Archive for the ‘Internet Browsers’ Category
There has been a lot of talk about the dirge sounding for the Firefox browser. With a marked nosedive in market share (roughly 15%), the one-time king of the browse war has now fallen into third place (behind Internet Explorer and Chrome). As most pundits are scratching their heads, I’m fairly certain that there’s a clear reason for this change:
The 15% market share applies only to desktop browsers. Once you move to mobile… all bets are off. But why? What has shifted to cause Firefox to drop so sharply? Is it a bad product? Honestly, to the majority of users (I’m talking “average user” here), a browser is a browser is a browser. The biggest difference to the average user is the use of “Favorites” over “Bookmarks.” Since most users wouldn’t even know Firefox from Internet Explorer, how could this change have happened?
Again, I say… Google.
Actually, I should be more specific and say Chrome — or even better, Chrome OS and Android.
From November 2013 to the end of the year, a reported 21% of all laptops sold were Chromebooks. Worldwide, Android takes nearly 81% of the mobile market share. That’s a LOT of Google-based browsers out there. I don’t think it’s a huge leap of logic to assume a vast percentage of those users would have been, otherwise, using Firefox.
Let me present myself a case in point. For the longest time, I was a devout Firefox user. But then I discovered a few of the Chrome apps/extensions (such as Tweetdeck) and added Chrome to my Linux desktop. Then I adopted a Chromebook as a laptop. Since I really only do two things on a laptop (write and browse), it made perfect sense. Add to this the fact that my smartphone platform has been Android for what seems like forever, plus the mobile version of Firefox is dreadful, and you have the makings for a typical migration from Firefox to Chrome.
Let’s be honest — as long as the browser gets the job done, it doesn’t matter which browser you use.
- Unless you’re on a Chromebook
- Or on Android
- Or you depend on Google Apps
You can see the pattern here, right? It’s like third-party politics in the United States. Many people don’t vote for third parties because it takes away votes from the party they once championed. In this case — every person using Chrome is one less person using Firefox. Why?
Caution: generalization coming…
Most people who use Internet Explorer simply don’t know that the product they’re using is inferior to every other product of its kind (either that or they depend on a site that was written ONLY for IE). So, there’s little to no chance they’ll jump ship to either Firefox or Chrome.
So, what is Mozilla to do? Well, they’re busy focusing on the Firefox OS, which is akin to Ubuntu focusing on the Ubuntu Phone — it’s detracting from what they’ve always done really well in exchange for jumping into a ring with two of the heaviest hitters in the history of the game — Android and iOS.
And then there’s that advertising deal with Google that’s about to expire. The majority of Mozilla’s income is from that deal, and Google has less reason to continue on with that search agreement. Google no longer needs the advertising real estate from a browser suffering from a possible slow death. Should Google pull this, Mozilla will have to pull off a miracle to stay in the fight.
However, there’s good news. You can’t forget that Firefox is an open-source browser. That means, even if Firefox were to die, another batch of forks would appear. So, even if Google Chrome were to knock Firefox out of the ring, more contenders will appear to take up the gloves. But even a horde of forks are not likely to pull Firefox from the slow Chrome burn. Google isn’t going anywhere but up. As Chromebooks and Android continue to take over the mobile planet (and users become less tethered to their desks), Firefox will continue to suffer.
Firefox is still a quality product. But like Internet Explorer, it’s facing a foe that’s stronger, faster, and more agile. That new opponent is poised to take over nearly everything it touches. Fortunately (for users, not the competition), that new foe offers a stellar product on every platform (Linux, Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android, and iOS). Chrome is the only browser on the planet that can make that claim (as Chrome is the only browser that will run on Chrome OS) – a claim that’s becoming ever more important in a world gone mad for mobile.
I don’t have a prediction for Firefox. Will it die? Will it become an “arm” of Google? Will it get a second wind and, thus, a second life? No one really knows at this point. If I had to make a guess, I’d say both Firefox and IE will fall to Chrome. The difference is that IE is embedded into the psyche of many users, so it won’t suffer as much as Firefox.
The gloves are off and Chrome is set to rumble. How do you think this fight will end? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.
Skype ID: kristinakozlova
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
According to Statcounter numbers and charts, Google Chrome should be the number 1 browser in the world as soon as this year. Let’s see what LI members think about this prediction.
«No. Good old IE has plenty of mileage left yet, and because it is a “known platform” will continue to be a standard in much of the business world for at least a few years yet.»
Project & Change expert
«According to statistics available, it is unlikely that IE will be knocked off the top spot in 2012, even though Chrome has seen a meteoric rise in usage in 2011.
In Jan 2011, IE accounted for 46% of all Internet browsing, by Dec this had dropped to 38.65%.
Meanwhile, Chrome rose from 15.68% in Jan to 27.27% by Dec, trouncing Firefox into third place with its market share changing from 30.68% in Jan to 25.27% in Dec.
Other browsers, including Safari and Opera remain minnows in comparison. Mobile browsers (which are not included in the figures above) doubled from 4.3% in January to 8.03% in December.
However, it should be acknowledged that these statistics are far from an accurate representation of the true market share of the various browsers, as the statistics are usually taken from a small range of web site visitors and often visitors’ browsers cannot be sniffed by the methods in use. Remember that there are a huge number of corporate users of IE around the world that will continue to use IE for the foreseeable future.»
Experienced Graphic and Web Design Professional
«Yes. Although I prefer Firefox, I do believe that Chrome will make it to the top by mid-2012. IE is terrible and makes web design tougher because it does not conform to new and updated HTML or CSS.»
Owner of Fresh View Concepts
«While Chrome is an outstanding browser, it will not be #1 in 2012 due to the simple fact that the vast majority of Internet users, contrary to conventional wisdom, are not particularly savvy with regards to the Internet and technology. Most users are people who don’t care about browser wars. They simply want to be able to check their Facebook accounts and e-mail and Twitter and… Well, you get the point. Until Chrome gets must-have features that even your mother or grandmother are asking about, Chrome will remain #2 at best.»
Desktop Engineer Team Lead at Nelnet, Inc.
«Not sure what it will look like in 2012. I will say I haven’t used IE in over a year or more. Chrome get’s on my nerves sometimes; but I have tried them all and found Chrome to be the lightest without sacrificing great options. »
Nugget Training Advisor
Google Chrome only launched at the end of 2008, but with close integration and added features for people using Google’s ubiquitous suite of web tools such as Gmail, Google Docs and the like, the exciting benefits that will surely come as a result of Google+, and Google throwing oodles of cash at promoting the product, Microsoft and Mozilla must be seriously concerned. Agree?
According to recent most financial statement, the Mozilla Corporation, responsible for Firefox and Thunderbird development, makes 84% of its revenue from a search partnership with Google. All new installations of Firefox use Google as the default search engine and most of Mozilla’s revenue comes from that arrangement and similar deals with Microsoft and other search partners. Even as Google extends Mozilla’s funding for another three years, Firefox is losing market share.
With Firefox market share falling, will businesses find it relevant three years from now? And what if Google doesn’t extend the agreement at that point and the money runs out?
Firefox faces many challenges, the largest of which are based on its being in an extremely competitive browser market. Here are the top three:
Power users initially loved Firefox due to its extended features and customizability. Recently, Google’s Chrome browser has provided the same, and went further with better security and speed, causing many power users to switch over.
Mozilla is a nonprofit organization, and Firefox is an open-source project. Though neither of its top two competitors, Google’s Chrome or Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, are direct money generators, both companies depend on browsers as a window to their online products. For Google, ads on Web pages generate most of its money, so it wants to get as many ad-filled Web pages in front of users as possible.
Though 93 percent of Web browsing is done through desktops and laptops, mobile browsing has nearly doubled in the last year to reach almost 8 percent. This is likely to grow exponentially in the next year, as tablets and e-readers hit the mainstream, and nearly every new mobile phone will have a Web browser. Apple and Google own the default browsers on the popular mobile devices, giving them a huge advantage.
Desktops aren’t dead yet, but eventually you can expect mobile usage to surpass desktop usage, perhaps within those three years for which Mozilla has secured Google’s funding. As users and businesses embrace new phones and tablets, they’ll be learning how best to browse the Web with them, and how to seamlessly share the browsing experience among their desktops and mobile devices. This is where Firefox could make a difference. Mozilla already has a mobile version of Firefox that uses Firefox Sync to sync browsing history, open tabs, bookmarks, and saved passwords. If it were to release an iOS version as well – as mobile browser Dolphin did – it would have a presence on the top smartphones and tablets.
Google has its thumb on Firefox, but is enabling it to live a bit longer. If Firefox wants to remain competitive several years from now, it has to make a difference, as it did in its early days. Finding a killer feature and working not only across the major operating systems, but between desktops and mobile devices as well could be Firefox’s saving grace.
Will Mozilla make it happen?
Within the past couple weeks; we have had two major Web browser releases. Microsoft unleashed Internet Explorer 9, and Mozilla officially launched Firefox 4. Each browser had millions of downloads on its inaugural launch day. Bellow you may find some quotes from people who have already tried both of browsers and shared their opinions.
«I’ve installed both IE 9 on a Vista SP2 VM and Firefox 4 on my Mac Book Pro running 10.6.7, I have to say that I like both a lot; both are very clean browsers in terms of the user interface and both feel very quick in their operation. Firefox 4 is a major re-design in the product; I feel that IE 9 is a very nice re-working of IE 8. I will use both over the coming week more and I’ll see how both really compare.»
«I haven’t even bothered with IE 9. Stopped using MSIE years ago and haven’t looked back. I really like the new FF4 interface. The customizability, and usability and most importantly, the amount of real estate they’ve cleared up make it a better browser. I like the available personas (doesn’t affect performance, but is a nice touch) and I can’t wait for more new themes.»
«I just recently upgraded to Firefox 4 and I love the new interface, which surpasses even previous versions of its own browser. I am one of the seemingly growing numbers of folks who detest ALL versions of IE and frankly Microsoft should have a great deal more development on IE8 before it was released. I haven’t tested IE9 yet, but if what was true about IE8 is also true about IE9 I think I’ll be one of those who waits a long while before getting any newer version than 7.0 that I now use, and I only use that when some sites tell me they don’t work the way they should on some browsers. Otherwise, I use either Firefox or sometimes Safari, which is Apple’s browser.»
«Frankly, I wouldn’t ever consider IE in any version. I have no faith in what M$ tells me about it. I’m using Firefox 3.6.16, the last before FF 4. I downloaded FF 4 this morning and it behaved badly with respect to my add-ins, so I was forced to uninstall it and fall back. So much for early adoption.»
«I have not used IE since about version 6 back when it was *new*. However having tried IE9, I was pleasantly surprised at the progress Microsoft have made. I would recommend trying it out before passing judgment.»
«For me the answer is Chrome – although I now have Firefox 4 also loaded, and apart from a few plug-in missing it seems to be pretty complete. Chrome just feels cleaner, simpler, and I am finding more and more sites now experimenting with HTML5 for video and better UI. What is crucial is the number of old corporate (and a few personal) PCs still running IE6 – they have to move forward. So many web sites have to cater for its quirks and even Microsoft has stopped supporting it for key systems like SharePoint 2010. If you look at browser version numbers, interesting that Chrome are already on version 10 – expect to see more and more developments in this area as the functionality wars really start to heat up.»
«IE 9 is one step beyond: clean and essential design, great usability, top performance. It lacks compatibility since can’t be installed on XP. The netbook I bought last year was equipped with XP home edition, to install Seven I needed to buy the OS license, double the RAM and performing a tricky installation (since no optical unit on this PC). Normal people won’t do this, neither will change their PC every year, that’s way FF4 that runs on every platform will be their best choice.»
In my opinion, Firefox 4 wins over its Microsoft arch-enemy. But that does not mean Internet Explorer 9 is bad. Far from it. Firefox 4 and Internet Explorer 9 are going to be great browsers once released. If you’re a Firefox user, no need to abandon your favorite product. It’s still the good old stuff that made the difference and broke the monopoly. If you’re an Internet Explorer user, now you truly have a good browser, which you can use and be proud of.
Have you tried them both and decided on a winner or are you still thinking about which one is the best?
In past years, the release of a new Web browser was a big deal as various competitors fought for market share. However, in the past few years, the browser wars seem to have fallen into a kind of cold war, with market share among the players holding relatively steady.
On March 14, 2011, Microsoft released the final version of Internet Explorer 9 touting the browser’s ability to deliver a more beautiful Web experience. Bellow you may find some LI members’ opinions about this release.
Nigel Ridpath says:
«I downloaded IE9 today and I have to say it appears to be a bit quicker generally. There still seems to be incompatibility around. I was checking our Google Adwords account (perhaps there’s a clue there!) and part of that site didn’t work. Funnily enough it was fine in Chrome.
I mainly upgraded to check the experience with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. That was definitely a bit quicker.»
Charles Caro thinks:
«I have downloaded and installed IE9. It definitely looks different, and it appears to run a little quicker. All considered it really doesn’t show me anything more than what had been available from several other browsers for some time. What I don’t like is that the space for tabs does not extend across the full width of my monitor, which would be very nice for anybody that has more than a couple websites open at the same time. Also, I am sure there is no way to go back to IE8 in case I decide I really don’t like IE9. In other words, I don’t think there is a way to take IE9 off my system, which is something I can do with any other browser in the event I am not satisfied with what I see.»
Richard Nuttall shares:
« IE9 is better than IE6,7,8 , but still a long way from Chrome in terms of quality and speed. Only use it if you have to. IE9 is likely to continue to lag the others in terms of security holes as well, another reason to avoid. IE9 is NOT the first to tap hardware speed boost either. All browsers take advantage of hardware boosts via the graphics layers which drop down to hardware as and when they can. The MS claims are, as usual just hype.»
« I downloaded it today without any high expectations (after being a Firefox user for the last 3 years). It is fast, clean and seems to work fine. It is apparent that Microsoft has spent a lot of time building a robust browser. Although, I will still probably still stick with FF or Chrome.»
« Given the large Windows XP installed base, especially in corporate accounts, it’s a curious decision to drop XP support. If MS thinks IE9 will drive upgrades to Windows 7 they haven’t considered the easier and cheaper alternative, change the browser. I’m not a big fan of the combined URL/Search box but this seems to be the trend now.»
I’d like to add, that Internet Explorer 9 works well and has several fine new features, it also asks users to change the way they think about Web sites. The ultimate success of IE9 may very well hinge on Microsoft’s ability to convince users to accept this change in thinking as a more “beautiful” way to experience the World Wide Web.
What do you think of Microsoft Internet Explorer 9? Have you tried it? What, specifically, do you not like about IE9? What do you like?