These days there is a lot of back and forth on what is officially HTML5 and what level of support is considered to make a browser standards compliant.
I am going to talk briefly about what would make greater sense for developers targeting IE9 and Windows based solutions.
It is these features that both Chrome / Firefox support but IE9 currently does not. Before we get into why we need these features, let us look at the latest usage stats from statcounter:
IE is at 48.17, FireFox is at 31.42 and Chrome is at 13.09. This is as of 11/13/2010.
In the same period last year IE was at 57.28, FireFox was at 31.86 and Chrome was at 4.48.
Chrome has consistently put pressure even on FireFox in terms of features it supports. IE has the support of Microsoft Windows environment by default. Still, Chrome has increased by 8.61% while IE has reduced by 9.11% market share.
While IE9 is not even visible on the browser version stats as yet, Chrome 8 / FireFox 4 are already way ahead in terms of features supported. The above 3 features are even more critical in the context that we see the build up of browser based apps in the coming years.
While Chrome is trying to innovate on this ground, Microsoft has the capability because of being the biggest supplier of the Operating System, Browser and one of the most popular development environments (Visual Studio) of actually making it easy for developers to develop browser based rich and complex applications. More than end users, it is the business users who will make the difference in IE’s fortunes. With one stroke, IBM made FireFox the default browser for their employees. That impacts a huge number of users. All the web applications being developed for use within IBM will suddenly look to meeting the support required for FireFox more than caring for IE. Microsoft already has a gigantic business community customer base. They already have the products that can really help them dig their heels deeper if they make better business sense for the organizations to fund application development around IE9 and help Microsoft retain their market share.
If Microsoft takes too long (3 months is an eon in the information technology field), they will continue to suffer the kind of rapid losses that Chrome is causing. Last couple of months they have been losing about 1% point per month straight to chrome.
So the Window of opportunity for Microsoft is reducing every month with regards to their ability to command and maintain their market share across the range of their products in the coming years. Yes, you read it right. And all this because of the browser wars!