Browser usage behaviours

According to StatCounter, FireFox 3.0 is now more popular than IE7 in Europe.

Here’s the graph based on usage from weeks 4 to 13 this year (we are currently in week 14 as I write this). The green arrow is where Firefox has just overtaken IE. The red arrow down the bottom is pointing at the uptake of IE8 (only small admittedly, but a lot higher than Chrome for example). As Alan Lee rightly pointed out this morning, combined IE still has the edge over Firefox – but probably not for long when you consider the trend up of FF and the trend down of IE7. It’ll be interesting to see the trend of IE8 uptake over the coming weeks.

Firefox more popular than IE in Europe

Looking at worldwide usage however, its a different story. IE7 is still way out in front. But even worse, IE6 is in a solid third place just below Firefox.

IE most popular world wide

The real question though, is who cares?

In fact, why do the vendors even care? What real competitive advantage is browser share giving Microsoft? What additional revenue streams? In many cases all it provides is a soft target for anti-competitive attacks. There’s little value in controlling the browser these days, surely the value is in controlling what content resides in the browser.

Lately I’ve been a little harsh on Microsoft for their mis-guided (in my opinion) browser strategy. But now I’m starting to understand why. They don’t really care. And nor should they. So whilst the masses are clamouring to add their IE9 wish list items, I suspect Microsoft are just content to get a stable browser bedded in and get back to making money.

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