Will the New Browser Wars End Before Really Getting Started?

Before the announcement that Yahoo! was buying Flickr,
the big Yahoo! news was that all Yahoo! services would soon be compatible with Firefox,
and all new services that Yahoo! released would also be Firefox compatible. Well, according
to ZDNet Australia
,Yahoo! has backpedalled somewhat, calling their original
statement "factually incorrect." I’m not here to beat Yahoo! up for either having
a change of heart, or for releasing inaccurate information since 1) accidents happen,
and 2) I have no problem with people (or companies) changing their minds when they
need to, as long as it doesn’t have a major negative impact on existing customers.
However, I do think Yahoo’s correction foreshadows another interesting shift in
browser distribution.

My prediction: the new
version of Internet Explorer
along with the release
of Tiger
will deal a massive
blow to Firefox, and the feeling that we are all in for another era of
bloody browser wars. I don’t have a list of IE 7 features in front of me, but
Microsoft is smart enough to deliver a browser that their customers are going
to want while many Mac users who are currently using Firefox because of issues
with Safari will be curious enough about the
new version
to give it another chance. I believe the result will be a sharp
decline in Firefox adoption.

That’s not to say Firefox will go away. Those of use in the IT field will
continue to use it (at least I will — I can’t live without certain plugins), but
I think IE 7 and Tiger will go a long way toward pulling Firefox out of the mainstream.

10 Responses to Will the New Browser Wars End Before Really Getting Started?

  1. PaulC says:

    My 2 cents, as I’ve been pondering this:I love Firefox. I love the extensions I’ve come to rely on.However, I don’t think it can mantain itself as a reliable product without backing. Name one piece of ‘everday’ open-source software that has been able to effectively rival (in marketshare) a commercial counterpart. (By everday I mean things your parents/grandparents would use. Browser, word processor, mail client, media player.)To lots of parents, grandparents, AOL users and other miscelaneous non-geeks, the ‘Blue E’ is the ‘internet’. If IE7 puts out a strong showing, game over.Netscape could be that backing, but if you’ve look at NS 8, you’ve seen how they went a little nuts with what was a sleek browser. Sure, there’s a few enhancements I’d like to see in FF, but not at the cost of using Adblock and having a few dozen widgets cluttering up the interface.Really, come to think of it, Netscape is it. If they blow this, I doubt you’ll see a real browser war for a long long time.

  2. Ryan Guill says:

    If ms really is as smart as you think then you may be right, but my money is on them not being quite so smart. Sure they may pull out some tabs and some new safety features, but I seriously doubt they do much to the rendering engine. To me (of course I am biased being a webdeveloper) the way the page looks is much more importaint to me. Their shotty support for css 1 and their nonexistant support for css 2 even though they claim its there is i think a precidence that they will be doomed to repeat. ALL sites in ie on my laptop look like caca, especially compared to firefox. You may be right, but here’s hoping youre not!

  3. Gus says:

    What browser war? Here are stats from a general use, NON-TECHIE site that I run:MS Internet Explorer 92.1 %Firefox 3.5 %Netscape 1.7 %Safari 1.2 %Mozilla 0.9 %Opera 0.1 %Unknown 0.1 %Not much of a war if you ask me!

  4. Christian Cantrell says:

    The numbers I’ve seen put IE at or just below 90%. That is certainly not a war, but considering the rapid adoption of Firefox, I would call it a skirmish. The point of this post is that I don’t think the skirmish will ever reach the level of a war.

  5. Derek says:

    I wholeheartedly agree that FireFox will require some sort of commercial backing in order to remain a serious marketplace contender: and in spite of all the conflicting reports to the contrary, I suspect it will be Google who steps up to the plate.

  6. ericd says:

    IE is floating on a giant iceberg in the ocean, some of the edges are falling awa, but they still have room to build an airport on that sucker.I deal with IE, I like Firefox, love Safari. Bring on Tiger!

  7. Boyzoid says:

    I really have nothing technical to add to this conversation other than to say:FireFox = much more gooderIE = much less gooder

  8. I’m a Mac user who went back and forth between Safari and Firefox several times but have finally settled on Firefox. My blog stats show about 50/50 between IE and Firefox now so it’s clear that there is a huge difference between techies and non-techies – at the moment.

  9. Peter Daams says:

    Similar to Sean, I’ve gone back and forth between Safari and Firefox, but pretty much only use FF now. Mainly due to the extensions. Things like seeing the Google PR and Alexa Ranking of a site in the status bar are very important to me. And I love being able to query multiple search engines from within the browser (I very much doubt IE7 will add built in Google search in light of their new MSN search).We’ll see what IE7 actually delivers and when. For our non-tech site, we are currently only getting 59% IE6.x and about 70% over all IE versions. FF is over 20%. I think IE has already lost quite a few people in the last few months, people who have sworn to ‘never’ go back to IE. If nothing else, there’s a greater awareness of choice now.I think FF still stands a good chance.

  10. Debra Owen says:

    Mac user here, and using Safari. I’m not a programmer or developer, and my friends who are use some of the other browsers you mentioned. (This leads me to believe these browsers are far superior, but I just haven’t got the time.) In terms of overall population, it seems people are happy with IE. They just don’t know something better is out there. (I know something better might be out there, but haven’t the time to find/learn it. Most folks use a browser because it’s there and they don’t know something better exists and don’t have time to find it.)So that’s a long way to agree with earlier posts asking ‘what browser wars”? I actually think it might be nice to see some.