Although the future of Internet Explorer seemed bleak over the past few years, perhaps 2016 was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Last year, other browsers overtook explorer and dethroned it as the most popular browser in the market. Internet Explorer more or less got abandoned when Microsoft released new software (Microsoft edge) that was announced in 2015.
Before Microsoft Edge was released, it was estimated that around 46% of all web users used Internet Explorer as their preferred desktop browser. Today, the statistics tell a different story. Much as internet Explorer has tried to keep up by updating and upgrading their browser, only a paltry 21% of web users are currently using this browser. Today, there are faster and more efficient browsers, so much so that Internet Explorer has been relegated to use as a last option when others fail.
Recent statistics show that Chrome as a browser of choice has steadily risen and its popularity continues to grow as the most preferred browser by web users. According to Net Applications’ internet data tracker, Chrome browser topped the list of the most preferred browser choice with 41.7 % globally, when compared to internet explorer’s 41.3 % and Mozilla Firefox’s 10 %. On mobile gadgets, chrome continues to take the lead as the most preferred browser choice with 49% followed by Safari from Apple at 29% and internet explorer at 4 %.
Now, in light of the above, what just went wrong with Internet Explorer? What has made Chrome overtake Explorer and gain so much popularity out of nowhere? Well, there are several reasons for this;
ü Browser War and Microsoft’s Tactical Brilliance
The domain of web browsers before 1995 was ruled by Netscape which accounted for almost 95 % browser market share. Netscape completely dominated the market at the time. During this time, Microsoft was struggling to gain recognition in the market which was never an easy task as Netscape had all the monopoly.
With time, Microsoft developed Internet Explorer to gain an advantage over Netscape. In order capture a significant percentage of the market population, Microsoft came up with a brilliant strategic plan; they embedded internet explorer into all newly developed Windows 95 operating systems. This move was essentially a game changer; it made internet explorer available and free to anyone and everyone who used windows. Mind you, windows happened to be on every PC on the planet at this time.
Netscape got furious and read biased advantage, even considering legal redress for Microsoft’s move. But as fate would have it, Microsoft emerged the victor of the browser war and consequently became the most popular browser of the time. Netscape’s popularity dropped from 95 % to 1 % within a span of a few years. It has never really been able to recover since then.
ü New Kids on the Block
After edging out Netscape, Microsoft enjoyed dominance in the market for almost ten years. In 1998, the Netscape group developed Mozilla Foundation in an attempt to bypass internet explorer’s popularity. The project did not pick up as presumed but still they continued to develop the browser, which is today’s Firefox. Firefox has gradually gained a following to the extent that it presently accounts for approximately 27 % of the most used browser on the market.
Throughout the last phase of the 20th century, internet explorer continued to dominate the browser market. This position at the top however gradually started deteriorating as new browsers were launched. For example, in 2003, Safari was released by Apple which took over market share of Mac, thus eating out a chunk of Microsoft’s share. Also, the most current browser market entree, Google Chrome, seems to have done a good job at bypassing Microsoft’s IE by far. Launched in 2008, Chrome is the fastest growing and most popular browser in the market. In 2016, Chrome’s market share increased by more than 6 % when every other browser was experiencing some form of decline.
ü Chrome vs. Internet Explorer in Design
There aren’t many noticeable differences that one could pinpoint between the two browsers, at least for beginners. A closer look at the design, however, will bring out the variations that are as distinct as day and night. With chrome design, tabs are conveniently minimized allowing one to open new tabs and bookmarks easily. To gain access to chrome settings, for instance, all one needs to do is just click on the button on the top right-hand side of the browser (the button with three horizontal lines). In contrast to Chrome, internet explorer, however, abiding by the idea of minimal listing has one exception; its tabs and address bar are all kept in one level to save up on space unless one chooses otherwise. The problem of having the address bar and tabs in one location is that tabs get quickly squeezed together in case one has multiple tabs open at once. Thus opening multiple tabs with internet explorer is impossible unlike with chrome.
ü Chrome vs. Internet Explorer Regarding Speed, Apps Galore, and Mobile Gadgets
One of the greatest considerations for a web user is how fast the browser loads a certain page. Chrome emerged as the fastest browser compared to Internet Explorer when the two browsers were put through a series of benchmarking tests using HTML 5, Octave and Sunspider.
Another feature that makes chrome stand out is the fact that it allows users to remotely use or access paid-for, as well as free apps from the browser’s web store. From a laptop or any other personal computer one can access applications since all that is required is to logging in to Chrome using a Google account. This makes Chrome extremely convenient and customizable for the user.
Internet Explorer is no longer a popular or preferred browser in the market, as was the case in mid-90s. Some people may still be using Internet Explorer as their default browser, not because of its features or what it offers but because they are not aware of other alternative browser options out there and the fact that they perhaps only visit few websites a day.
Chrome is clearly the most preferred browser; it is fast, efficient, and one can open multiple tabs without the risk of squashing others or making the browser hang. It is evident that with every passing moment. Chrome has everything a web user would be looking for in a browser and for that very reason, it remains King.