/ Technology

Is Internet Explorer losing the browser war?

Internet Explorer web browser

Have you turned your back on Internet Explorer in favour of Chrome or Firefox? If so, you’re not alone – new stats reveal that, for the first time, it has less than 50% of the browser market.

This comes as no surprise to me. I stopped using Internet Explorer (IE) several years ago when it started crashing every time I tried to access a web page. It was time to switch to Mozilla Firefox.

Firefox is free, open source software, which means that anyone can contribute to the product. Its homepage is testament to the underlying philosophy that the internet should be public, open and accessible.

There’s more than one browser

That hasn’t always been the case. For years, Microsoft and the European Commission were embroiled in a legal battle. The EC argued that it was anti-competitive for Microsoft to include IE with its operating system.

With the release of Windows 7, Microsoft finally gave in to the pressure and has introduced a choice of browser screen. This has been crucial in highlighting to consumers that when it comes to browsers, they have a choice. And you don’t have to restrict yourself to a single browser, either.

I have three browsers on my computer. These include Google Chrome, which loads with lightning speed but frustrates me with its confusing menu icons.

I’m still using Firefox, too. I admire Mozilla’s philosophy but more importantly it’s a solid, reliable browser with an attractive interface and some nice extras. For example, Firefox pioneered tabbed browsing, which is now a standard feature of all browsers.

And, I haven’t turned my back on IE completely. The browser still works best when I’m installing those all important Windows updates.

Browsers of the future

But the war is far from over. Browsers are your window to the web and with billions of potential customers worldwide, all the key players want a slice of that action.

Google’s Chrome is currently the fastest growing browser – according to Statcounter its usage has tripled since last year and it now has 11.5% of the market. No surprises there, given Google’s successful track record.

Personally, I’m going to continue using more than one browser. Partly, because I have no desire to see Google ‘owning’ the web space (as Microsoft once did with IE) but also because there’s no reason for me to choose one browser over another. They’re all free and, for the time being, live quite happily together on my computer.

For now, I’m enjoying the best of all worlds.

What do you use as your main web browser?

Firefox (42%, 654 Votes)

Internet Explorer (26%, 411 Votes)

Google Chrome (20%, 308 Votes)

Safari (8%, 122 Votes)

Opera (3%, 46 Votes)

Other (1%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,563

Loading ... Loading ...

I’m not sure why it was considered anti-competitive for Microsoft to offer only Internet Explorer when Apple gets away with providing only Safari. I’m not criticising Safari (and it is the main browser I use on a Mac), but I like users to have choice.

Apple should offer a range of browsers, as Microsoft is now required to do in Europe. Microsoft should offer a range of browsers to users throughout the World.

I do believe Opera pioneered tab browsing?

I have been using Opera for years now and find it the fastest and easiest by far. I have Firefox for the odd website that won’t open in Opera and only use IE for my banking as their site simply can’t work in any other browser. I’m told it’s down to the way it stores my “digital safe” that requires ActiveX and entries in the registry which they say only IE can do. I wish there was another way but this is now the only reservation I have about changing to a Mac next time I change my computer.

I’ve not had any problems using a Mac to manage online bank and building society accounts for many years. Abbey National used to tell me to upgrade my copy of Netscape to an older version than the one I was using, which was amusing, but Abbey National and Netscape are just history now. Maybe change your computer and your bank.

Have any of you ever thought about installing Linux Ubuntu? It’s stable, doesn’t require a virus checker, It’s virtually free, except for postage if you need to buy direct from the Linux shop – Will cost you about £6.00 if ordered from the UK. There is a 32 bit and 64 bit latest version of Ubuntu 12.10, and the 64 bit version will allow you to install even with Secure Boot. You can boot it alongside Windows as dual boot and choose from start-up whether to boot Windows or Ubuntu, or you can install it to wipe Windows and be your only operating system. It is usually up-dated every six months, and you can download for free, or buy from the Linux shop.

I’m very happy with Safari on the the Mac except that I have to use Firefox to do some updates on a website run by a national charity. They use a second rate CMS. I want the easiest way of being productive with computers, not to understand them. I realise that Ubuntu is well respected but I’m happy with my Macs. Safari is fast and works very well for me. I don’t want to use Chrome because I no longer trust Google.

graham says:
25 October 2010

Had problems with IE blocking pop up pages even when the pop up blocker was switched off. Went over to Firefox and found I could switch the pop up blocker off and on and it behaved really well. Now made it browser of choice and boy is it faster.

I have been content with IE6/7/8, dumped Google Chrome, never tried Firefox, but when wanting sure browsing, I type the wanted site into my security provider’s search box and it never fails.

............. says:
5 December 2010

tbh its beena while now and microsoft have released a tool to fix the problem crashing and error report coming up all the time so here it is try it and see how much better ie works ie rules!!!

I did a quick check on switch on to time Firefox – it took just 19 seconds to operate on my HP Xenon at start up – How fast (or slow) is this? I’m happy with it.

It is instantaneously on if I switch Firefox off – then switch it back on again say twenty minutes later.

My laptop HP 2600 takes 31 seconds.

In all honesty – I really can’t call either slow to actually start using the Internet

Internet Explorer’s market share in Europe has continued to fall since Sarah launched this Conversation. Thank you Microsoft for making it easy to install other browsers on new Windows machines. Thank you Microsoft for getting rid of the Mac version of Internet Explorer, several years ago.

Perhaps Microsoft should pull out of the browser market now and focus on making Windows 7 a really good operating system.

I don’t have a problem with browsers as I use Firefox and Google Chrome with Linux Ubuntu. They are more stable then when working with Windows, and seem to have a lot less advertising on them. I cannot run Internet Explorer on Ubuntu and wouldn’t want to anyway.

Thankfully, Microsoft is to ditch Internet Explorer: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/microsoft-to-replace-internet-explorer-with-new-streamlined-browser-9949448.html

I wonder if their new browser will recapture any of the market share that has been lost over the years.