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Microsoft hopes charity push will spur IE downloads

The software maker will donate meals to a food bank for each person that downloads its new browser through a special Web site.

Artists put the finishing touches on a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge constructed from soup cans. The stunt was aimed at drawing awareness to Microsoft's Browser for the Better campaign, in which the software maker is donating to a food bank for each download of Internet Explorer 8. Microsoft

Although Microsoft is pulling Internet Explorer 8 out of Windows 7 in Europe, the software maker is also busy in the U.S. trying to get folks to download its latest browser.

CNET News Poll

Browser charity
Will Microsoft's donation offer prompt you to download Internet Explorer 8?

I already have IE 8.
Yes. It's for a good cause.
No. It's a shameless promotion.

View results

One piece of the effort is a charity push in which Microsoft will donate meals to a food bank for each person that downloads IE 8 via a special "Browser for the Better" Web site. Technically, the company is donating $1.15 per completed download, up to a maximum of $1 million.

Although Microsoft is also pushing out Internet Explorer 8 over Windows Update and including a version of it with Windows 7 (except in Europe), the company is trying to build awareness of the latest version and spur active usage.

The software maker has seen its browser share--which once topped 90 percent--continue to decline, with Mozilla's Firefox having gained considerable ground. The company also faces competition from Apple, Google and others in the browser arena.

As of last month, Internet Explorer's global market share stood at 65.5 percent, according to Net Applications, compared with 22.5 percent for Firefox, 8.4 percent for Safari, and 1.8 percent for Google's Chrome.

To draw attention to the food donation effort, the company staged events in San Francisco and New York this week. In San Francisco, the company had an artist build a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge out of soup cans. I checked it out and did a short video interview with Microsoft's Pete LaPage about the effort.

The company is also running a series of online ads trying to highlight some of the browser's features, such as its support for "accelerators" that aim to make it quicker to get to tasks like mapping and blogging.

<br><a href="" target="_blank" title="S.H.Y.N.E.S.S. - Internet Explorer 8" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow" data-component="externalLink">Video: S.H.Y.N.E.S.S. - Internet Explorer 8</a>

So what do you think, is the promise of Microsoft donating money enough to make you download IE 8? And what about the ads, do they make you hungry for more or just lose your lunch?