/ 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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Comments

I Use FireFox Because Its FAST, SAFER, & Its Not Microsoft Internet Explorer & I Dislike Anything To Do With Microsoft, But They Control All Computers & Laptops WorldWide 🙁 :/

AdamW says:
6 October 2010

I have Firefox, Chrome, Opera and IE8 installed on my PC as I do some web work and like to check compatibility. But I use Firefox as my main browser.

I’ve been using IE8 to test some stuff recently, and it’s been a real pig, crashing every few minutes – which leaves me highly unimpressed, since I’ve installed no extras on it, and none of the other browsers suffer the same instability viewing the same pages.

It’s good that MS grip on the browser market is being broken. Now if only the same could happen in terms of operating systems. I’ve recently begun trying Ubuntu Linux, and so far am extremely impressed. Since MS currently have the market cornered, I doubt I’d be able to break away from Windows entirely any time soon – but I’m hoping to be able to drastically reduce my usage of it.

Waylander101 says:
6 October 2010

Used to use IE exclusively as it’s preinstalled and easier. Finally ditched it like the tramp it is due to security issues. Now happily using Firefox and haven’t seen any reason to change.

I have used Firefox ever since it was first available – I have never trusted IE because it is and was full of holes. In fact I do not use MS software except the OS – Even this I’ve changed to MINT for my two laptops – The three desktops use MS XP because of the appalling Vista.

Several of my computer friends using IE have had serious bug problems – FireFox seems to be more stable.

The only time I use IE is connecting to my bank. They don’t support Firefox or Chrome.

sylvester says:
12 October 2010

I’ve come across this too. Perhaps it would be a good idea to send them the result of this poll!

MrsBee says:
28 July 2012

18 months later and this is still the case. Various utility suppliers and several banks don’t fully support Firefox for their on-line clients – oh, and Tesco. I still have to run both. Don’t these people realise what’s happening?

Stuart says:
8 October 2010

I recently switched from IE to Chrome and its like entering a new world. My broadband speed hasn’t changed but the increased download speed is incredible. However, like Sarah, I find the menu options somewhat confusing – like learning to drive again!. Another issue is that I have spent many hours adjusting settings so that when I print web pages in Chrome, it does not cut of 40% of the page. This does not happen with IE

I changed from IE8 to IE9 Beta under Windows 7 OS. Rock stable and faster than IE8.

I use Google Chrome as my main web browser, but there are some sites that don’t work with it, so I use IE for those. The reason I don’t use IE all the time is security – it’s the one most hackers and malware seems to target first. I’ve used Firefox in the past and was very happy with it, but I just like Chrome!

Andy says:
8 October 2010

After using Firefox for a number of years I decided to try Google Chrome. Chrome is now my main browser because of it’s fast loading. Firefox now seems slow in comparison though the Firefox4 Beta is also fast and I may change when it is no longer a Beta version. I have to keep IE because some financial institutions cant be bothered to recognise other browsers.

Andy Farrington says:
8 October 2010

I’ve been building and managing web sites since 1995 and ditched IE over 10 years ago in favour of Firefox which has consistently been smarter and safer to use. It’s also intuitive and user friendly, IE is a pathetic piece of software that is totally unstable whichever version they have brought out.

derbyshire rambler says:
8 October 2010

Starting off on Netscape many years ago as I detested IE

Now use Firefox, Chrome, Safari more or less in preferential order

Mac user so have always avoided Microsoft products although I admit to using Office Mac 2008 .

Roger says:
8 October 2010

I use Safari from choice and IE from necessity (some of my applications will open no other browser). I started to use Safari because of compatibility with other Apple products I have. I haven’t yet seriously considered Firefox, but I am about to because Safari does not allow Adobe Flash, and IE is for some reason slowing to a dawdle in loading pages.

For ten years I have had Macs and that is why I use Safari. I have had no problems but know that I have read your comments I think it might be time for a change to Firefox.

I started using Firefox a couple of months ago but used to use Internet Explorer. I still have access to the Explorer but prefer Firefox for going between Facebook and my homepage and looking at my inbox. On Explorer it was taking ages to do this and frequently dropping out and i was getting very frustrated. I have found that i do tend to get more virus on Firefox however and it seems to need a lot more updates than the other.

David Thomson says:
8 October 2010

I have been using Firefox for quite some time now and agree that it is a lot more stable than IE. Having said that, i still use IE8 from time to time. I see that there is a Beta version of IE9 available, only problem is, it does not work with Windows XP. Seeing that XP is a popular system, why on earth would Microsoft not include it?

Because M$ want you to upgrade to Win 7 (more money)

I have Firefox 3.6 as default browser (and Thunderbird 3 as e-mail). Until I expanded my RAM, I used Chrome as I found it used less memory. I have IE installed to call upon for the few web sites which dont work properly in anything other than IE.

I also prefer to use Firefox, but some sites don’t suit it. Like Which?, where part of the screen doesn’t display. Also some archive catalogue sites either display wrongly or don’t work at all. so then I have to go back to Explorer. I have chrome, which has a confusing interface, and safari, which also doens’t display properly all the time.

I use Firefox 3.6 to access Which? – It could be a configuration on your computer.

I’ve had the same problem with the Which website, “http://www.which.co.uk/cars/survey” had a link that was not active with Firefox but worked with IE. I complained to Which CS and got a note back to try it again, it worked. I have the idea that Which use IE during site development and then retrofit for FF, Chrome, … as needed.

Hi warX.

When you say ‘part of the screen does not display’ could you be more specific? Which page, and which part of that page? After launchng the new site design we did have a few hiccups with promotional panels, but as far as we can see, not ‘whole sections of pages’.

@MrBeck we, like most developers, develop to web standards and usually use FF for visual checks and inital testing. IE is well known for its foibles but we do support IE7 and 8, usually having to code specifically for those browsers.

As above we launched a pretty major design overhaul of the site last month and a few things slipped by us on launch. We did have a specific Javascript error with the link to the Valuations site that was quickly fixed – this has to be a bit more complex than your average link, as it tells the Valuations site wether you are logged in or not. Glad its working for you now.

Firefox has never let me down, it is reliable and fast, unlike IE.

I have been usingFirefox for some time now after being frustrated by IE crashes. I am more than satisfied and will stay with Firefox

Edna says:
8 October 2010

I have been using Firefox for some time now and am more than satisfied. IE was a nuisance and forever crashing

Kumar says:
8 October 2010

Like everyone IE was the browser with which I started. What got my goat was its cookie management, carefully designed to benefit business but patronise and frustrate the user, like most Microsoft products. I switched to Firefox when it appeared. I had briefly flirted with Opera, but its print command would often crash the browser. I tried Chrome and Safari, but did not like their minimalism – I like to see, control and fine tune everything! But I still run all the browsers. Firefox is best for printing web pages, Opera is best for navigating with mouse gestures, IE is needed for some old sites that are optimised for it, Chrome when there is a slow connection. Firefox is hugely memory hungry, Opera prints badly and IE is a security risk. As always, horses for courses. It’s a rich varied world. Enjoy everything!