Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Browsers Battle for Share

Remember Netscape? Once the premier browser brand, founded in 1994, Netscape's Navigator was essentially mothballed by owner AOL at the end of 2007.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Google's Chrome, which didn't even exist until after Netscape's demise, is now the market leader in web browsers.

This chart also shows how dramatically Internet Explorer's grip on the market has been reduced. Microsoft introduced IE in 1995 and the browser had more than 90% market share by 2004. By 2009, IE's share was below 70% as Firefox (introduced in 2004) and Safari (introduced in 2003) caught on. By 2011, IE's share was down to 43% and Firefox had zoomed into second place with 29% share.

Currently, some of the biggest browser battles are taking place on the smallest screens. Mobile browsers are increasingly the focus of innovation, with apps giving users increased flexibility and functionality. The chart above shows mobile browsers gaining ground. The next step is to bring some of the mobile functionality to desktop browsers.

As Netscape's eclipse demonstrates, even the mightiest brands can be overtaken--and quickly--in the high-stakes browser wars. Which brand will dominate during 2013?

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