Forrester: IE Still Dominates the Workplace, But Browser Diversity Common

Microsoft's Internet Explorer has a huge advantage in the browser wars because it ships with every copy of Windows, which is why the European Union forced the software maker to offer a so-called browser ballot on new Windows PCs. What's interesting, however, is that even though IE is usually the default option on most workplace computers, the influx of alternative devices such as smartphones and tablets is leading to more browser diversity, according to recent research by Forrester.

According to Forrester, IE claims a 40.2 percent share of the browser market, trumping Google Chrome at 27.8 percent and Mozilla Firefox at 25.4 percent, VentureBeat reports. Apple's Safari browser trails far behind at just 1.8 percent. The numbers vary depending on which sources you use -- StatCounter and NetMarketShare report very different findings, for example -- but no matter where you get your data, diversity is the name of the browser game these days.

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"Whichever data source we use, the overall picture painted for I&O professionals comes out the same: Today, even when IT departments standardize around a particular browser brand and version, browser diversity is quite common in the enterprise," Forrester VP and Infrastructure & Operations analyst J.P. Gownder stated in a new report. "For I&O professionals, the bottom line is that standardizing around one browser version doesn’t mean that your company won’t see a variety of browser types and versions. With BYO and information workers’ use of tablets and smartphones on the rise, this era of diversity only stands to grow richer in the near future."

As far as operating systems go, Windows 7 is the most popular choice among enterprise environments. Forrester's data has Windows 7 installed on 47.5 percent of all enterprise machines, followed by Windows XP at 38.2, though XP's share is expected to fall fast in 2014 when Microsoft ends support for the legacy OS.

Which browser do you use most often these days? Is it different than the one you use in the workplace?