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Why the Browser Stats Are Shifting

     
6:50 pm on Jan 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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IE is the market leader and is slowly losing its shine. But why? Why would a user change from one browser to another?

There's fragmentation by OS and version numbers. IE 8 is as good as it gets on XP, but if you're on Vista or Win7 you can have a nice shiny IE9 with added functionality.

As we all know, FF was on a rapid version update in the last few months. I can't help but think that has something to do with its decline. Having to update to a new version gives users the idea that they might just try something else. On one machine I wasn't nagged for a FF update for months. I deliberately left it to see how long before it offered the update, and it was too long, imho.

Chrome is on the rise, and there may be several reasons for that. Firstly, how many times have you visited a Google property and gotten a browser error or incompatibility message while using IE or FF? I seem to be seeing these quite regularly now. Secondly, Chrome is one of those ghost browsers that updates silently. It phones home to Google all the time and users don't need to think about downloading the latest version or security fix. Personally, I don't like that secrecy. I like to know what's going on under the hood. At the very least to be notified when updated.

Of course, more people are using G+, and Chrome has to be the browser of choice there, especially if you wish to avoid the incompatibility errors.

In addition, how many times have you been bugged by the Chrome ad on Google? I see it all the time.

All these things are helping others lose market share and Chrome is there ready to pick up the pieces.
6:56 pm on Jan 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I can tell you why *I* switched to Chrome... performance. Of all the browsers, Chrome feels like the fasted to me. It even starts up quickly.
7:45 pm on Jan 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I second what Fotiman says regarding Chrome... performance. For the average user I don't think you can beat it.

However, I have had a couple of problems with Chrome...

- The 'silent update' process has failed on me... silently! Several versions had passed before I realised it was no longer updating. I tried several documented fixes for this, but in the end I had to reinstall.

- It is the only application on my development machine that occassionally causes a BSOD! This has been going on for several years now! I have tried the hotfix I mentioned in this thread: I adore Chrome, but... [webmasterworld.com] but it didn't seem to do anything to help.
8:15 pm on Jan 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Why would a user change from one browser to another?

Leaving aside webmasters and other tech-savvy folk, and addressing average users:

In the late 1990s people changed from Netscape to IE because Netscape became awful.

In the mid 2000s some changed from IE to Firefox because of security concerns.

In the early 2010s some switched to Chrome because they were exposed to the heavy advertising and tend to trust anything from Google.

I have been surprised at the number of ordinary users I know personally who switched to Chrome, that Kool-Aid must be heavily laced with the mindbending ingredient.

I'm not saying it's a bad broser, I'm just trying to answer the question.

...
4:26 am on Jan 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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But, but, but...

Changing from MSIE to something else (or, theoretically, from Safari to something else) is an entirely different process from changing between, say, Chrome and Firefox.

The first step involves getting the concept of a browser: that this is a specific application doing a job that can be done by a different application. Not just "I dunno, lemme go on the Internet".

Only after you've taken this first step can you potentially take the second step. That's the difference between 1995 and today. Back then, you started on step two.

2 - 1 is not always the same as 3 - 2.
2:01 pm on Jan 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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As professionals, we're influenced by different things to the average user.

I've used, and still do, at least five different browsers. Mostly for testing.

It'd be interesting to know how many of us have switched their main browser, or are considering switching, and why.
4:31 pm on Jan 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Is MSIE actually in decline on desktops and laptops or is it just down to the proliferation of mobile devices?
4:40 pm on Jan 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Is MSIE actually in decline on desktops and laptops or is it just down to the proliferation of mobile devices?

I agree piatkow.

Windows Mobile would be the only time IE would show up in a handheld. The WM marketshare, while one of the smaller, is growing, not declining.

That said the statistics would need to be separated mobile vs desktop.
4:43 pm on Jan 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The statistics ARE separated, and yes, IE is losing market share:
Desktop:
[gs.statcounter.com...]
Mobile:
[gs.statcounter.com...]
3:11 pm on Jan 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Looking at the last 500 hits on my site (UK) MSIE looks as if it is in state of collapse:
Firefox 26.8%
MSIE 26.4%
Chrome 21.8%
Safari 17.0%
12:39 am on Mar 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Chrome even makes a 3 year old wheezing netbook look like someone installed a faster chip.

I seriously think Chrome's raw speed and maximum compatibility with all the free Google tools keeps people joining the Chrome camp and abandoning MSIE.

Plus Windows has lost the booming tablet and phone business which is dominated by iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Nook and various Android which definitely don't have MSIE available.
1:17 am on Mar 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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With the rise in Windows Mobile 7.5 OS usage, especially on multiple Nokia devices, the stats for IE (albeit, IE mobile) will likely be on the way up again soon.

I used the desktop version of IE for a total of about 2 or 3 hours in the whole of 2011.
5:42 pm on Mar 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This is my very first post here. First - Happy Birthday to engine.
I agree with g1smd -IMO the net reduction in the IE populous is likely mobile based. More folks are enjoying the freedom of portability over 'veging' at the house with a keyboard. As for Chrome, I too am not comfortable with the 'background activity' going on with Google's data mining. Yea, I'm all for tech, but we all are electronically 'compromised' an some point. The 'big brother' concept is already in place and working well.