Browser Wars

Well, it's that time of year again.  About every six months I take my head out of what I'm doing to see what the latest Internet trends are.  Let's start with browsers.  Has browser popularity shifted over the last six months?  I'm getting these statistics from the w3schools which keeps a historical record of web statistics over the months, which gives us a clue to Internet trends and future directions.

As of the end of April, let's look at browser popularity, by percent of users using a browser:

Firefox:    42.9%
Chrome:    25.6%
Internet Explorer: 24.3%
Safari: 4.1%
Opera: 2.6%

And what was it six months ago?

Firefox:    44.1%
Internet Explorer: 29.7%
Chrome:    19.2%
Safari: 3.9%
Opera: 2.2%

It looks like Chrome is coming on strong at the expense at Internet Explorer and Firefox.  Chrome is a good browser with good development tools, which is why the Firefox is seeing some small erosion in its role as the browser that developers most want to use.  The new Firefox 4 may stem the Firefox erosion, and I believe, we'll continue to see the Internet Explorer drop in popularity.  I'm wondering if Chrome will pass Firefox down the road.

Let's take a closer look at Interent Explorer, of the 24.3% of users that use Internet Explorer, which Internet Explorer version do they use?
IE 9:      2.1%
IE 8:    14.8%
IE 7:     4.9%
IE 6:    2.5%

And six months ago?
IE 9:      0.4%
IE 8:    17.3%
IE 7:     7.2%
IE 6:    4.8%

IE6 and IE 7 are gradually going the way of old people and retiring, thank goodness, they were both awful, non-web standard, browsers that have caused developers all sorts of problems and headaches, good riddance.  Before commenting further, let's take a look at which Windows operating system people are using.

Windows7: 35.9%
Vista:     7.6%
Win 2003:     0.9%
Win XP:    40.9%

And six months ago?
Windows7: 26.8%
Vista:     9.9%
Win 2003:     1.1%
Win XP:    48.9%
Win2000:   0.3%

Windows 7 is getting good reviews and is slowly replacing XP.  People are upgrading, but at a slow pace, probably the upgrade to Windows 7 is coming from people buying new computers.  XP was, and still is, a very good operating system, that Microsoft is having a tough time replacing.  One of the ploys their using is to prevent users from downloading the Internet Explorer 9 browser unless they have Windows 7.  Thus IE 9 is locked into Windows 7 growth rate, which accounts for it's slower adoption.

What about other operating systems?
Windows: 85.3%
Mac: 8.3%
Linux: 5.1%

And six months before:
Windows: 87%
Mac: 7.6%
Linux: 4.7%

The slow, gradual erosion of Microsoft's dominance is nice to see, but at 85%, I think, Microsoft is fairly safe for a little while.  Users are gradually recognizing that there are other operating systems that are just as good as Windows out there.  The iPad is helping Apple, and maybe, I'm being a little too enthusiastic here, but I do like the gradual rise and acceptance of Linux.

How about search engines?  What are people using to find their content on the Internet?  This comes compliments of SEO Consultants Directory.
Google: 71.59%
Yahoo: 14.28%
Bing: 9.87%
Ask: 2.28%

It looks like SEO Consultants changed their methodology of calculating about five months ago, so we'll use five months:
Google: 72.52%
Yahoo: 14.99%
Bing: 8.81%
Ask: 2.52%

Microsoft is actively trying to move Windows 7 users to Bing by installing it with Windows 7, and claiming Windows 7 is optimized for Bing and IE 9.  What a laugh.  I often wonder if they believe their own bull &**#.

Despite this Microsoft push, their impact is not moving users off of Google that quickly.  Maybe as Windows 7 picks up the XP crowd, we'll see more of a move toward Bing, but Microsoft is so far off, I don't think Bing will come close to taking over the search engine world, especially after it has come to life that Bing uses Google for its search results.

What are the conclusions for the future?  Even though Microsoft is trying to push Bing and IE 9 with Windows 7,  Chrome is, probably, on its way to being the number one browser.   The war here is between Chrome and Firefox.   Google has started pushing Chrome on its search site to counteract Microsoft trying to lock Window 7 users to Bing and IE 9.  The stats show we are in the middle of a browser war with no quarter being given by any side.

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