Google Chrome chips away at Microsoft IE

Browser and operating system market share stats show that Microsoft's Internet Explorer loses ground, Firefox maintains and Google Desktop and Chrome inch upward

Janco Associates' February 2010 Browser and Operating Systems Market Share report shows that Microsoft remains in the lead with Internet Explorer, but loses a bit of momentum that apparently Google Desktop and Chrome managed to acquire.

Recent market share statistics deliver good and bad news for Microsoft. The company saw its Internet Explorer browser lose more ground, seemingly to Google Desktop and Chrome, while its Windows 7 operating system quickly gained market acceptance.

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"The last six months have been a mixed bag for Microsoft," said Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates, in a press statement. The research firm points out in its February 2010 Browser and Operating System Market Share Study that Microsoft IE market share has dipped by more than 12% since February 2007, mostly due to interest in competitive offerings from Firefox and Google.

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"Firefox and Google have been the main recipients of this change in market share," the report reads. "Google's Desktop and Chrome are new entrants into the browser market; however, interest in both products has dropped with the recent release of IE 8."

According to Janco Associates, Microsoft IE continues to lead the pack of browsers, but Microsoft did lose some 6% in the past 12 months and now holds a bit less than 65% of the total browser market, compared to more than 80% in February 2007). Firefox market share remained mostly flat, declining less than 1% to more than 17%. At the same time, market share for Google's browser grew more than 2% to close to 6% while Safari saw a nearly 1% increase to 1.39%. Janco also uses this report to declare Netscape as "officially dead."  

"The acceptance of Firefox has stalled as the novelty and uniqueness of its features has worn off and has been duplicated by Microsoft's IE. Firefox is no long unique as both IE and Google's offerings provide most of the same features," according to the Janco Associates' report. And the report goes on to say interest in Firefox and Google Chrome could wane in the future because "their browsers do not work on all Web sites."

Janco estimates that the browser market has stabilized as "the movement toward [Google Desktop and Chrome] has been inhibited by their lack of robustness" and "IE users moving quickly to IE 8." Still despite Google's gains, the research firm says its lack of more movement and apparent stalled interest could be viewed "as a major defeat for Google."

While Microsoft watches its browser market share shrink, it is also seeing its recent Windows 7 operating system release take off, Janco point outs.

"Windows 7 now has 12% of the operating system market in less than 7 months since its release," Janulaitis added. "The last time that an operating system was accepted as quickly in the market was XP. Vista's market share has peaked and is in the process of being decommissioned in most enterprises."

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