Who cares about modern browsers?

Firefox recently took IE9 and its modern browser claims head on in an article, “Is IE9 a modern browser?”.

Microsoft then retorted with “A Modern Browser”.

The only point the two have proven is eloquence of words. In reality Google’s chrome is the one proving the technical point.

Take for instance that Firefox’s much touted version 4 is still not out. Their adoption rate for new versions is next only to IE. Firefox 3.6 has the majority, but there are still many users for 3.5, 3.0 and a few beta users of 4.0. IE, as every one knows has IE8, IE7 and IE6 all being used in significant numbers. Look at chrome. Chrome 9 and chrome 8. No trace of the lower versions. This will be a very important aspect from a modern browser’s perspective.

Today a developer targeting IE has to cater to too many differences that are there between IE 6, 7 and 8.

The other challenge is that despite all the success of Windows 7, even in U.S., the number of WIN7 users has still not crossed WINXP. Even if IE9 comes out in a few months, it will take at least 2-3 years to become the standard browser when WINXP becomes a minority that no one is really worried about. The current trends for U.S. are less than 1% decrease for WINXP per month over the last 13 months. Currently around 32%, and at this rate, it will not take less than 30-36 months before it comes below 2-3% in U.S. (see http://gs.statcounter.com/#os-US-monthly-201002-201102)

For Firefox, the challenge will remain on how quickly they can bring out the stable version of 4.0 as user patience is very thin these days. Firefox was around 32.8% worldwide 13 months back. Today it is 30.5% worldwide. All the efforts of Firefox are not really leading to an increase in share. They too are taking a step in the right direction, ;-). However, they have a long way to go and prove that they are a better alternative to Chrome. (see http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-ww-monthly-201002-201102)

From an end-user’s perspective, I would love to use the browser which is the fastest and most memory/processor efficient. At the moment I will still choose to use Chrome although I like both Firefox 4 and IE9.

From a developer’s perspective, I know that there is going to be a 3 way split between IE, Firefox and Chrome/Safari. The one with the least matching features is the one that will stand out like a sore thumb for me because when making browser compliant sites, we will have to choose the least common denominator. No matter what I like, I have to program to IE6 / IE7 levels and I will continue to hate IE for doing that to me till the time I have to continue doing it.

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7 thoughts on “Who cares about modern browsers?

  1. Bottom-line is being as a Developer/Designer/Product-Project Manager it is our main target to develop Public Facing Web Apps/Sites compatible with IE/FF/Chrome/Safari, no wonder one of these days Netscape might come back and release another nail biting browser. Yes we have to care about the Modern Browser with HTML 5 round the corner and Microsoft-Adobe fuss over SilverLight-Adobe Flash. The Fuss is all about monopoly on the Cloud and Microsoft will be the winner sooner or later.

  2. Pingback: Who cares about modern browsers? (via Kartik Sehgal’s Blog) | iRise Prototyping Tool

  3. Nice perspective.

    Chrome: youngest browser, still has less percentage of users. People are more frightened about privacy issues since google has created it.

    Firefox: Probably the best browser right now. Slow start up and more memory usage are drawbacks. Perhaps they can do better with less boasting and using of addons. Going very slow on new versions, not stable as before. FF is loved by oldies (who hv used it b4) but ppl who hv started now always prefer chrome. (am a FF fan)

    IE 9: Worst of all but most important since its part of MS monopoly and developers need to cater them no matter how pathetic their standards are. Atleast MS is implementing the html standards now. Dont think it will be # 1 in near future since the advent of smart phones & tablets and new users looking for new and faster browsers.

    Safari: Do people still use it, may be Steve does 🙂

    Developers: people who suffer the most catering to all the browsers and versions, especially IE which has its own use. Will be happy days for them soon since all the browsers are html compatible. There is no doubt that developers love non-IE browsers.

    People will go with the fastest browser in the market. But as long as Office workers and pc novices are there, IE will thrive!

    • I agree that MS still has the monopoly. I also do hope sincerely that the WIN7 and IE9 adoption rate picks up.

      • However, the next 2 years will witness a major challenge to Microsoft’s supremacy in the Desktop space.
      • Tablets / smartphones already outsell PCs, cloud computing is rising like a rocket. Microsoft does not have even 1% presence in this space.
      • IBM just decided to make FireFox their default browser in 2010 dealing a big blow to Microsoft.
      • Chrome has just come out with a enterprise targeted version of Chrome where the enterprise IT department can customize the browser build to their needs.

      Safari: Do people still use it, may be Steve does

      Safari does not have much presence on the desktop PC, but is the dominant player when it comes to smart phones and tablets. Even enterprises are investing heavily on iphones and ipads.

      As far as I can see, no one, whether it is Microsoft, Mozilla, Google or even Apple can rest on their laurels. Thats good from a customer perspective, but 2011 and 2012 are going to be very difficult years for the development community which is sandwiched between the Browser giants in their battles to carve or maintain a space for themselves.

  4. Pingback: Who cares about modern browsers? (via Kartik Sehgal’s Blog) « rohitvats

  5. Pingback: Who cares about modern browsers? (via Kartik Sehgal’s Blog) | Desperation, plugged-in :-)

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