Nikhil Kuruganti: Browser Wars: The Years Final Take

Browser Wars: The Years Final Take

It’s been a couple of months since I looked at the browser market. IE’s drop below 50% was the big news in October. This month’s news is less dramatic but web developers will let out a whoop of joy: Chrome 7 has overtaken IE7 to become the world’s third most-popular browser with a 12.09% market share.

Chrome 7 is still some way behind Firefox 3.6 (25.32%) and IE8 (29.49%), but IE7′s demise is cause for celebration! (Personally, I find IE7 more problematical than IE6.)

Let’s take a look at the StatCounter statistics in more detail…

IE 9.0 beta0.09%0.32%+0.23%+255.60%
IE 8.029.38%29.49%+0.11%+0.40%
IE 7.012.98%11.90%-1.08%-8.30%
IE 6.07.42%6.45%-0.97%-13.10%
Firefox 4.0 beta0.26%0.41%+0.15%+57.70%
Firefox 3.5+28.33%28.50%+0.17%+0.60%
Firefox 3.1-2.48%2.26%-0.22%-8.90%
IE (all)49.87%48.16%-1.71%-3.40%
Firefox (all)31.07%31.17%+0.10%+0.30%

The ‘change’ column shows the absolute increase or decrease in market share. The ‘relative’ column indicates relative movements, i.e., IE7 lost 8.3% of its users during the past two months.

Microsoft will be pleased to see IE8 usage has barely changed and there’s been a 2.5x increase in IE9 users! The IE9 statistics are a little unreliable — October’s figure was very low because the beta browser was released on 15 September 2010. However, IE9 beta is catching Firefox 4 beta, which has been available longer.

Firefox’s overall share remained mostly static. A few users have upgraded, but there are no significant losses or gains.

It’s a similar story for Opera and Safari. Safari’s modest increase owes much to the success of the iPad which accounts for 0.26% of the market.

The combined IE6 and IE7 share has dropped by 2% with Chrome taking the majority of those users. The growth of Google’s browser remains impressive, and I suspect it’s been helped by the delayed release of Firefox 4 and the continued date uncertainty for IE9.

However, could everything change in 2011? Will IE9′s speed boost win back users who switched to Chrome? Will Firefox 4 re-ignite people’s passion? Will RockMelt become the sixth mainstream browser? It’ll be an interesting year…

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