Chrome is taking users from Firefox, not IE

According to statistics from ReadWriteWeb, early adopters and tech-savvy folk seem to be moving away from Mozilla's Firefox browser in favor of Google Chrome. Their numbers are based trends from their own site's visitors, as well as outside sources. With changes in the browser wars, such as Microsoft's EU browser ballot, many would think that Chrome's increased numbers are being had at the expense of Microsoft's Internet Explorer. However, this doesn't seem to be the case, as browser market share only represents the overall picture of mainstream users--not the underlying mechanics of it.

In general, public reports have shown Chrome's significant growth since its release. While its market share numbers are nowhere near those of Firefox or Internet Explorer yet, rapid growth is still evident. According to NetMarketShare, in one year, Chrome has gone from 2.4% of the overall browser market, to 6.73% (close to a 300% increase). Firefox, on the other hand, has only gone from 22.43 to 24.59% in the same period, while Internet Explorer has dropped, significantly, from 68.32 to 59.95%.

Though Firefox, from a mainstream perspective, is still holding steady as it prepares the next significant version of its web browser (4.0), its usage among users who understand browsers and what each has to offer, seems to be falling fast. On the other hand, among the same users, Internet Explorer is still holding steady. This means that Chrome, which has shown a significant bump in traffic on most tech web sites, is picking up most, if not all of its users, from Firefox--not Internet Explorer. ReadWriteWeb's statistics show the following:

ReadWriteWeb - Browser Usage

This data leads ReadWriteWeb to believe that Chrome's battle is with Firefox, and no other. Internet Explorer's market share has been in decline for quite some time now, though among the tech-savvy, its numbers are unchanged. This can probably be attributed to Microsoft's lack of innovation (though with IE9, things look promising) and the amazing growth that Firefox has seen over the past number of years. With Chrome, on the other hand, Google has hit Mozilla in the gut. Before its release, nothing had come close to the adoption that Firefox was seeing. Chrome, and its new found love for developers and their extensions, is allowing Google to aim straight for the very blood that keeps the Firefox community so alive and well. With yesterday's news of a stable version of Chrome for Mac and Linux, the little browser that could will continue seeing even more growth at the hands of other browser--especially Firefox.

The real question isn't if the above information is true, but rather what it means for the browser market as a whole. Should this trend continue, it will interesting to see if its effect bleeds into mainstream statistics. Will Firefox 4 have the same incredible level of impact that Firefox 3 did? Will Chrome begin making its way into the computers of the Average Joe? How will IE 9 affect the whole situation? Essentially, what will browser market shares look like in the near and distant future? These are all questions to be answered as the next few years unfold. When you look at it this way, the browser wars are far from over--they're just getting started.

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