.

    Where it reads “A sua segurança eá principal prioridade do firefox.” should be”A sua segurança a navegar éa principal prioridade do Firefox”.

    “a navegar” is a good translation for”online”.

  15. Do you have a view on the process that will be followed once a browser has been selected in the choice page and what would happen if the download fails, for example, if the Internet connection is lost? I have been trying to find this information and I cannot find anything that details these errror conditions.

  16. Thanks to everyone for the localization comments – we’ve made a couple of corrections based on the feedback there and will ask Microsoft if we can make the change.

    @Tim – I don’ know what that process will be, I can only speculate that this is part of Microsoft’s QA plan. If you do find an answer elsewhere, though, I hope you’ll let me know.

  17. […] the most hectic months for me in my time at Mozilla in preparing for the browser choice screen.  Johnath provided the details of our submission to Microsoft for the browser choice screen itself […]