Internet Explorer should worry about Chrome, not Firefox: Blame Europe?

Summary:With Internet Explorer 9 set to be finalized in weeks, it is entirely possible that Microsoft should worry more about Chrome's increasing marketshare, rather than focusing on its war with Mozilla.

The browser race is hotting up once again. With the Internet Explorer release candidate already out and prepped to be the most advanced, quickest browser to date, Mozilla is pushing forward its draft roadmap to complete four major revisions by the end of this year.

But if you take a look at the marketshare stats, and combine a free thinking mind of theory for a moment, the numbers may not be in either Microsoft or Mozilla's favour for long.

Why? Blame Europe.

Since the browser ballot rollout across Europe in March 2010, where regulators forced Microsoft to issue an update to Windows giving users the option to switch browser, the browser marketshare in Europe has been steadily declining. The update is indicated below as the vertical red line.

It doesn't quite explain the growth of Chrome, however. Arguably, had the browser ballot not been rolled out, Chrome's marketshare growth would still have increased though not as exponentially as though seen.

The EU wser ballot has indeed shown to impact on the global marketshare. It is entirely possible that Europe, with a population nearly twice that of the United States, could make all the difference.

The current state of the marketshare from a worldwide perspective can be seen below. Internet Explorer has been on a decline since the browser ballot while Firefox maintains relatively consistently, as Chrome rockets nearly doubling its user base in as little as a year.

So where does this leave Microsoft and Mozilla?

On the presumption that both Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4, 5, 6 and 7 let us not forget have no significant impact on the marketshare, it is entirely possible that Chrome could kick the stool underneath the crown of Internet Explorer in Europe and take the top spot in as little as a year from now.

Around this time next year, based on some basic maths and averages, Internet Explorer could be taken over by Chrome. Then again, stats are notoriously difficult to predict.

The problem with the ongoing browser war is the vast number of variables involved, the technological guesswork behind the statistics and the natural fluctuation in people's needs.

Yet the figures do show that in Europe, the browser marketshare has been impacted greatly by the browser ballot. Chrome's jump in users will only perpetuate as the new kid on the block, while Firefox users are sticking to their guns on the most part, but in many cases are defecting to Chrome, which would explain the slight decline in their numbers.

Do you think Chrome be the true contender for Internet Explorer?

Topics: Browser, Microsoft

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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