A few short years ago the browser war seemed dead and buried. After Microsoft's Internet Explorer usurped Netscape's Navigator in the late 1990s, it's domination of the Internet seemed complete, over 95 percent of us using a version of IE.
Those days are gone. The guts of Navigator were reborn in 2004 as Firefox, a browser that has been drinking more and more of IE's milkshake ever since. Firefox now owns at least 18 percent of the market, with some estimates giving it more than a quarter. More recently, Apple has threatened to start a three-way fight, using the software updater included with iTunes to slip its Safari browser onto PCs. While its market share is miniscule – less than one per cent among PC users and around three per cent overall –Safari offers a PC users a credible third choice.
Meanwhile, IE 7 is groaning under the weight of bad press, criticised for its instability and sluggish performance. Apple is trumpeting Safari 3.1 as the world's fastest browser, while Firefox 3 – which is now out of beta and into the Release Candidate stage – is claimed to be over twice as speedy as its predecessor.