Will Internet Explorer ever be relevant again?

"Browser war" decided? Chrome overtakes Firefox and Edge

Nine years ago, the browser world was still okay for Microsoft and Mozilla. As an open alternative to Internet Explorer, Firefox was constantly finding new users. With a market share of over 65 percent, Redmond had limited cause for concern. Google had only introduced Android a few months ago, and the Chrome browser was still fresh on the market. For many, the Mountain View group was primarily linked to its search engine, which was already powerful at the time.

However, times have changed, as can be seen from the data collected by Statista on the analysis platform Statcounter. And the change was drastic. In 2009 and 2010, Firefox attracted over 30 percent of desktop users. A high that should never be reached again while Internet Explorer plummeted to 50 percent. Today the so-called "Browser Wars" seem decided - and the surfing tools from Microsoft and Mozilla have become a niche product.

Chrome as the new "Internet Explorer"

With almost 67 percent of the users, Chrome is now where Internet Explorer once was. This and its successor Edge combine only seven percent. In between, and with a little more than eleven percent also on the verge of setting, is Firefox.

Other browsers are almost non-existent in terms of the overall market. The aggressive advertising for Chrome, especially in the early years, which felt to be advertised on almost every Google-owned page, has paid off.

Edge quickly ran out of air

You can hardly blame Google's competition for inaction over the past few years. After long years of hesitation and wrong strategic decisions, Microsoft also launched Windows 10, a successor to the outdated Internet Explorer. They tried all sorts of optimizations, touch friendliness, "social" functions and other features.

But at the release, Edge was still too unfinished to keep up. That it was only available for Windows 10, the installation rates of which fell short of Microsoft's forecasts, soon wiped out the momentum.

No trend reversal through "Quantum"

For a long time Mozilla did without a big "push" and focused on smaller improvements. However, Firefox has gained a reputation over the years for becoming more and more sedate and resource-guzzling - even more so than Chrome, which quickly enjoyed the reputation of using a lot of memory. The Firefox developers repeatedly announced performance improvements, which mostly fell short of expectations.

A kind of "restart" was only dared at the end of last year with "Quantum". The outdated basis of the surf tool should be cleared out, the browser should be as fast as an arrow again. He soon achieved impressive results in benchmarks, but apparently there were still not a particularly large number of switchers.

Compared to the end of 2017, the proportion of users using browsers from Microsoft and Mozilla has decreased further, albeit not by much. That could mean that you will soon be reduced to your absolutely die-hard users on the desktop. It remains to be seen whether it will hold up or whether the decline will just slow down. A trend reversal is not in sight for the time being.

Chrome is also the absolute top dog for mobile

The situation is almost even more drastic on mobile devices. Here Chrome is in the Statcounter numbers "only" with a user share of 55 percent. The rest of the field belongs almost entirely to Apple's Safari (17.2 percent, roughly equivalent to the market share of the iPhone) and, above all, browsers popular in China.

Number three is the UCBrowser, which comes to almost 14 percent. This is followed by Samsung (5.1 percent) and Opera (4.6 percent), which is now used by many more people on mobile devices than its desktop counterpart. Firefox and Edge are available on both iOS and Android. But both come to just 0.3 percent each.

Political Components

This situation also played a minor role in the judgment of the EU Commission against Google. Because every manufacturer who uses Android and wants to be certified for connection to the Play Store has to preinstall several apps from the IT giant. This also includes the Chrome browser. The Commission criticized the obligation to install the browser, as it is seen as a vehicle for the group's search engine, against whose dominant position one is taking action, among other things.

However, Google does not specify that Chrome must be set up as the default browser. Nevertheless, most manufacturers do it because the users apparently want it and there are no better alternatives. The most prominent exception here is probably Samsung, which has been developing its own surfing tool for a long time. (gpi, July 26, 2018)