Reporting on the search engine wars is sometimes like political reporting: journalists have to try to hype a close race when there isn’t one, just to drum up interest in the race. That’s why journalists were attempting to concoct unlikely scenarios in which McCain would win long after it became apparent that he would likely lose in a landslide. The same goes for every new search engine launch, which is often hyped as a potential “Google killer.” But the reality is that Google maintains its market share while the remaining search engines just roll around fighting for the leftovers. The same goes for the social networking wars: Facebook really has no rival right now as Myspace continues to stagnate and branch away from social networking and more into content distribution.
So it’s pretty neat that the browser wars aren’t following this rather boring trend. TechCrunch reports that competition is vibrant in this arena, with at least four strong players battling it out for dominance:
The new browser wars on on. More than a decade after Microsoft killed off Netscape with Internet Explorer, competition in the browser market has never been stronger. Just last week, Mozilla released Firefox 3.5, which has now been downloaded nearly 14 million times. Earlier in June, Apple released Safari 4. In March, Microsoft introduced Internet Explorer 8, and Google came out with a speedier beta of its Chrome browser.
Some early data is coming in showing relative market share and how fast people are upgrading. If you look at the chart above from Statcounter, it indicates that since March Internet Explorer has lost 11.4 percent market share to other browsers. That is the combined market share of IE8, IE7, and IE6. Certainly IE8 (the light blue line) has been growing strong since its release last March, capturing 16.7 percent of the market as of July 4. Those strong gains make up for most of the drop in IE7Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s market share from 49.1 percent in March to 30.1 percent yesterday, indicating that Microsoft is doing a good job of getting existing IE7 users to upgrade at a steady pace. And in mid-June, IE8 finally surpassed IE6, which still stubbornly holds a 7.6 percent share. Add those three up, (IE6+IE7+IE8), however, and IE all together holds only a 54.4 percent market share versus the 65.8 percent combined share in March, 2009.