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Browser War Hots Up: Google plays favorites, Firefox hits 20% market share
engine




msg:3818415
 11:21 am on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Browser Wars Hots Up [vnunet.com]
The latest data on browser market share indicates that Mozilla has broken the 20 per cent barrier in worldwide adoption.

Data collected by Net Applications showed Firefox’s November market share was 20.78 per cent, with Microsoft’s Internet explorer falling below 70 per cent for the first time. Google’s Chrome browser was used by less than one per cent of the internet population.

Browser Wars Hots Up [news.cnet.com]
Google, of course, has good reasons for pushing upgrades, just as Microsoft has had its own good reasons for forced upgrades. Better security, lowered support burdens, etc. Just because a vendor wants its customer base to upgrade to a newer version doesn't suggest nefarious design. In fact, it often implies the opposite.

But by offering links only to Firefox and Chrome for its upgrade, Google is doing something that helped to make Microsoft the 8,000-ton gorilla on the desktop: playing favorites.


 

kksite123




msg:3818420
 11:35 am on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Will be very interesting to see where this battle goes in 2009.

Any estimations on what the market shares will be in 1 year?

I'd say: IE 60 %
FF 25 %
Chrome 15 %

Not really scientifically founded though, just a gut feeling.

piatkow




msg:3818425
 11:43 am on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

There will only be a serious rival to Microsoft when a mass market distributor ships PCs with something other than IE as the default browser.

rank




msg:3818463
 2:02 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

id be suprised if Chrome gets past 5% in 2009

maximillianos




msg:3818495
 2:55 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

But by offering links only to Firefox and Chrome for its upgrade, Google is doing something that helped to make Microsoft the 8,000-ton gorilla on the desktop: playing favorites.

Good for G. Isn't it obvious that the only way to beat Microsoft is to play the game the same way? ;-)

maximillianos




msg:3818498
 2:58 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Chrome won't break 5% in 2009. It has some usability differences that are going to keep it from going mainstream.

Tech folks like it. But for the majority of the users out there, folks really just want what they already have... only safer and faster...

Trying to re-invent the wheel (user interface) that is not broken is not going to help them... In my opinion.

wildbest




msg:3818507
 3:41 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

IE - commerce
FF - technicality
Chrome - curiosity
Opera - purity
Others - within statistical mistake

Do you like my short definitions? :)

Well, my bank accepts only IE for online banking transactions which includes all kind of certificates and security checks! That says it all in my view...

poppyrich




msg:3818520
 4:16 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

@wildbest

Yeah, I like. Think you've got it about right.

No comment about browser share that I've read has taken into account the power of Microsoft's marketing machine.

MS hasn't spend ten cents promoting IE for years - relying only on the fact that the it ships with Windows.

If they wanted to, they could boost their market share considerably at any time through promotion.

I think their attitude is, "Why bother?". After all, most companies would kill for a 70% market share.

Another thing is that the power of the Google brand is being highly overvalued. Google means search engine. Just slapping the brand name on a browser won't guarantee anything. In the marketing biz it's called brand extension and it almost never, ever works.

signor_john




msg:3818523
 4:26 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Chrome won't break 5% in 2009.

It probably won't, but that statement misses the point of what Chrome is and why it was developed. Chrome's real purpose is to be a front end for Google Apps and "cloud computing" in general. Consider:

- With Chrome, the document that you're working on in one tab is unlikely to crash or freeze if an ill-behaved Web site crashes or locks up another tab;

- With Chrome, you can place "application shortcuts" on your desktop and use Google Apps or other Web applications just as if they were local PC programs (i.e., without the usual browser frame, menus, etc. that represent visual clutter when you're working in a program like Google Docs).

In other words, Chrome makes Web applications more reliable and appealing, and it blurs the difference between local and "cloud" computing. The real question isn't whether Chrome can earn a significant market share; it's whether Web applications in general (and Google Apps in particular) can earn a significant market share.

Wlauzon




msg:3818525
 4:31 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

For one our pages on Yahoo for December, for the first time FF topped 25%:

Internet Explorer 34,602 66.20%
Firefox 13,679 26.17%
Safari 2,404 4.60%
Chrome 630 1.21%
Opera 509 0.97%
Mozilla 159 0.30%
Netscape 113 0.22%
Camino 35 0.07%
Konqueror 28 0.05%
Blazer 10 0.02%
Subtotal 52,169 99.82%
Total 52,265 100.00%

However, I suspect that if IE8 ever gets released and if (!) it is as much better as it is reputed to be, I don't see much more drop in IE stats for a while.

[edited by: Wlauzon at 4:34 pm (utc) on Jan. 3, 2009]

rehabguy




msg:3818554
 5:30 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Shouldn't the title be "Browser Wars Heat Up"?

grelmar




msg:3818556
 5:33 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well, my bank accepts only IE for online banking transactions which includes all kind of certificates and security checks! That says it all in my view...

It tells me your bank either needs to fire it's entire IT department, or you need to get a new bank.

There is no valid technical reason for any site to be browser specific. If your bank hung out a sign that said "Only works with Firefox," or "Only works with Chrome," or Opera or whatever, it would be equally bad.

But, back on topic.

It's a good thing to see this new generation of browsers diversify. Strong competition will prod innovation among all the browsers. Mozilla is going to be forced to deal with nagging memory leak issues. IE will be forced to tow the line with web standards.

Everyone wins.

wildbest




msg:3818566
 6:01 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

If your bank hung out a sign that said "Only works with Firefox," or "Only works with Chrome," or Opera or whatever, it would be equally bad.

Wrong!

I know many banks that hung out a sign "Only works with IE" and non that hungs out a sign that says "Only works with Firefox" or "Only works with Chrome" or Opera! ;)

tedster




msg:3818572
 6:17 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Given the security concerns that financial instituions must have, I find it reasonable for them to focus on just one brower for their interface. There are just too many browser-specific hacks and scripting variations, and just wrestling with the many builds of IE is plenty to worry about.

It's frustrating, yes, but very understandable. If my bank required me to install totally proprietary software to do my online banking, I would even understand that, and probably feel more secure as well.

---------

Chrome is a very interesting development. Yes, I agree that it's about the cloud and support for on;line applications. We haven't even seen the applications that might make Chrome a new big deal, but i'll bet they're being developed.

purplecape




msg:3818601
 8:02 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Shouldn't the title be "Browser Wars Heat Up"?

In the US, maybe. In the UK, that sentence is grammatically correct.

willybfriendly




msg:3818602
 8:05 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google means search engine...

Actually, I think "Google" means data acquisition.

Seems to me that more and more folks are beginning to understand this, and are feeling a bit less secure. That is G's Achille's heal, and something that they do not seem to be paying much attention to.

G apps that phone home and/or store data on G systems will come under increasing suspicion. That will effect the adoption of Chrome and cloud computing IMHO.

Compworld




msg:3818608
 8:20 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Still can't stand IE. My favorite browser, by far, is Safari. Then Firefox, and then Flock. Opera / IE / Cromedome you can throw in the garbage. My opinion, of course. No company should be too big to control any market.

JS_Harris




msg:3818657
 10:26 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can't stand FireFox but I lost the ability to use IE due to security issues. Once someone gets in they tend to target you over and over when you lock them out again.

I won't touch Chrome anytime soon, it doesn't offer anything outstanding enough to warrant a blind change in my opinion.

I have to be honest and say that I disagree with people who say Firefox or Chrome are better than IE, I personally like the way IE renders web pages and I've had a ton of problems getting compliant pages to display properly with FF, but the security issues in IE are a much bigger evil... so Firefox it is. Sorry Google.

Compworld




msg:3818659
 10:30 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

IE is very slow compared to Safari, Flock or Firefox JS.

tedster




msg:3818673
 10:51 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Opera has been my preference since version 3, back in the 90s when I still had to pay for it! I've often said that the Opera browser alone gives me an extra hour every work day. I still use at least 3 browsers in the average work day and often more than that - but Opera is the workhorse for me and it suits my workflow methods very sweetly.

Ground-breaking innovations that first came to market through Opera include tabbed browsing and a native Feed Reader. And when it comes to a mobile browser, Opera Mini has been a very big deal.

I know Opera is not the "everyman" browser - and it's not really trying to be. I hope it never changes its essential savvy and highly configurable nature just to grab more of the common market place.

signor_john




msg:3818725
 2:34 am on Jan 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have to be honest and say that I disagree with people who say Firefox or Chrome are better than IE, I personally like the way IE renders web pages and I've had a ton of problems getting compliant pages to display properly with FF

I agree. Most pages simply look better in Internet Explorer, and as an editor by trade, I appreciate the IE development team's attention to aesthetics. Unfortunately, IE also seems far more prone to crashing, freezing, or going into slow-mo than other browsers do, so these days I spend most of my time in Chrome or Firefox.

swa66




msg:3818738
 2:56 am on Jan 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Browser usage as seen at security related websites show a far lower share for IE (I remember seeing it at 50% IE only).

If my bank would go IE only, I'd use it once: to transfer every last cent out of the accounts.

I only use IE to verify it renders my websites correctly (and subsequently in most cases, hack my way around the IE bugs).

To speak again of browser wars: I think that's way too soon. I remember the previous war when you'd stumble on websites not wanting to give you content (that worked perfectly fine in Netscape) cause you weren't using IE. Luckily those are almost fully gone.

IE8 -when and if released- might fix a number of the extremely annoying bugs in IE6 (and IE7), but since Microsoft failed to make their users upgrade to IE7 for so many years (30% of IE users are still using the ancient -bug riddled- version) what's their game plan to make their customers upgrade in large numbers this time ?

signor_john




msg:3818879
 2:58 pm on Jan 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

IE8 -when and if released- might fix a number of the extremely annoying bugs in IE6 (and IE7), but since Microsoft failed to make their users upgrade to IE7 for so many years (30% of IE users are still using the ancient -bug riddled- version) what's their game plan to make their customers upgrade in large numbers this time ?

That's easy: The passage of time.

It's ilke anything else: Not so many years ago, the average home user was viewing Web sites on a 640 x 480 screen and connecting to the Internet through a dial-up modem (often via AOL).

wildbest




msg:3818933
 4:36 pm on Jan 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

If my bank would go IE only, I'd use it once: to transfer every last cent out of the accounts.

That's your problem not theirs, because you're an exception to the rule.

People like you represent about 1% of banks customers. Most people just won't bother to take that personally! Why?

- most people use Windows
- every Windows has built-in IE
- even if they use another browser in their every day Internet activities, one can always switch to IE to process their online banking transactions

Banks prefer to lose 1% of their online banking customers but to avoid overcrowding their IT departments with specialists in browser-specific hacks for the different browsers as it simply doesn't pay. Banks are not software companies and security there is of paramount importance. That was already said above.

I'm not a fan of IE. My point is if you refuse to accept the reality you're doing this at your own expense.

trillianjedi




msg:3818943
 5:03 pm on Jan 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

IE - commerce
FF - technicality
Chrome - curiosity
Opera - purity
Others - within statistical mistake

Nice categories, except I would put Opera within "statistical mistake" given its low rate of adoption and I would include Safari in the list instead.

From a webmaster perspective I tend to look at browsers as either my problem or the visitors problem. IE, Firefox and Safari are my problem - if my sites don't render in those, I need to fix something.

Anything else is user error, fixed by downloading one of the leading browsers.

m0thman




msg:3819100
 11:23 pm on Jan 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Personally I use a mixture and I use Chrome a lot. It's come in for some stick, but I like the simplicity and speed and the way pages look. Next up I use Firefox (actually using that just now) and have convinced my GF to swap over from IE to Firefox. Occasionally use IE when I have to - but too embarassed to tell you why! Actually used to be a staunch IE supporter but eventually saw the error of my ways. Played with Opera a bit in the past but don't really use it now, no real feelings on that one.

Only browser I don't like is Safari - it just makes everything look wrong.

swa66




msg:3819178
 2:38 am on Jan 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

People like you represent about 1% of banks customers. Most people just won't bother to take that personally! Why?

I'm not taking it personally, I just absolutely refuse to even consider to use IE for banking. Years ago, when I had a bank that was IE only, I had a dedicated machine I only used for e-banking, *nothing* else.

I consider IE the most unsafe browser possible: nearly *all* of the exploits in the wild target IE. The reason for that targeting is easy: the 70% market share and things like ActiveX that seem to have a new publicly disclosed vulnerability on the same day as Microsoft fixes the previous set.

Also there is no more native IE for the mac anyway. MSFT stopped making IE for mac many years ago.

That said, I've not run into a bank being IE only out here in a long while. So if any of my banks would revert to become IE only again, they're warned.

I actually never use IE except to test my own websites, if something doesn't work, I'll find another site that does cater to non-IE browsers. But it is very rare to need to do that nowadays. Since IE only has a 70% market share anymore, websites do get tested properly in most cases.

Also it works wonders to let the site owner know their stuff didn't work for you cause they were IE only and you bought elsewhere due to that ;-) Mostly the next time you see the site it works perfectly for the 30% that doesn't use IE.

swa66




msg:3819182
 2:46 am on Jan 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Opera within "statistical mistake" given its low rate of adoption

Take care with opera, think beyond the traditional computers: there are quite a few hand-held devices and game consoles that use it.
Those less traditional platforms aren't that popular to visit our sites today perhaps (although I see quite a few iPhone visits), but there are zillions of phones with browsers and wii's out there.

grelmar




msg:3819316
 7:01 am on Jan 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm surprised that there are banks out there that are still IE only, and that there are people in here who defend the practice.

It's not even a security issue (although if it was, the argument goes against IE, not for it). It's a customer service issue. Ignoring the preferences of 30% of your customers is foolish.

As far as security and coding is concerned, if you use a user agent switcher, 99% of "IE only" sites work just fine in other browsers, including banks, so it comes down to certain institutions just not getting it.

Anyone here who wants to chuck 30% of their business out the window, I'm sure there are few people around here who love to make a buck off you're lack of concern.

ispy




msg:3819320
 7:33 am on Jan 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

All that time wasted staring at that spinning explorer doobob, trying to get faster internet connection services, and having movies I'm trying to watch spit and stutter...

...and it was really just the browser.

This 40 message thread spans 2 pages: 40 ( [1] 2 > >
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