back to article Chrome edges out IE for desktop browser crown

Google's Chrome displaced Internet Explorer as the top desktop browser by market share in April. This according to data from web monitors at Net Applications, which has Chrome narrowly edging out IE to win the top market share spot amongst desktop and notebook users. Net Applications lumps IE and Edge into the same figure. …

  1. Sebastian A

    I'm kind of surprised that Firefox is so far behind. Could be attributed to their constant UI fiddling maybe?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      long story short: Marketing

      I'm forced to work with all browsers on a daily basis, and don't have a strong preference, so hopefully I can give a more objective, less fanboish appraisal.

      Chrome's architecture and threading model mean that the browser is faster and less janky when it comes to rendering and UI interactions. Having said that, Firefox's engine is damn fast, and thrashes Chrome in many micro-benchmarks. This is what developers call fast, but not how users "experience" fast.

      Yes Mozilla's changes have likely alienated many core users. Hiding the menu by default was part of the dumming down trend affecting the whole software industry.

      Technologically speaking, Google is defacto writing the web spec, and creating the reference implementation. They simply have vast resources so can do this for better or worse.

      Because of the whole non-profit organisation thing, Firefox resources are spread very thin. Although they implement many interesting pieces of the (rapidly changing) spec way ahead of Chrome, overall they are trailing technology wise. They also seem to have a lot of technological debt which makes threading and Workers very painful to work with. That's just an observation as a bug filer. I'm not very familiar with the src.

      Microsoft are slow, stuffy and corporate in the way they progress. Why they do what they do is far more opaque than the opensource development procedures. Edge is missing massive chunks of the modern spec, and probably always will. Microsoft has the sources, but not the agility to build a modern web browser IMHO.

      Power users and tech types will scoff at this and say that users are free to switch between FREE browsers whenever they want, but the reason Chrome use is so high is because Google leverages all their other assets to promote Chrome. Microsoft's ability to do the same is largely diminished, and Mozilla doesn't have any money to throw away on marketing, nor a dominant platform to leverage.

      1. Florida1920

        Re: long story short: Marketing

        Google leverages all their other assets to promote Chrome.

        Not in my case. As the post above yours says, Mozilla fiddling with the UI did it for me. Had been using their browser since the days when Mozilla replaced Netscape, but just got tired of having to deal with unnecessary UI changes and switched to Chrome last year; the same reason I dropped MS Office for OO and then LO. Life has enough challenges. Chrome is doing fine here with a few add-ons and will likely be the daily driver for some time to come. I keep FF updated and check it out after each update, but so far it hasn't won me back. Internet Explorer? Is that one still around?

      2. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: long story short: Marketing

        "Google is defacto writing the web spec"

        Embrace, extend...

        'but it's standard' you say. Yes, just like ooxml.

        Google's stuff even refuses to work on older versions of Chrome.

  2. Mikel

    IE must die

    Die, IE. Die.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IE must die

      "Die, IE. Die."

      Not so fast.

      IE in recent years has come on leaps and bounds. You can build a website these days and know that it'll work without much (nay, any) modification to the code.

      I can't say the same for Chrome though.

      Posting A/C as it's quite a pro-Microsoft post for someone who loves Linux.

      1. Seajay#

        Re: IE must die

        How depressing that someone feels the need to be AC for a post which just says "IE isn't too bad".

      2. Bloakey1
        Unhappy

        Re: IE must die

        <snip>

        "Posting A/C as it's quite a pro-Microsoft post for someone who loves Linux."

        Hmmm, you found it neccessary to obfuscate your identity because you were worried your objectivity might somehow be construed as support for Microsoft.

        Blimey, Fanboidom <sick> <sic> must be worse that I thought.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: IE must die

          "Hmmm, you found it neccessary to obfuscate your identity because you were worried your objectivity might somehow be construed as support for Microsoft."

          Quite right, but I'm also worried what the Google fanbois would do to me too.

      3. Mikel

        Re: IE must die

        >IE in recent years has come on leaps and bounds.

        What's this whining then from the Windows Phonies about Google sites not working properly in IE?

  3. BurnT'offering

    Pretty much

    Our website traffic is Chrome, than Safari, them IE11 - all pretty much standards compliant, which is great. The only sizeable chunk of older IE traffic comes from the standard desktops on our internal network. Well done, Corporate Apps!

    1. Sorry, you cannot reuse an old handle.

      Re: Pretty much

      Exactly! I don't understand why many sites keep desktop and mobile stats separate when there is always a user behind a machine (and in this case why is laptop considered a desktop and not a mobile device?!)

      As others have said looking at places other than Net Applications and combining with mobile stats, Chrome is a distant first and Safari a cool second...

      1. ArrZarr

        Re: Pretty much

        why is laptop considered a desktop and not a mobile device?

        Laptops get the desktop site (the same layout for responsive designs ofc) and user trends are far more similar to desktops than phones and tablets on the devices.

        The device is definitely mobile, just not mobile enough to be considered a purely mobile device

  4. werdsmith Silver badge

    Not great options

    Microsoft or Google. Not much of a choice really, the old incumbent evil corporate or the new upstart evil corporate.

    Both can go to hell as equally unpleasant.

    1. RedCardinal

      Re: Not great options

      Indeed.

      A Google product. I think I'll pass thanks...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Terminator

    Complete coincidence

    That dozens of popular "free" programs and vital "behind-the-scenes" software push a Chrome install as default.

    It is not as if 90% of modern PC users havent got a clue how to do anything except click on the link.

    BTW, that moan about the FF menu can be fixed in the options panel in about 10 seconds.

    1. Mikel

      Re: Complete coincidence

      It is important to note that IE's share is "fragmented" across five major versions - each of which is incompatible with all the others. And they are bound to the OS version in such a way that most versions are not available to everybody.

      There are different versions of Chrome too, but they all work pretty much the same. And they can all update to the latest version on any OS, OS version or hardware.

      The "versions" of IE really shouldn't be lumped together. The point is the relative market strength of each browser to the developer. In that sense IE is actually five different browsers, not five versions of one browser. Each must be supported individually or not at all.

  6. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Not that I'd trust any statistic I haven't made up carefully compiled myself I'm surprised that it took so long, what with the rapid proliferation of mobile devices. You'd think the odd Android user would notice that their mobile thingy lets them use the internet with something else than IE and think hey, maybe I can do that on my PC as well.

    On a side note: any browser is reasonable fast when you block all the crap you don't need anyway.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      I'm also surprised it took so long given how often Chrome is offered as an optional extra with other packages, not infrequently "ticked by default".

  7. Fullmetal5

    Looking at more sources

    Whenever I read about browser market shares I wonder how accurate the measurements are. I guess it just depends on what the site and thus the people that are visiting it. Even sites like this that collect data from thousands of websites are probably off by quite a bit.

    In a lot of the other articles that I've seen it always seems that Chrome is on top followed by Firefox or IE. Just as an example if you google "browser market share" and click the first link you get this article's source which says that IE is neck and neck with Chrome. While if you click the second or third link you will see that Chrome dominating with Firefox and IE fighting for second.

    Just from exploring the other links I've started to see that trend again of Chrome then Firefox/IE. Judging from the majority rather than just one I'd probably say the Chrome really is on top and from the looks of it by quite a considerable amount, not that that can't change pretty quickly thought.

    It's not that this article is necessarily wrong, it's just that it's a bit of an oddity compared to the rest and as such I kinda question if it's source is very accurate.

    1. BoldMan

      Re: Looking at more sources

      Regarding the Firefix/IE contest - it depends if the stats combine ALL IE versions or list them individually.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real story

    Websites are now coded and tested for blink and WebKit. Microsoft don't even feature here, like most other offerings, obsolete

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The real story

      Yeah, proper web development can be tricky. Picking a single browser to target is much easier. What could go wrong? It's not like a crap browser could become the de facto standard and hold back the web for years.

      Again.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow, Net Applications are now reporting what we've been seeing for the past year or two? Now that is news!

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Indeed. Another indication that the sites that run NetApplications scripts are not necessarily representative. Another opportunity wasted by The Register to compare the data with its own stats.

      The stats I watch indicate that Chrome overtook IE back in 2013.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Unicornpiss
    Flame

    Still prefer Firefox

    Both at home and at work. I just like the feature set better than either Chrome or IE. And say what you will about Java, but at least FF still supports it, Which may be a double-edged sword, but there are still tons of enterprise sites that rely on it, making FF the only real choice if IE isn't cooperating.

    Re. the trend of dumbing down everything, I despise it utterly. One thing that may say a lot about Microsoft's management structure and communication is the way that when you upgrade to IE 11, MS 'helpfully' hides your menus and bookmark bars by default---but will add the useless "Web Slice Gallery" and "Suggested Sites" back to same bookmarks bar--which is now hidden. So, is MS trying to market to you but some division didn't get the memo? Just plain stupid.

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Go

      Re: Still prefer Firefox

      For those who want to try a lightning fast browser that's exactly the opposite of the dumbing down trend, check out Viivaldi.

  12. Palpy

    I had an impression that MS was phasing out --

    -- Internet Explorer, and edging toward Edge. Or will that be like phasing out the start button in favor of all-tiles all the time, an effort stymied by user wrath?

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: I had an impression that MS was phasing out --

      In the article the count for IE includes both Edge and IE.

      1. Palpy

        Re: ...article included both Edge and IT...

        That'll teach me to read the article instead of just skimming it, eh?

        Still, with IE comprising the lion's share of MS browser clientele at present, if MS is moving away from IE, the crux will be whether users will switch off IE and go to Edge... or to Chrome or Firefox instead.

        1. Dr Spork
          Terminator

          Re: ...article included both Edge and IT...

          Didn't "Edge" turn out to be pretty much IE with a respray?

          1. Palpy

            Re: Edge is IE with hairspray?

            I'm not a good choice to answer this, but from what I've read there are under-hood differences. In some tests Edge uses more memory, but is faster than IE; Edge does not do ActiveX (or, presumably, VBScript), IE does; Edge has some ability to sandbox more effectively than IE. The Trident rendering engine is deprecated -- in fact, if what I read here is correct, Edge's user agent string impersonates Webkit. Oh, and Edge gives you Cortana. But according to Aaron Brown's essay, Edge inherits security vulns from IE.

            Whatever.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One day...

    Lynx will rule this list, and you will all wonder why you put up with plugin hassles and viruses for so many years when all you had to do was go back to a plain-text browser and all those problems go away.

    Besides, ASCII porn is the best porn. All the other stuff is just fluff. Who needs pictures anyway...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One day...

      That you 1980s_coder? You over your tantrum?

  14. Big_Ted

    These figures are distorted

    Many users have no choice but to continue to run IE. The companies they work for will only allow IE of an older version to run their legacy software.

    I have no doubt that many of those users would want to run the browser they use at home and on their phone so would like Chrome or Safari installed.

    IE/Edge use will drop lower and lower outside of business and become a niche player outside that market.

    I remember people saying noone got fired for installing Windows, how much longer will that be true ? ? ?

    1. RedCardinal

      Re: These figures are distorted

      >>Many users have no choice but to continue to run IE.

      We're forced to sue IE9 at my place of punishment and it is utterly shite...

  15. Sporkinum

    chrome

    The only place I use chrome is at work, where they have it set up for some of the intranet stuff. IE Most of the time at work, and Firefox with IE used occasionally. Nothing comes close to Firefox and how you can customize it. That may be changing soon though.

  16. dr john

    StatCounter has had Chrome ahead for a long time, since about May 2012. Which matches most of the stats for the web sites I manage.

    So this is hardly news.

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