Lies, Damned Lies, and Browser Statistics

(with apologies to Mark Twain)

It’s fun to play with numbers. For example, using a table at WikiPedia, I can see that Internet Explorer went from 95% popularity in second quarter 2005 to 79% (approx) in first quarter 2008 – or almost 20% of its share lost in just under 3 years.

What does this mean? Well, it would be fun to say that with a 17% drop in three years, within fifteen years Internet Explorer will not be used by anybody.

But that’s not realistic – that’s just abusing statistics to a level that even Samuel Clemens would take notice of.

However, what I believe will happen is that FireFox will continue to gain ground, for several reasons:

  • The David vs Goliath factor. Microsoft is seen as the big bully, so people move to the underdog.
  • The techno factor. Everyone comfortable with computers likes new – and moving to Firefox.
  • The cool factor. Likewise, since the easy course is to stay with the built in browser, it’s seen as the tech way to move to Firefox.
  • The Open Source factor. It’s only a matter of time (and debate, naturally) until Open Source invades computers everywhere. Between Ubuntu and the Mac, Open Source is gaining ground in ease of use, and in foreign markets. And Firefox, in contrast to IE, is very OS-agnostic.

Is this the end for IE? Of course not, but as I said, it’s fun to play with numbers – and the numbers ARE showing us a new future in the browser wars.