Chrome, Firefox Have Little Chance of Ever Catching Internet Explorer

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Staunch Chrome and Firefox users aren't going to like this statement, but Internet Explorer has won the browser war, or so it seems. It wasn't always a foregone conclusion that IE would win. After the demise of Netscape, Firefox emerged as the first legitimate threat to IE's throne, and then Chrome came along and started gaining market share as if destined to finish the job. Now nearly five years later (from Chrome's debut), browser shares seemed to have plateaued.

According to tracking information provided by NetMarketShare, IE commands a 55.83 percent share of the browser market, followed by Firefox at 20.21 percent and Chrome at 16.45 percent. If we dig deeper, we see that the end of March marks the seventh consecutive month of growth for IE. Back in August, IE held a 53.6 percent share, versus Firefox and Chrome at 20.05 percent and 19.13 percent, respectively. So in the past seven months, IE has increased its lead over the combined shares of Firefox and Chrome from nearly 14 percent to just over 19 percent.


If we go back a full year, IE's share is up exactly 2 percent, versus Firefox dropping a third of a percentage point and Chrome down more than 2 percent. Yes, IE's share is well below where it was when Chrome first debuted, but there isn't much moving and shaking going on anymore, and what little movement there is appears to favor IE.

Why does any of this matter? There are two reasons, starting with search revenue. Browsers are free on the consumer side, but from a business perspective, search engine providers like Google pay big money to be featured as the default search engine in browsers. To wit, Mozilla in late 2011 inked a new search agreement with Google worth around $300 million annually, plus it receives royalties from other search providers. In 2011, royalty payments accounted for 99 percent of Mozilla's income, so you can see why market share is so important to these companies.

HotHarware on IE

The other reason has to do with web standards. IE has done a much better job adhering to web standards in recent years, but it wasn't always that way. Back when IE commanded around three-fourths of the browser market, it made sense for web developers to code their pages with IE in mind, standards be damned. In a sense, the web was largely 'broken' back then, though with the big push for HTML5 coding combined with a somewhat more level playing field, this isn't a huge concern anymore.

Which browser are you running these days?
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RBloch replied on Wed, Apr 3 2013 10:51 AM

IE comes with windows, so they have an advantage that the others don't have. If Microsoft added the other browsers and let the users choose during install you might see some different numbers.

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JAquino replied on Wed, Apr 3 2013 12:35 PM

what was the competition about? who catches the most viruses? who has the most annoying pop ups?

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JAquino replied on Wed, Apr 3 2013 12:35 PM

what was the competition about? who catches the most viruses? who has the most annoying pop ups?

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How come IE is on the top ? i dont see IE is a good browser for me because i tried so many times and when i compared IE and Chrome , Chrome is faster than IE base on my experienced for IE is one of the worst browser that i ever used .

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IanRay replied on Wed, Apr 3 2013 12:48 PM

NetMarketShare is a hopeless measure of users.

Around 99.9% of sites, big and small, do not use NetApplications. The ones that do are heavily slanted toward older ecommerce sites and major software companies including microsoft.

Six years ago, these stats were semi-accurate as web traffic itself was mostly slanted towards sites that were likely to use NetApplications. Today, they are as accurate as landline phone surveys.

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DPLeo replied on Wed, Apr 3 2013 12:51 PM

Please try to keep up. These sites all indicate that Chrome is ahead of IE in market share.

http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

http://gs.statcounter.com/

http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php

The margin may vary depending on how the data is collected but the trends all indicate that Chrome is ahead and on the rise while IE is behind and in decline.

You're going to have to provide more than 1 limited reference to gain any credibility.

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The biggest reason IE is on top is because corporate use. It’s much more manageable and easier to track usage, not to mention you can lock down everything through Group Policies from a Windows server. It’s very difficult to manage Chrome or Firefox on large networks and their continual update cycles make it nearly impossible for a company to verify and validate each version before it’s deployed. I was a huge supporter of Firefox when it first began, but since gecko and all the commercialization a few years ago I haven’t really used it. Chrome is inherently evil because it comes from Google and they track everything you do on the Internet (read the fine print) and the speed isn’t “mind blowing” compared to the latest IE. If I’m looking for speed I go with Opera (sorry fan boys, but it’s even faster than Chrome) and I like their clean interface and menus better. I was never a big fan of IE in the early days, but recent versions have improved considerably. And to most people a browser is a browser, whatever is installed and gets them to the Internet, that’s what they’re going to use. Microsoft knows this and that’s why it’s integrated and ‘pre-installed’. I’d be more interested in see what the statistics look like in Europe over the next couple of years where Microsoft has to give users a choice. My guess is, it won’t make any significant difference though.

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lipe123 replied on Wed, Apr 3 2013 1:57 PM

It comes with the OS, 99.9998% of "users" don't even know the program is called "internet explorer" they simply call it "the internet thing".

I recently had a woman in the store that upgraded to IE 10 and it perpetually crashed on launch for no reason, right NEXT to it on the task bar she had chrome pinned but did not even know that it was a web browser.

Conclusion: The ignorant masses use IE because its all they know.

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Why are you starting your comment with "please keep up"?

The sites you posted self admittedly pull their statistics from their own sites. w3schools.com is a school for web development, not to be confused with w3.org, which is the World Wide Web Consortium. statcounter is pooling the statistics from sites which subscribe to their service. Please do some more research before trying to discredit others! it's a fact that IE has the lead!

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DPLeo replied on Wed, Apr 3 2013 4:12 PM

@DangerRenegade

"It's a fact that IE has the lead"

Really??? Facts are usually supported by references. The author supplied one reference that IanRay has already discredited. I've posted 3 more credible sites that draw from a global pool that you attempted to discredit by posting no references at all.

Kind of like saying your just going to stick your fingers in your ears and try to yell louder because you have no evidence to support your position.

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I work retail. IE is called Google a lot. It is their homepage. At first I thought people wee using Chrome. Nope.

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realneil replied on Wed, Apr 3 2013 10:02 PM

"Staunch Chrome and Firefox users aren't going to like this statement"

The statement doesn't matter at all. I don't use IE, I use Firefox and Chrome.

I was burned using IE too many times to go back to it.

If IE wasn't the default browser for every Microsoft system, their market share would not be as great as it is.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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sevags replied on Wed, Apr 3 2013 10:16 PM

INTERNET EXPLORER ALWAYS FOR THE WIN!!!!!

I ONLY run IE, I actually hate Chrome and dislike Firefox. I will never ever make the switch not only is there not a single reason to switch but IE keeps getting better faster and less bloated with each release which were the complaints back in the day. Add the fact that it has the best webpage comparability of any browser and the fact that you don't need to download any addons like other browsers to add features it's just a no brainer for the not so tech savvy and the power users like myself.

You all can debate what you would use and why but I'll never run anything but IE on any computer in my home.

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I still use Firefox as primary, IE for my AOL mail(sorry had email address since '95) and Chrome for my Nexus7 and youtube. I had Opera and safari on the computer for a while just to test all browsers

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Clixxer replied on Fri, Apr 5 2013 2:58 PM

I like IE. Ive never had major issues with it but I still use chrome. Firefox I just cant stand using but chrome is good. Also why are people complaining about IE being loaded with MS? MS sorta owns them and what good business model would it to allow you to install a different browser than the one they have marketed for years? If chrome and firefox were that good then their would be some sort of agreement to let users choose. All in all they have their own strengths and weaknesses just like everything else.

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I agree with some others above, the battle has no winner as those who care simply choose and don't really fight it out. For example I use chrome, because I prefer the feature set and the user experience. Others like chrome or Firefox, not many people are going to say they actually prefer IE over any of the competitors. The battle ended years ago. IE's stats are now and have always been heavily overblown, especially seeing as every windows user uses IE at least once for its intended purpose, to go get a better browser.

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its been my experience, that most non tech savy pc buyers out there do not know about other browsers. i work on pc's for a hobby(and a few extra bucks here and there) and from what i've noticed about people that they only use what comes with the computer. there are people out there who only know, push the button, click the e-thingy and i can check my email and chat on facebook. c'mon are these really valid statistics.

that being said, if all computers come with IE, then of course they are going to own the market share for browsers. if firefox or chrome shipped with pc's then i think these ratings would be a bit different.

this is kind of skewed/flawed IMO really.

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I've been using IE since 2004 but sometime last year I decided to give Chrome a try and I was amazed by the speed of it over IE. In Internet Explorer plug-ins always had issues running and the browser would crash all the time. I would put Firefox 2nd behind Chrome and IE in the trash haha.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers

chrome 41.9%

IE 23.37%

Firefox 18.71%

Other 16.02%

wikipedia is about as neutral as they come, used by average joe and developers alike, and it clearly shows IE getting spanked by nearly double

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Clixxer replied on Sat, Apr 6 2013 2:50 PM

bobfishcheese:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers

chrome 41.9%

IE 23.37%

Firefox 18.71%

Other 16.02%

wikipedia is about as neutral as they come, used by average joe and developers alike, and it clearly shows IE getting spanked by nearly double

Eh its still all depends on where you get your facts. Does it matter? Not at all because MS still owns Windows and will have IE and Bing as your first portal to the web from windows. If you look at daily use than chrome could most defiantly be on top but if you look at as someone said earlier about people open up IE to download something else then you could argue the stats for IE because it was used so technically it could count.

 

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kn9sli replied on Wed, Apr 10 2013 1:37 AM

I also build comps as a hobby, and when I do a windows install I fire up IE and the first thing I do is install firefox .

The add ons are what does it for me. I for instance know that their are twelve tracking cookies on this site and I

have them all blocked, I can erase my search history with two clicks or switch to private surfing without closing

my current session,and I can scroll through a page while firefox loads 5 pages ahead . How fast is fast enough?

I want my browser to do what I want it to do, how I want to do it,without jumping through hoops. firefox delivers.

Nuff Said

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Clixxer replied on Wed, Apr 10 2013 4:01 AM

kn9sli:

I also build comps as a hobby, and when I do a windows install I fire up IE and the first thing I do is install firefox .

The add ons are what does it for me. I for instance know that their are twelve tracking cookies on this site and I

have them all blocked, I can erase my search history with two clicks or switch to private surfing without closing

my current session,and I can scroll through a page while firefox loads 5 pages ahead . How fast is fast enough?

I want my browser to do what I want it to do, how I want to do it,without jumping through hoops. firefox delivers.

Nuff Said

I know with IE 10 you can track cookies and use private browsing. Im not saying IE 10 is better but its getting more user friendly for things firefox and chrome have had. I actually recently switched from being a die hard IE user to chrome since it just kept messing up on me. Randomly would not connect to a website or if I was reading something and trying to post a comment it would time out and I would have to rewrite everything which after about the 5th time I just gave up on it. Im still not against using IE but they have some work to do because I tried it on my laptop and has the same issues but haven't experienced it once using chrome.

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Mac99 replied on Wed, Aug 21 2013 8:43 PM

I had to create an account just to tell you that this is complete horse shit! I've looked over stats on several other pages, and IE is at best 3rd most used with between 11 and 20% of the browsing usage depending on the reliable source you're looking at. Just because IE is forced on us by Microsoft doesn't mean it's used, and is in no way a reliable way to express which browser is most popular.

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/windows-and-office/poll-results-2013-chrome-overtakes-firefox-as-the-preferred-web-browser/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers

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This is a fairly dated article, but I thought I'd leave a comment for the sake of others that might happen upon this article looking for data on which browser is in the lead.

A number of people in this comment thread had their say about who had the better numbers, but it's important to point out that the value of any set of statistics is only as good as it's relevance to what you're looking to measure. According to the article "Net Market Share vs. StatCounter: Whose online measurements can you trust?" (http://www.zdnet.com/net-market-share-vs-statcounter-whose-online-measurements-can-you-trust-7000024776/), Net Market Share measures unique users while StatCounter measures total volume. This is apparently true with many of the other sites setting forth vastly different numbers. Whose numbers you value most should be based upon which metric being measured reflects what you're trying to tune for. For instance, given a grandmother who logs into AOL and checks her email once a day and a web developer who checks his email every 30 minutes, buys some stuff on Amazon, reads a few blog articles and googles for answers to programming API questions all day, Net Market Share is going to consider both of these users equally while some of the other sites aren't.  If you're wanting to know how many browsers would be affected by some given bug then the Net Market Share numbers might be what you're after. If you're trying to tune your site to work best on the browser most likely to be used then you probably want numbers from a site that measures total traffic. Neither is right or wrong, they are just measuring different things.

That said, this article is a bit misleading because while at the point it was written (April 2013) IE might have been used by more unique users, Chrome was most definitely way out ahead with respect to what browser version was being used the most that month (see: http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php?year=2013&month=4). Firefox wasn't that far behind either, at 20.7% to IE's 23.1%.

In general, the total numbers from a site like www.w3counter.com is going to be the most meaningful to the most users. For example, it just doesn't make sense for companies like Amazon to worry as much about people who access the Internet infrequently as those who live on the Internet all day. The guy who's accessing 100 different sites a day is far more likely to be the kind of guy who is going to shop online, socialize online, get their news online, post their pictures online, etc., than the people reflected by Net Market Share. Most people care about that guy because he's most likely to give you money for something directly or indirectly.

In closing, this article isn't really wrong ... but it kinda is :)

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