Originally published in The Clarion | June 15, 2011
In keeping up with current Internet-related technologies, one of the more interesting subjects to me is Web browser usage statistics. I have written previously about alternatives to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer at which time I mentioned that I have not personally used IE on a daily basis in several years. This, of course, is driven by the fact that I do not use a Windows operating system in my daily computing – but the point was also made that even for those of you who do, there are most definitely alternatives that should be considered when choosing a Web browser.
Several online articles have just surfaced that show the continuing decline in the use of Internet Explorer from Microsoft. There are several reasons for this decline, some of which we will consider today. One of the more prevalent reasons for IE’s decline is one that may not initially come to mind. Over the last few years, devices that I like to refer to as gadgets have swamped the technology marketplace. From tablet devices like Apple’s iPad to smartphones including the Android platform from Google, more and more people are allowing their home PC’s to sit in the corner collecting dust. While such devices are most definitely not for everyone in every environment, from an entertainment perspective I can easily see where gadgets like these and many more would be the go-to device for information on the Web.
Another more obvious reason for IE’s decline in the marketplace are the other browsers available for download and use. Both Mozilla’s Firefox and Chrome from Google are fully-functional, speedy and best of all, free Web browsers that are supported on most all operating systems. Over the last several months, it has been interesting to see not only IE’s market share decline, but Firefox as well. Google Chrome has really made an impact in the browser arena and for good reason. It runs exceptionally well, browsing seems speedier than the alternatives and from my perspective graphics are much cleaner as well.
With all of this considered, the question must be asked – what impact will Internet Explorer’s decline have on the world of technology? Currently holding at just over 55% market share, it will not be long before Microsoft’s Internet Explorer dips below the 50% mark for the first time essentially since its introduction. With market share comes leverage – and Microsoft is likely to lose some of the leverage it has had over so many years in influencing stateside and global IT regulations and specifications. How do I feel about this? If you have read my articles or know me, you’ll know my reply is “It’s about time!”. Monopolies are not always bad – but sometimes the are horrific. It has been and will continue to be interesting to see how Microsoft both reacts to and prevails in the 21st Century, considering it is finally having to compete in arenas where it was essentially the only player for so many years.