Chrome versus Firefox

Chrome continues its upward climb. Can it eclipse Firefox?

September 17, 2010
Chrome versus Firefox

Google’s Chrome browser is in the fast lane. And with the expected release of Chrome OS in the near future, there is every chance that the relative newcomer in the world of browsers could topple Firefox and become the second most popular browser.

Certainly not this year but perhaps towards the end of 2011?

Right now Internet Explorer still dominates the browser market with 60.4% market share at the end of August according to NetApplications data. Second is Firefox with 22.93% and third is Chrome with 7.52%.

The difference between 22.9% and 7.5% – the gap between Firefox and Chrome – is significantly large. But, of the two browsers it is clearly Chrome which is on form while Firefox is actually losing ground, at the moment.

Firefox dips

In September 2008 Firefox had 19.6% market share. Chrome had 1%. In November 2009 Firefox peaked at 24.7% share and since then has lost ground to end in August at 22.9%. Chrome, on the other hand, continues its upward climb. It hit 2% in April 2009, 3% in August 2009 and now sits at close to 8% market share.

Extending Chrome’s growth line through to the end of 2011 might well suggest that Chrome will pass Firefox by Christmas 2011. But, simply assuming that Chrome will continue to grow at its current pace would be short-sighted. There are many factors that could influence the future of Chrome, and Firefox.

One of the things counting in Chrome’s favour is the pending release of Chrome OS. Google’s Chrome operating system will be heavily biased towards web-based applications. If it achieves significant uptake among users then it’s safe to say that the Chrome browser will benefit from a hefty boost.

Firefox, on the other hand, is not about to give up the fight. It’s latest browser, version 4, is nearing completion and with a new streamlined interface, HTML5 support and a host of new features, could hardly be considered a lost cause. Firefox also has a key ace up its sleeve: it’s extensive collection of thousands of add-ons.

Internet Explorer is still the key to this web browser struggle. To date the IE browser has lost more market share than most of its competitors could even dream of gaining. In September 2008 IE held 74.18% market share. At the end of August this year it was down to 60.4%. Firefox clearly benefited from this drop, as did Chrome and Apple’s Safari, which now commands just over 5% market share.

Internet Explorer 9, the latest Microsoft browser, was released earlier this week. Having now moved a long way from its infamous IE6 browser to the significantly more standards-compliant IE9, Internet Explorer could well stabilise its position in the market. If this is the case then Firefox and Chrome are likely to see a sudden slowdown in their growth but it is relatively safe to assume that the gap between Firefox and Chrome will reduce even further before 2011 is out.

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