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February 2013 - The date when Firefox could pass Internet Explorer

Mark this date in your diaries and on your calendars: February 2013. It's my best guess date based on the data I have for when Firefox's global market share will surpass that of Internet Explorer.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

Mark this date in your diaries and on your calendars: February 2013. It's my best guess date based on the data I have for when Firefox's global market share will surpass that of Internet Explorer.

The other day I was asked an interesting question - when will Firefox's market share pass that of Internet Explorer. Initially I shrugged off the question and answered it with a dismissive "dunno." The question did, however, set me thinking.

Earlier today I took a trip over the the Net Applications site for a totally unrelated job, and pulled up the chart showing market share for the different browsers for the past two years. Then something struck me - the market share growth of Firefox and the decline of IE is almost linear.

Note: The data that I look at most often is Net Applications. This company draws browser and OS data based on 160 million visitors per month visiting client websites, whic means that the data is drawn from a variety of websites. I think that this is more representative than data drawn from a single website, or a group of websites on a similar subject.

Interesting.

I downloaded the data and plugged it all into Excel so I could take a closer look. I added a trendline for Firefox growth and IE's decline and confirmed that the data fits well into a linear trendline.

Cool. So people are leaving IE for Firefox at a relatively steady rate.

So, I extended the trendlines for both Firefox and IE out by 42 months and looked for an intersection. And here it is:

Click for larger image

The intersection of the two trendlines lies between January and February 2013.

How much confidence do I have in this data? Well, I wouldn't bet the farm on the date. Plenty of factors could come into play here. However, given the organic growth of Firefox so far, I think that it's quite possible that gains could become even more rapid that that predicted here.

Then again, Microsoft might be able to make using IE cool again and reverse the decline. Or other factors such as Apple Safari or Google Chrome might become more influential.

Thoughts? Anyone want to offer up some alternative dates?

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