Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Browser Market and Web Apps

The browser market is fundamentally different today compare with a few years ago. The latest market share provided by Net Applications leaves Internet Explorer with a 67.77% market share. This is down nine percent from a year ago but the trend becomes even more pronounced when looking even further back such as the above 90% market share in late 2004.

While Microsoft owned the browser market five years ago, it is now a diverse market place with Firefox continuously growing and after passing the 20% mark in late 2008 and now listed at 23.84%. This is an annual increase of about five percent. The diverse nature of the browser market is fortunate as web apps gain increasing importance. Hence, the technology to access the web is not controlled or dictated by one company or group.

Safari has increased its market share to 3.53% which is about a percent higher than a year ago. The increase for Safari is currently not primarily driven by the browser itself but by the success of Apple's products.

The newest player, Google's Chrome, remains at a modest share of 1.79% but the product is still very much in its infancy. Google is pretty open and clear about its ambitions, as articulated in a recent interview - serving as a catalyst to improve the JavaScript capabilities of all browsers seems to be one of the principal motives behind the project.

How will the future browser market look like? If the current trends will remain steady may we in two years have a situation with IE at 50%, Firefox 30%, Safari 15%, and Chrome at 5%. However, that assumes that there are no disruptive change.