Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) is by far the most popular web browser but it continues to decline and lose market share, according to a number of recent reports. Mozilla Firefox sits in second place and third place goes to Google Chrome.
One report from Net Applications has Internet Explorer usage at 54%, but that is down from 60% reported at this time last year, in November 2010. Firefox currently has 22% and Chrome has 16% browser share.
Google Chrome has actually gone up from last year’s 10% to this year’s 16%. Some speculate there are several reasons for Chrome’s increase:
1) Benefits from search (after all, Google is ranked number 1 in search engines!).
2) Runs web apps in the browser, from the cloud instead of your desktop computer.
3) Aggressive marketing from Google
4) Quick succession of releases with updates
Most experts agree that it’s too early to predict if Chrome will push Firefox out of second, but some say it could happen and as soon as 6 months from now. Firefox is feeling the pressure. If you are a Firefox user, you can’t help but notice that newer versions of Firefox are coming at a rapid pace! It seems to me that just about every time I open my Firefox, I have to wait for another update to load. And that’s just the beginning. I hear that Firefox versions 8, 9 and 10 are in development!
As Internet Explorer continues to decline, Microsoft is getting nervous. You might think that it’s not a big deal to Microsoft because they give the browser away for free. Would they really lose much if they weren’t number one for browser usage? The answer is, most definitely, YES.
In reality, a decline in browser popularity means a lot to Microsoft. IE is the top gateway to the internet and if you control that, you can control search engine popularity (Bing is Microsoft’s search engine) and then you can receive big revenue as you eat into Google’s market share. In addition to all this, Microsoft wants you to use their cloud services both on Windows Live and Skydrive. What better way to drive people to those services than to use browsers and search engines they control?
Microsoft also wants to link your Windows Phone and tablet to IE so that if you bookmark a favorite on your desktop, you can see those same bookmarked favorites on your other devices. So, even though Microsoft doesn’t get a dime from selling IE, there are huge benefits from people using it and serious consequences when people switch to their competition!
I’m betting these browser wars won’t end anytime soon.