The Browser Wars: The End is Nigh!

07 Apr 2011  |  eMarketing Web Web Development

Looking at data from the reputable analytics company StatCounter suggests that the market share line-graphs of Mozilla’s Firefox, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Google’s Chrome may intersect in December 2012 if current trends to continue. StatCounter is a free service and has been in business since 1999 and reports on over 10 billion page loads per month, collected from 3 million websites. The global statistics service provides many useful stats including: browser version; screen resolution; operating system; and type of device used.

Since 2004, Internet Explorer has seen a steady decrease in market share with a marked decline from September 2008, when Google launched the Chrome browser. Firefox has largely maintained it’s share since 2008, but Chrome has made significant gains. (see Graph below)

Click image to enlarge

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Browser Market Share

Extrapolating the data above in excel through to December 2012 reveals a scenario many web developers have been dreaming about for years: The steady demise of Internet Explorer as the dominant web browser.

Internet Explorer (IE) has been the bane of the web developer for many years due to it’s poor adoption of  the W3C standards. Although improvements have been made since it’s highly unpopular version 6, the browser remains fairly bug-ridden. This results in the tedious job of testing to ensure a website’s cross-browser compatibility. A lower market share for the IE browser will hopefully prompt the high powers at Microsoft to take note and build a faster, more compliant browser.

Extrapolating data from September 2008 to April 2011 into the future, shows how the trends may continue.

Click image to enlarge

It is simplistic to assume that trends will continue in an industry that changes on a daily basis, but it does suggest an interesting future where Google hopes we’ll be living most of our digital lives through the browser.

Perhaps Microsoft will wake up and remodel IE in a more customer-centric basis, focused on simplicity, speed, and compatibility. With the recent release of Firefox 4, a  great improvement on previous sluggish versions, we may also see Mozilla’s share increase and reduce the impact of Chrome. However, if there is greater adoption of Google’s hosted solutions like Google Apps as well as Chrome OS, we could be looking at browser dominance of Google Chrome as predicted. In this future , hopefully Google will achieve it’s ultimate goal to organise the world’s information without doing evil.

More articles

see all