Monday, July 06, 2009

The Decline of Internet Explorer

During the browser wars of the mid to late 1990s many initially had their money on Netscape to win as Microsoft were mostly playing catch up. However the sheer monetary might of Microsoft soon told and at the turn of the century Internet Explorer was used by 96% of web surfers.

I am sure that when the developers of Netscape fragmented and announced that they were working on a new browser, Microsoft were hardly shaking in their boots. After all by 2002 Netscape was effectively dead, although it took several years for Netscape to realise this.

Firefox

However it wasn't long before Microsoft once again underestimated the browser market and announced that they would no longer be updating their browser after IE6, instead stating that IE would be updating only when new versions of Windows Operating systems appeared.

Indeed Microsoft's IE6 came out in 2001, IE7 at the end of 2006, about the same time as Windows Vista. A lot had happened in that time and Microsoft had left themselves once again with a lot of catching up to do. In the same time Mozilla had released 3 versions of their new Firefox browser and made tabbed browsing, search boxes and Extensions/Add Ons the way to go.

The browser wars have been raging again ever since. Apple joined in 2007 with Safari and Google at the end of 2008 with Chrome.

2009

2009 has been a great year in terms of web browser development, Firefox released version 3.5 of their browser, Apple version 4 of Safari, Microsoft IE8 and even Google updated Chrome. With the greater choice this entails, it seems that many people are jumping ship and swapping browsers.

Today, Internet Explorer has just 59% of the browser market, the lowest for more than a decade. This is despite the recent release of IE7 and IE8. Firefox has shot up from about 5% in 2005 to now account for about 31.2% of the browser market.

Even new boys like Safari and Chrome have overtaken Opera (1.56%), with 4.07% and 3.3% respectively.



What is apparent is that despite the release of IE8 this year, Microsoft have still lost almost 10% of their market share in just 6 months. This trend is only likely to continue, especially as Microsoft have announced that in Europe, they won't be releasing Windows 7 with Internet Explorer, or any browser for that matter. Giving much more incentive to switch to Firefox, Safari or Chrome.

Browser of Choice

Although IE still has around double the market share of Firefox, its closest rival, it is much closer when the browser versions themselves are compared.

IE7 had 45% of the market share at the start of the year, now it is down to just 29%, with Firefox 3 right behind at 25% (up from 20%). Of course many of those who stopped using IE7 switched to IE8, but not all of them, clearly some are moving to Firefox. If more make the switch from IE7 to either Firefox or IE8, then, for the first time in more than a decade, Internet Explorer will no longer be the world's most popular browser.

Web surfers have never had such a rich choice, nor such a rich browsing experience as they have right now, and things look as though they will just keep getting better.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Safari BETA for Windows – now working!

Apple have released another update for Safari and this time it works! Again I must say how impressed I am by how it looks, sites seem to look much better in the browser, in much the same way that they do in Firefox on Linux.

I haven't had much time to play with it yet and I am not sure that it could replace Firefox as my default browser but so far I am impressed. The one thing missing that I have noticed straightaway is the lack of a 'New Tab' button. There also doesn't seem to be a way to add more search engines to the search box, such as Amazon, eBay and so forth.

But it is early days yet and this is afterall only a BETA.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Apple release Safari 3.0.1 – still not working

I was quite pleased yesterday, I discovered that Apple have released an update for Safari making it Safari 3.0.1. At last I thought, I will be able to use Safari!

I was wrong. Still the same problems persisted, missing text on sites such as BBC News, Amazon, Horizon Web Development and so on. Oddly Horizon Flash Memory is fine, so if I want a new SD card I can use Safari, anything else though and I have to use Firefox.

I am surprised that they have released an update but not sorted out, what must be for most people, the biggest problem with Safari, they can't read the pages.

I hope that they sort it out soon, otherwise this Safari hype could run out of steam and lose all those potential users, myself included.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Safari BETA for Windows – not working yet

Many designers, be they graphic designers, desktop publishers or web designers have Macs. Not just because they are cooler but also because things seem to just look better on a Mac. I have noticed the same thing with websites viewed on the Mac and as a web designer realised that it may be worth getting one. Well Apple have solved that problem for those web designers who use Windows, with Safari for the PC.

Safari for Windows has been released today and I couldn't resist taking a look, and unfortunately I was disappointed from the off. Firstly I had garbled text. A quick Google, well found nothing as the browser was only released today but I did manage to discover that it was something to do with the font Lucida Grande and that I should uninstall it and then reinstall the one that came with Safari.

Very annoying and I was very close to just removing the browser, but I persevered, I opened my Control Panel, clicked the Fonts folder and deleted both Lucida Grande fonts that I had there. Then I went to the Safari folder (C:\Program Files\Safari\Safari.resources) and copied the two Lucida Grande files there into my Fonts folder and that got it looking normal.

I admit I was impressed with the look and speed of it so I thought I would try another site so just for fun I thought that I would visit the BBC News website and this is what I saw!

Something about cats was all I could gather from that News story, but perhaps it was a one off, so next to the Horizon Web Development site and this:

Oh dear. Trips to Amazon.co.uk and Play.com produced similar results and so in the end I gave up. Not only can I not use this browser for fun but testing web sites in this browser will probably lead me to try and correct problems that don't really exist.

Back to the drawing board for Apple and back to Firefox for me.

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