Chrome and Internet Explorer locked in Web browser desktop battle

Chrome has moved ahead of Internet Explorer recently, but IE is making a comeback.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
Chrome is still in the lead, but IE is closing the gap.

I'm a big Chrome fan and so are many other people since Chrome recently became the world's favorite browser, but according to StatCounter's August numbers, Internet Explorer (IE), has been making a comeback.

By StatCounter's count, Chrome passed Internet Explorer during the week of May 13th. StatCounter's stats are based on a sample of 15 billion page views in the company's network and they show that Chrome was gradually pulling away from IE. As  Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter's CEO wrote in a blog posting in July . "There is much greater competition now. Although IE still leads in countries such as the US and UK, on a worldwide basis Google's Chrome overtook IE in May and maintained a narrow lead in June."

In August, though, IE started taking some market share back. Chrome had increased its lead in July, 33.81% to IE's 32.04% but IE closed the gap in August. By the end of the month, Chrome lost a bit, to 33.59% and IE had gained some to reach 32.85%.

Some of IE's gains were at Chrome's expense, but the real loser has been Firefox. The long time number two Web browser dropped from 23.73% in July to 22.8% in August.

After a long decline, IE is back on its way up while Firefox continues its decline.

So why is this happening? In part, it seems to be that Firefox has lost some of its mojo in recent years. It's no longer the fastest browser and it's once strongest feature—its multitude of extensions and add-on programs—is no longer unique.

As to why IE is making a come-back... I can only speculate. There has been no new release of IE, well Chrome, as always keeps popping out new releases every six weeks. Thus, the latest IE for XP is still IE 8, for IE 9 is still Windows 7's default browser , while  Chrome is now up to Chrome 21 with 22 soon to come.

You might guess that the gain was due to IE 10, which is the released to manufacturing (RTM) Windows 8's default Web browser, but a closer look at StatCounter's data shows that IE 10 still doesn't have any market share worth mentioning. The biggest gain by version is for IE 9, so perhaps what we're seeing is Windows XP users moving to Windows 7 and giving IE 9 a fair shake.

Will Microsoft continue to gain back market share? Or, at least stabilize its share of the market? Some people, like Matt Asay, VP of Business Development at Nodeable, a big data analytics company, thinks “the trend among web developers is clearly away from IE and toward open-source browsers therefore, “unless the company can renew developers enthusiasm for the little blue e, expect the bottom to fall out of Internet Explorer's market share.”

We shall see what we shall see. The one thing we do know for certain is that the Web browser wars are still far from done. 

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