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Innovation

Browser wars and market share

A few days ago I commented on the browser wars between Internet Explorer and Firefox. These wars are getting more heated as Mozilla and Microsoft are both coming out with newer and more feature full browsers.
Written by Chris Clay Clay, Contributor on

A few days ago I commented on the browser wars between Internet Explorer and Firefox. These wars are getting more heated as Mozilla and Microsoft are both coming out with newer and more feature full browsers. What I've taken notice is how Firefox has been slowly chipping away at Internet Explorer's market share. Even before the Browser Ballot was introduced in Europe, Firefox has been stealing away market share from Internet Explorer since 2006. Several organizations sample server data to try and get a handle on the exact ratio between the two. It seems that from most data, Firefox is around 25-30% of global market share, and Internet Explorer around 55-62%. Other browsers like Opera, Chrome, and Safari make up the remaining share. What is especially interesting about this is that Windows still has about 92% of this market share in operating systems, as opposed to alternative operating systems like Mac OS X and Linux. This means that a good portion of Windows users are going out of their way to avoid Internet Explorer, and choosing an alternative browser like Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc.

I've taken samples of web server data myself, and over the past few years this data has been pretty much in line with data from sites like Net Applications NetMarketShare. But recently in February, I noticed a huge jump with Firefox and decrease with Internet Explorer. Our own data shows global current usage of Firefox at 42.54% and Internet Explorer at 42.29%. While this is only a small sample, it is interesting at the trend and shows both browsers head to head. It will be interesting to see where this leads over the next year or so. It definitely shows the same trend, that Internet Explorer is losing share despite Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9 (which will NOT install on Windows XP). Microsoft has some work to do if they want to continue to dominate the browser wars. I think that competition is good, and finally Microsoft is being forced to innovate and compete more and more. This should hopefully result in higher quality and more feature rich software for all.

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