Long ago the king of the browsers was Netscape. Microsoft turned their massive shift very quickly once they realized exactly how important the browser would be to the future of computing and brought Internet Explorer in line with Netscape… and then the browser wars began. As a web developer I can tell you those years SUUUCKED. Each company would include “features” that only worked with their browser, build web apps when the web was young was difficult (I realize this still exists, but nothing like it did back in the day).
Last month, Microsoft’s market share in the browser dropped below 70% for the first time in eight years, while Mozilla broke the 20% barrier for the first time in its history. Initial data sets provided by Net Applications suggest that the Internet Explorer will drop once again significantly in December to below 69% and Mozilla will climb above 21%.
For crazy detailed stats on each browser gain, decline, etc check out How serious is the market share loss of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer? at TGDaily.com.
I agree with the summary of the authors of the article… I’m stunned at how Microsoft is just letting this happen. Web apps may not be able to counter desktop apps yet (ok GMail is CLOSE… if they’d just get the contacts to sync correctly!); let’s face it… Photoshop via the web ain’t happening anytime soon. However, more and more applications are moving to the cloud. Google understands this and is pushing it agressively, MICROSOFT knows this and is building out cloud architecture… so I’m completely baffled as to why they would allow this to happen. IE8 beta’s appear to be a dude… slow, proprietary, and still not comforming to standards. Whereas the new-comers are quick, have excellent plugin architectures, the new rendering engines used in Chrome and the next release of FireFox make “web 2.0” site rawk. I guess the best we can hope for at this point is that Microsoft has a card up it’s sleeve for when Windows 7 comes out.