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I'm An Opera-phile. How About You?

Google Chrome Tops Today's List, As IE Slips to 16%

I switched over to the Opera browser the other day on my main work computer. The Oslo-based Opera Software has only been able to grab about 2% of the browser market, but at least this number has remained fairly steady for almost a decade. It may gain momentum in the mobile space as the company focuses on it and as smartphones continue to proliferate.

I switched because I consider IE to be disease-laden, Firefox to be a memory hog, and hey, Google Chrome has been acting funky on me recently. Things crash, Flash keeps needing to be installed, etc. Opera also seems to give me a clearer view, something my old eyes appreciate.

This led me to wonder about browser market share. I remember a few years back, before Chrome, when Firefox was steadily eating about 1 percentage point per month of marketshare from IE. What's been going on lately?

Stats Today & Yesterday
I found some stats put together by the Refsnes gang, three Norwegian siblings who've been tracking browser market share for the past decade. This family's company W3 Schools offers oodles of online instruction, and is not without controversy. However, it looks to me as if its browser stats are solid.

The years between 2002 and 2012 show a shocking downfall of Internet Explorer from 86% to 16%. Does this tell you all you need to know about Microsoft's performance over the past decade?

Meanwhile, Firefox had an immediate 16% share when it emerged from Mozilla's shadows in 2005. It rose to almost 48% in mid-2009 (compared to IE at 39%). Even at that time, Chrome (introduced late in 2008) had garnered 7% of the market.

Today, Chrome holds 45% of the market, Firefox has 32%, and IE the afore-mentioned 16%. Safari (which is my iPad browser) toodles along at about 4%.

For now, I'm proud to a "2 per center" who likes Opera. I have no idea what any of this marketshare means, other than it presents challenges for website developers who need their stuff to look good in any window, so to speak. I'm curious, though, why people use the browser they use. Tweet me with your opinion.

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More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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