I have to admit, as a child of the 90s, I did enjoy Microsoft's latest ad attempting to woo people back to Internet Explorer by bringing up nostalgia about Tamagotchi, pog, troll dolls, and Hungry, Hungry Hippos.
Following glossy recalls of the things that Gen Y grew up with and contrasting it to the world today, like a troll being a friend or lunch not being a picture, Microsoft is attempting to rejuvenate the IE name, which it clearly sees as being something deeply unpopular with the generation who are in the early stages of adulthood. The line at the end of the commercial--"You grew up; so did we"-along with a shiny new Tumblr at browseryoulovedtohate.com, tells you all the reasons why IE is better. It's faster, it's designed for touchscreens, there's an entire new user interface--Microsoft's reasons go on and on.
There were predictions that IE's marketshare would slip below 50 percent, but despite a low of just over 51 percent in December 2011, IE's marketshare has been largely stable for the last year.
So why go after Gen Y at all?
It really comes down to the perception of Internet Explorer. A lot of people in this age group, particularly the tech savvy among us, grew up knowing how god-awful IE was, and have since stuck to alternate browsers. Down the track, when the workforce becomes more Gen Y and less Baby Boomer, there's every chance that IE's marketshare could slip under 50 percent, and just keep going. Getting in early to address the image problem could go a long way.
But for now, the immediate battle is going to be between Firefox and Chrome, who are locked in battle at around 20 percent marketshare. I personally still use both on a daily basis, though my current preference is Chrome. I have, however, been somewhat convinced to not give Firefox away entirely, thanks to ZDNet's Australian Editor Chris Duckett's recent comparison, which showed that Firefox is beginning to perform a bit better than it used to.