/ 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

The only sites I use I.E. for are Windows Updates and a few that will not accept any other browser. Most of the time I use Google Chrome.It’s fast, simple and reliable. There are now extensions available to make it less basic, including an I.E. tab, for the sites that will not work in Chrome.
Chrome has not yet achieved the point where it is universally recognised. There are still some useful extensions and tool-bars that are already running with Firefox and I.E. that are not yet available for Chrome.

Before Chrome came along, I had been using Firefox, but that just seemed to get slower and slower, until it was not better speed wise than I.E.

Trevor says:
8 October 2010

IE 8 gives me all that I need.Never ha a problem. Tried Firefox,Chrome, Safari but I find them confusing as I am unfamiliar with them. It’s fashionable to run Microsoft down, but let’s admit it, they’ve changed our lives forever.

I’ve been using Firefox for about 5-6 years after a realisation that someone could actually design a browser that was far more secure, had better features and was simply just a pleasure to use in so many ways. IE feels so clunky by comparison, and so old-fashioned. Interesting to see that IE has emulated many features that have been part of Firefox for years, such as tabbed browsing and allowing more screen ‘real estate’ than in previous versions. I like the Firefox feature that allows you to start typing a URL which then performs a real-time search of your Bookmarks and History, starting with the most recently-visited page.

Firefox is streets ahead of IE, which should be retired to a museum. Americanisation of ‘Favorites’ is a good enough reason to stop using it over here. At least Firefox allows users to use a British version without the Americanisms!

However, some sites still don’t display properly in Firefox, including Which? I have contacted you, but heard nothing… come on guys, keep up! 🙂

Great to see all these comments – looks like Firefox is winning at the moment. I’m a Chrome user myself – I moved on from Firefox, as it’s been getting slower than the others as the years go on. Safari, Opera and Chrome are the fastest browsers. I also find that Chrome has a slickness that both Firefox and IE lack – it also has some standard extras (like Google search in the address bar and auto Google Translate). Though IE8 is good and I hear IE9 is set to be a good release.

One other thing – if you’re finding that your comments aren’t going up straight away – don’t worry. We’re having a little trouble with an over-enthusiastic spam filter. So we’ll approve your comments ASAP, and fix the problem soon! Keep joining in the Convos!

Ah, I thought something was up :). Might have to give Chrome a go. You can change the default search in Firefox to whatever you want – I use Google UK. I also like the Adblock Plus add-on, blocking so many of those annoying ads! There are also translator add-ons too though I haven’t found one that specifically uses English (UK).

Yep, you can get a lot from Firefox with add-ons. But many of them are default in Chrome, and it also has a huge raft of its own add-ons. It’s worth giving it a go – it’s faster and not as clunky IMO.

I have been using IE since forever, until the introduction of IE9 beta which I installed successfully and then in conversation with friends who use up to 4 browser I decided to give Opera and Google Chrome I go. May it’s just me but I couldn’t get on with Chrome at all and swiftly uninstalled it but Opera however is much faster then IE9. On balance I have returned to IE9 for the time being as overtime I have just got accustomed to it and while it may be slower I am also used to using it and can do what I want faster. It’s go good getting to the web page faster if it then takes your twice as long to move to the next.

My computer is regularly been crashing because maybe I have IE8 but I use Transport Direct Toolbar that is not on any other browser so unless the toolbar is on alternative browsers I am sticking with IE8 because the toolbar makes it a lot easier for me to A to B very quickly without needing to use the website which wastes a bit more time.

Ian Jenkinson says:
10 October 2010

I use firefox and chrome browsers, and recently took the plunge and now use Ubuntu instead of windows after it hijacked my machine in the middle of something again.
free, stable and configurable – it sounds miles and miles better for music too – all for FREE.

fiona says:
10 October 2010

I use Safari as my main browser but also sometimes use chrome and occasionally firefox and internet explorer.

We’ll be talking about this on the Technology Podcast http://www.which.co.uk/podcasts/, which goes live on Thursday morning.

It’s interesting that Firefox is coming out on top so far, when in fact, our traffic is a little different. I can actually reveal what browsers you guys access Which? Convo from. 36% of you access it from Internet Explorer (whether v8, 7 or 6), 29% from Firefox, 18% from Chrome, 9% from Safari and 1% from Opera.

It’s not too different from the poll, but Firefox certainly isn’t on top!

Had my computer for 6 years now and originally used internet explorer mainly for banking..(some browsers were not accepted by some banks )) possibly this has changed now,I still use IE for this, however a couple of years ago I gave Firefox a whirl as I found that IE was quite slow, and was very pleased with it, but not being of a faithful disposition , I changed over to Google Chrome, it can be a little fiddly but does everything that I need, difficult really to favour chrome over firefox, they are both excellent!!!

I am a Firefox use however as one comment has said its power hungry

My other comment, which no one has mentioned yet and is linked to above, SOME add ons do slow it down whens its starting up, to the point where it might not load/takes a minute. I disabled a couple a few weeks back and got it back to not far short of 10 secs

ROBIN SHORE says:
12 October 2010

i use firefox has the new ie9 keeps on frezzing sort it out mircosoft im useing windows7 64bits

Mike Robbins says:
12 October 2010

I use Firefox and love it, but concur with other users who say it’s getting slower. It’s quite memory-hungry. So I may eventually go to Chrome – but will try Firefox 4 first, when it is released properly. Because of the way it works with the OS, it’s likely to be quicker, apparently.

I also use Portable Firefox – this is great; you can load it onto a memory stick complete with your favourites and settings, and use it on any computer. Useful in internet cafes and in the office.

I used Firefox until Chrome launched which I then switched to due to it’s great search/ address bar. However it still doesn’t cater for every website & I get frustrated having to switch between browsers depending on the site.

I then discovered IE9 beta, where Microsoft have successfully ripped off the best features of both Firefox & Chrome to develop a very solid & usable browser. I’m not switching again soon unless there’s a brilliant new innovation.

Stuart7 says:
12 October 2010

I have used Firefox for a number of years now and have never been tempted to revert to IE. I am a pensioner and simply find Firefox easier and more convenient to use. When I did last use IE some time back I had problems with loading pages and freezing.

I used firefox until Chrome launched which I then switched to due to it’s great search/ address bar. However it still doesn’t cater for every website & I get frustrated having to switch between browsers depending on the site.
I then discovered IE9 beta, where Microsoft have successfully ripped off the best features of both firefox & chrome to develop a very solid & usable browser.
I’m not switching again soon unless there’s a brilliant new innovation.

Mike Hahn says:
12 October 2010

I finaly got around to switching to Firefox. All absolutely excellent…..UNTIL I treid to log onto my account with ICICI Bank. I couldn’t. Having been locked out I had to call the “Help” line. As best as I could understand the English from Delhi, on an economy phone line, I had to use IE. So, I had to go back to that to use a bank. Seems a funny do to me.
M.

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