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Fragmented Development

Browser Competition is Good

I recently checked out the browser statistics page over at W3 Schools, and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. The chart indicated that Firefox had grown to a 31% market share in the year of January. Holy smokes! Do we have the kind of leverage we need to influence the standards compliance of Microsoft's Internet Explorer? Will they finally have to clean up their act to stay alive in the browser game?

...No. No they won't. Unfortunately, the rosy statistics displayed on the browser statistics chart are not being felt everywhere just yet. On all of the pages I manage, I've only been able to see a small drop in IE's supremacy over the past year or so. On the whole, my traffic statistics tell me that 90% of my visitors are still using IE 6 or IE 7. Firefox usually has the second highest percentage, between 5-10%, with browsers like Safari and others making up the slack. Even if I did see the kind of statistics that W3 does, I would still have to make IE compatibility one of my top priorities. If it doesn't render perfectly in IE, then it's not worth my time, because the majority of my visitors would not see the best quality available.

Hopefully, whatever market share percentage it is losing will help Microsoft to realize that it's users are looking for a better experience. I do not believe IE7 delivers that just yet, but I have high hopes for the next few iterations of the browser. Microsoft has seen different alternatives gaining popularity due to the problems they've faced, and will have to start cleaning up their act if they wish to secure their future as a contender in the browser market.

Tags: browsers

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