/ Technology

Our poll results: Firefox tops Internet Explorer

Most of us use the internet daily, but we don’t all access it in the same way. The so-called ‘browser war’ is no longer a one-horse race, with our poll suggesting that Firefox is biting at the heels of Internet Explorer.

In a previous Conversation, we put a question to you – what do you use as your main internet browser? Following a huge response of over 1,500 votes, we can now present the results.

Perhaps surprisingly, it was Firefox that came out on top. Two in five of you claimed to access the web with this browser. In second place is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE), with just a quarter of your votes.

In the comments many of you described a move from IE to Firefox, with Richard explaining, ‘I have used Firefox ever since it was first available – I have never trusted IE because it is and was full of holes.’

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

IE usage is still on top

Microsoft previously held a veritable monopoly in the browser space, but it looks like mindshare is finally falling away. However, no matter what people think, IE is still used the most, even if that share is swiftly declining.

We can demonstrate this by simply revealing our Which? Conversation website statistics. What browsers do you actually use to access the site? IE comes out on top with 36% – which is in fact relatively low compared to current worldwide estimates of around half. Firefox is next up with 28%, followed by Google Chrome at 17% and Apple’s Safari with 9% usage.

As far as these latter web browsers go, one in five of you voted for Chrome. Google’s browser has experienced a dramatic rise, tripling in usage over the past year. Stuart describes it as ‘like entering a new world’ when moving from IE. But Chrome’s not only stealing Microsoft’s thunder, it’s had a little stab at Firefox too, as Andy explains:

‘After using Firefox for a number of years I decided to try Google Chrome. Chrome is now my main browser because of its fast loading. Firefox now seems slow in comparison.’

Competition is good news for everyone

There was one worrying trend in the comments. Many of you only use IE in order to access your online banking. From the results above, if your bank doesn’t support Firefox or Chrome it’s a very significant problem. Is this something you’ve experienced?

As for the big battle of the browsers, what should we take from our poll? Klitos thinks our survey was bound to be bias, since ‘most Internet Explorer users are not at all interested in browser wars.’ Whether this is true or not, it’s clear that although most of the world uses Microsoft’s browser, there’s definitely a growing appetite for competitors.

And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that – in fact it’s a huge positive as Wavechange explains, ‘Competition is good for development and the continued decline in market share of IE has finally wakened up Microsoft.’

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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I use google chrome, those other ones gave me viruses…maybe I didn’t use the right protection…

Dave says:
9 November 2010

I used to use Firefox but it kept crashing, would just stop working and not respond. A pity really as I preferred it but I have now switched to Opera although I have Chrome and IE as back ups.

Chris says:
14 November 2010

On my phone i use Opera, personal laptop Chrome & work laptop only IE is available. I prefer the one that works well in each location. Personally i dont really like internet explorer so Chrome gets my vote on a laptop. I do find myself having to switch back to IE occasionally as websites do seem a bit slow to adopt at times, but thats becoming a very small number of sites.

This Conversation is a good example of how the Which? people need to group similar Conversations together instead of leaving them lying around separately on the website. This poll-result should be with the original poll-gathering conversation and with other similar conversations about browsers, which mention this poll without pointing out that the poll has finished. Can we ******* have Conversations better organised ?

One comment – you are not comparing like with like – IE is supplied with the vast majority of computers whether you like it or not. Whereas Firefox has to be downloaded separately.

Given that most computer owners or operators are not computer experienced or literate so they stick with the one that comes with the machine – many people are also reluctant to learn to use a new product anyway.

The only way it would be fair is if MS did not supply IE with the OS – or gave a choice between IE and Firefox when the O/S is installed – and the last time I looked they don’t.

Richard – In Europe, Microsoft have ‘agreed’ to offer users of a new copy of Windows a choice of browsers, which is one of the reasons that use of Internet Explorer is declining so fast in Europe. Hopefully this will help get over the problem that most computer users just use what they are given.

I would like to see Apple do voluntarily what Microsoft has been forced to do. At present, Macintosh computers are supplied only with Safari, Apple’s own browser. At one time, Apple did provide two browsers. Safari is usually my browser of choice, but Firefox is much better for some tasks.

Whatever computer you use, it is well worth having a choice of browsers and they are not difficult to download.

There’s also Comodo Dragon browser, based upon Chromium.