/ 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

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clive44 says:
12 October 2010

even the new explorer 9 keeps crashing


Chrome is elegant and simple and fast, unlike IE – also it doesn’t have several unnecessary toolbars which are visible whether you need them or not.


Yes it’s elegant but I do find some of the deeper menu options are hard to find


I used Firefox for several years after dumping IE back when the horrendous IE6 was forced out. However, after a geeky friend recommended Chrome, I switched and I have to agree with him that Chrome is faster than FF for most sites that I use regularly.

But over the next few months, IE, FF and Chrome will all have new versions launched. IE9 is already available for public beta testing. It is faster and better than IE8, but I would recommend holding on until the new FF and Chrome become publicly available as both have more to offer then IE9.


For the new page of posts. If your comment doesn’t come through straight away, don’t panic and try not to resubmit. We’re having a little issue with an over-zealous spam filter that we’re working hard to fix. We’ll approve your comments as quickly as we can, so please don’t hold back! Thanks.


What bugs me is that some sites, like Egg Money Manager, are only able to use IE!

Tony King says:
12 October 2010

I prefer Chrome to any other browser, mainly because it is so quick, & seldom,if ever, does not take me to what I am looking for, or within arms lenght of it.. I was computer weaned on IE because that was what I thought I had to use to begin with, but then I turned to Firefox to try it when I was told how good it was, & finally tried Chrome when Google entered the scene. I now use Chrome for preference, but often use others just to see if there is another I find better, or for some reason do not want to use Chrome.

Zoe Grifiths says:
12 October 2010

I used to exclusively use FF but my IT man got me back on to IE preferring it himself as it is quicker to load with more benifits than FF.
Personaly I use both, depends what mood I am in!


This survey is bound to be biased. Most Internet Explorer users are not at all interested in browser wars. Those that are interested enough to take the survey and/or leave a comment include a high proportion of IE-haters, hence the biased survey results. I’ve been browsing the Internet since 1994 when I was using Mosaic on Solaris during my computing degree, and currently have FF, IE8 and Chrome installed. I am comfortable with the user interfaces of all of them. Even Chrome, which some users here reported they couldn’t get along with the interface: yes, it’s different, but still perfectly usable once you get used to it. Out of the three browsers, I prefer using IE. I don’t see what the fuss is about FF. Yes, when it became popular, it was certainly better than IE6. But then IE7 came out and FF lost its edge, but the converts stayed with FF. I find FF slow to start up. Chrome is faster, and the surfing experience can appear sleeker, but the perceived speed is due to its DNS prefetching feature which means it looks up the IP address of every server of every link on every page that you are currently reading. The actual downloading speed is the same for all browsers, although IE may take slightly longer to render a page on the screen if your machine is a bit slow. Chrome nearly has everything I want but is let down by its lack of features when printing a page: there is very little you can configure there. On the other hand, IE has all the features I want, and does everything more-or-less correctly.


Another Firefox user. Agree that it can get slow to load, but love all the add-ons. Haven’t tried Chrome as I already had Opera for the slow-to-load moments when I’m accessing the net over a slower connection. I would also like to give Opera a vote for the wonderful OperaUnite which enables me to share files with my friends really easily. I don’t quite understand why some of the comments above refer to Windows Updating through a browser. My Updates come straight through without any recourse to any browser – I choose which ones I want and Hey Presto.

Ken Rock says:
13 October 2010

I also gave up on IE many years ago when I found Firefox. When I changed my PC for a Mac I found Safari works well. Firefox is still my browser of choice on my netbook. When Chrome came out I tried it but it wasn’t comfortable.

Evangelist Nick says:
13 October 2010

Yes, I use Safari because I have a Mac. What defeats me is why do all these savvy computer-literate people persevere with Microsoft and PCs? They are complicated, unreliable, tetchy, throw complex technical menus at you which nobody but a rocket scientist (or an IT technician!) can possibly understand, and they are SLOW! Somebody described them perfectly to me: PCs are CLUNKY. Save up the money and buy a new Mac, which is fast, logical, works smoothly with most gear connected to it, will do what you want and more, and is beautifully designed and made.

michael cranfield says:
13 October 2010

“why do all these savvy computer-literate people persevere with Microsoft and PCs?”
As someone who laid out a grand on Apple Mac a month ago and still has to work with a dear old-fashioned PC (which I’m using right now), I’ll tell you one good reason: Apple doesn’t support IE or a lot of apps I use (like Sharescope) either. So lashed out another £80 on Parallels for Mac, which was supposedly going to enable me to run Windows on a Virtual Machine. A month later – and I won’t go into the gory, boring, detail – Parallels support are still trying to make it work. Frankly I wish I’d never heard of Apple. Lovely, wireless hardware, but not worth the aggravation. That’s one reason why people stick with dear old-fashioned PCs.