Amid Antitrust Concerns, Microsoft Turns to Charity Effort to Promote IE 8

The good news for Microsoft when it comes to Internet Explorer 8 is that the new browser is fast and has been well received.  The bad news is that despite choosing not to bundle the browser with Windows 7 in Europe, the company faces antitrust charges from the EU which believes its efforts are not good enough.

Unable to spread IE 8 via Windows 7 in certain markets, Microsoft has turned to charity efforts to draw attention to IE 8 and increase the number of downloads.  Much like Microsoft’s CashBack effort in the search sector, the company is looking to put its money where its mouth is.  This time though, it will donate money to charity for each download of the new browser.

Users looking to take part can travel to Microsoft’s “Browser for the Better” site, and download IE 8.  For each download Microsoft will donate $1.15, up to a total of $1M USD.

Last week events were held in San Francisco and New York to publicize the new effort.  Tech news site CNET reported at the San Francisco event, which included an artist building a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge out of soup cans.

Microsoft has also been pushing Internet Explorer 8 via Windows Update, and will be shipping it with Windows 7 outside of Europe.  However, the company is concerned that not enough people are actively using the browser.  A recent study by Net Applications showed Internet Explorer near its lowest levels in years, only taking 65.5 percent of the market, with Firefox taking up 22.5 percent, Apple’s Safari at 8.4 percent, and Google Chrome at 1.8 percent.  Internet Explorer once held over 90 percent of the market.

The company has also launched a series of online ads to promote the new browser.  The charity push is not Microsoft’s first — Microsoft has held a number of past efforts.  Charity is in the company’s roots with billionaire-founder Bill Gates being perhaps the most renowned philanthropist of the late twentieth century.

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