Browser trench warfare: Early 2014 report

Browser trench warfare: Early 2014 report

Summary: As always who's winning the Web browser wars depends on whose numbers you believe. But the ranking charts all agree on one thing: There's been little change at the top in early 2014.


As usual, NetMarketShare has Internet Explorer (IE) as the most popular Web browser with a global marketshare of 58.19 percent in February 2014. That represents a minute decrease from January's 58.21 percent. Its rival Web browser measurement company, StatCounter, on the other hand, has Chrome as king of the world on the browser mountain with 43.82 percent of February's market. This is a slight gain from January's 43.67 percent. The one thing that both agree on is that the most popular Web browser wars have become trench warfare: The top browser's marketshare aren't moving.

NetMarketShare Web Browser Feb 2014
As has been the case for ages, NetMarketShare has Internet Explorer as the top Web browser by a comfortable margin.

The reason there's such a big difference between NetMarketShare and StatCounter's numbers is that they use very different methodologies. I prefer StatCounter's numbers myself. In part that's because when I looked at ZDNet's own Web browser statistics for August 2013, Chrome was the number one browser, albeit by not nearly as wide a margin as StatCounter's figures.

StatCounter Web Browsers Feb 2014
While StatCounter, also as usual, has Chrome as the top Web browser by a wide margin.

Overall, the battle for the second and third spots does show some movement. By NetMarketShare's reckoning, Chrome is continuing to move ahead of Firefox. In February, Chrome had gained a half of a percent to reach 16.84 percent. This seems to have come at Firefox's expense, which dropped to 17.68 percent from 18.02 percent. NetMarketShare has Firefox as being in a slow decline for months now.

StatCounter, however, has IE as number two with 22.61 percent in February. This is a slight drop from its January mark of 22.85 percent. And who's gaining on IE? Why it's none other than Firefox. The popular open-source browser moved up to 19.29 percent from 18.9 percent.

As for the other popular Web browsers, Safari and Opera, both are far in the rear no matter whose numbers you use. NetMarketShare has Safari with 5.67 percent, while StatCounter has Apple's browser at a more respectable 9.68 percent Opera, alas, continued mired in last place with 1.23 percent by NetMarketShare's numbers and 1.34 percent by StatCounter's measuring stick.

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Topics: Networking, Browser, Web development

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  • Browser trench warfare: Early 2014 report

    A browser is a tool, use what works for you.
    • It's becoming more difficult for those of us that prefer Mozilla Firefox

      o iOS is not an option
      o Windows RT is not an option
      o Chrome OS is not an option
      o There is Firefox for Android in Google Play, but the add-on selection is quite limited relative to the desktop
      o Firefox for Android isn't available in Amazon's app store
      o add-ons are not supported on Firefox OS
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • I use Mercury on iOS

        I use Firefox everywhere else.

        My preference is always to use the same software on all platforms, but sometimes compromises have to be made.
        John L. Ries
  • Use a browser that doesn't invade your privacy.

    Stay away from anything Google, you are better off that way.
    • So, it's better to use Internet Explorer to access one's Facebook account?

      Given that Microsoft has a stake in Facebook, that's what it'd prefer from Windows users.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Yeah, 1.6% is quite a stake

        more like a good investment since that $240 million is now worth over a billion.
  • Safari

    Well... if we assumed Safari followed its desktop numbers both statcounter and netmarketshare numbers are explainable.

    Nobody not on an Apple platform uses Safari but many Apple users still use Chrome or other browsers.

    So from this Id take the netmarketshare 5.67% number as the more accurate as the statcounter nearly exceeds the number of Mac Desktops, a statistical improbability.
  • chrome

    Assuming chrome is the leading alternative browser for statcounters numbers to add up chrome would have nearly none of the Mac market, i.e. a statistical insignificant percentage while having a dominant market share position on Windows.

    Conversely by netmarketshare numbers Chrome would have about equal portions of both the Mac and Windows markets.

    Logic would indictate the statcounter numbers don't make any sense.
    • He chose StatCounter's numbers as the "accuarate" ones for one reason only

      they show Chrome on top.

      I say take all the numbers from various reports, average them out, and go with that.
  • Chrome Drive By's

    Love it when I occasionally assist fiends and associates with computer problems and some have Chrome installed. I mention, Hey I see you have the Chrome browser installed. Always too funny when they reply "What's that? ". Yet another victim of not unchecking a box when downloading some other software package or fooled into clicking on the wrong button like on LOL
  • Baytrail Tablet PCs

    With the growing assortment of Baytrail full Windows PC tablets, I would expect the IE numbers to start rising till Google or Mozilla creates a touch optimized Metro version of their browser. But then with Android tablets getting cheaper and those cheaper tablets being actually not that bad, I can also see the developing world using a lot of Android tablets with Chrome.
    Rann Xeroxx
  • Statcounter misleading

    Chrome is the only browser which does NOT use a special header for preloaded pages thus statcounter simply includes those as Chrome traffic. Chrome happens to preload more than any other browser and it's no surprise, as a consequence, it dominates Statcounter numbers.
    Statcounter claims to have addressed Chrome preloads, but it is technically impossible while Chrome doesn't give the means to differentiate the preload.
    Statcounter is bullsh17.
  • The optimal outcome is stalemate

    As long as no browser is dominant, webmasters are encouraged to build and maintain browser independent websites adhering to open standards published by W3C and others (it would be foolish not to). If one gains a large majority of the market (or if two are fighting for dominance), then we start to see the publishers of those browsers encourage the development of browser-specific websites so as better to dominate the server and development tool markets.

    A return to the Browser Wars of the 1990s would definitely be a bad thing. End users are better served by a competitive market.
    John L. Ries
    • Browser Wars of the 1990s have morphed into

      Mobile Platform Wars of the 2x00s. The platforms are all pushing their own browsers. Even Amazon defaults with its Silk web browser on its Fire HD tablets. Android is currently the only mobile platform that is truly open to alternative web browsers. I have the same expectation from Canonical, Ltd., with Ubuntu.

      This has forced Mozilla into developing Firefox OS and has forced Opera into dropping its Presto rendering engine for Google's Blink.

      Microsoft chooses not to offer Internet Explorer on competing platforms as does Apple with Safari (even, now, on the desktop).

      Note: I consider Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT to be Microsoft's (current) mobile operating systems.
      Rabid Howler Monkey

    I always see browser usage trends here:
    You should see on weekdays and weekends.
  • A "whatever" moment.

    I tend to agree with RickLively"

    "A browser is a tool, use what works for you."

    On the other hand, I have one bone to pick with the article itself.

    SJVN says " I prefer StatCounter's numbers myself. In part that's because when I looked at ZDNet's own Web browser statistics for August 2013, Chrome was the number one browser, albeit by not nearly as wide a margin as StatCounter's figures."

    And lets be as obvious as we can here, ZDNet is an IT website. I cant begin to recall all the times I seen comments from posters around here cooing and awing over Chromes split second differences in speed over IE. As if we were watching an Olympic downhill skiing event where what matters is whos fastest even if the differences between number one two and 3 are in the fractions of a second. For some, maybe particularly for some here who work in IT is such that that split second of difference does make the difference for you in some rational way.

    But that s not necessarily at all how the millions on millions of Joe Averages see it. I strongly suspect that a slightly disproportionate number of visitors to ZDNet use Chrome as opposed to IE. And where even SJVN admits that even though ZDNets numbers note Chrome as #1, its not by as wide a margin as Statcounters numbers, I suggest that if anything ZDNets numbers of Chrome users should be higher than the average population, not lower, if indeed Statcounter is what SVJN is saying is the most accurate number.
  • Using Internet Explorer, makes no sense

    Granted, until you know of alternative browsers, you won't but use IE. Seriously, though, it is so annoying and ridiculous to use, you begin to wonder what else you can use. I'm trying to remember how I found out about Firefox; maybe I was looking up something related to 'browser', and found out about it that way, sometime during its version 3. Once I tried it, saw the huge difference in options and flexibility, I never wanted to use IE again. But you can't delete IE, it's core to Windows.

    So, the first and often only use of IE, is to download Firefox. Chrome is awful, but not as bad as IE.