Why IE’s Days At The Top Are Numbered

By on December 6, 2011

For years, programmers have griped about having to cater to Microsoft’s browser near-opoly. Internet Explorer, designers complained, didn’t play by the rules and wasted tons of their time.

Most of these web designers will be happy to know that IE’s kung fu grip on the browser market is finally and quickly breaking down. Last week, StatCounter broke the news that Google Chrome is now the world’s second most-popular browser, narrowly edging out Mozilla’s popular Firefox for the number two spot.

Even more important, Internet Explorer’s users are abandoning the browser in droves. As it stands, IE is clinging onto 40% of the global market, down from 56.6% just two years ago and 95% in 2004.

What can we learn from this?

  • Microsoft is missing the boat. It doesn’t take a genius to see that smartphones and tablets are taking over. Google and Apple are heavily invested in the mobile marketplace and therefore their browsers are getting a bump.
  • IE is a default, not a choice. It’d be interesting to find out how many Mac users have actually downloaded IE to their machines – far fewer than have installed Chrome or Firefox, I’d be willing to bet. As user sophistication increases, the power of manufacturer biases decreases – an important lesson for all (Google and Apple included).
  • Google is doing a much better job keeping users inside its universe.  Like Microsoft did with IE, Google is cranking out proprietary features that run best on Chrome. For example, Gmail offline only works on Chrome.  If and when Google releases a version of Chrome for the Android, Google house brand compatibility issues will probably become more common.

Five years ago, it was hard to imagine a world in which Microsoft was not a dominating presence, but here we are.

As Apple, Amazon, and Google continue to expand into mobile territory and online retail, their ecosystems will only become more attractive to marketers. And each of these mega-brands appear to be taking a page out of Microsoft’s playbook, leveraging their own products to shut out the competition.

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One Comment

  1. Phill Turner

    December 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    God I hate IE

    So glad its nearly gone.

    Chrome is a work of art!



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