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Browsers Fighting to Keep up with the Web 542

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the competition-is-good-for-progress dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With the continued evolution of the internet and more tools being developed or migrated online browsers are fighting to keep up. Wired has a quick look at the current status of the browser war and what different browsers are doing to try to stay ahead. From the article: 'Already, IE has seen its U.S. market share on Windows computers drop to 90 percent from 97 percent two years ago, according to tracking by WebSideStory. Firefox's share has steadily increased to 9 percent, with Opera's negligible despite its innovations. WebSideStory analyst Geoff Johnston said Firefox must continue to improve just to maintain its share. Because IE automatically ships with Windows, he said, users satisfied with IE7 may not find enough reasons to download and install Firefox when they buy a new computer.'"
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Browsers Fighting to Keep up with the Web

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  • Lack of Change (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whatsforlunch (929777) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:25PM (#15571053)
    things will never change. A majority of internet users don't realize how bad IE is. Also they don't even know other browsers even exist. Not much you can do other than sit back and let it happen
  • by TWX (665546) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:26PM (#15571059)
    ... is exactly what drove me away from Microsoft in the first place. Specifically, Windows 95 "C" where the IE installer started and couldn't be cancelled through a normal dialog box (but could be 'End Task'ed), despite the fact that it was a piece of shit. Yes, Netscape was king of the non-standard extension back in those days, but their abuses pale compared to Microsoft's ActiveX in the late nineties through today, and with the massive vulnerability that ActiveX poses Microsoft should face a class-action lawsuit for negligence in their product design resulting in expensive and time-consuming repairs to computers on a regular basis. Furthermore, it was a travesty that despite Microsoft's Anti-trust ruling they weren't forced to remove Internet Explorer from the OS or weren't forced to include third-party web browsers in the same fashion that they were forced to include third-party connection suites like Compuserve, Prodigy, and America Online in addition to their own MSN.

    Mozilla should continue to grow, and advanced users should continue to push to make sure that it is implemented, so long as it remains a better tool for the job than the default (Internet Explorer).
  • by Artie Dent (929986) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:28PM (#15571079) Homepage
    Despite the innovations that IE7 may posses, the fact is that open source software will continue to mold itself to the whims of the web at the time, and it will be very difficult for Microsoft to keep up.
  • Re:Lack of Change (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:29PM (#15571083)
    Is that really a problem? As long as a steady 10-20% use a different browser, webauthors can not make their pages "IE-only" and to me that is all that matters. A Firefox dominated web would be just as bad as the IE dominated web from a few years ago.
  • by Frobozz0 (247160) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:30PM (#15571094)
    If IE was standards compliant and secure, people wouldn't care. Features are nice, but features can be implemented by the king of the hill once the kinks are ironed out by the underdogs.

    As a web designer / developer I'd be happy enough if people who stuck with IE would at least get a good representation of standards compliant rendering of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. That's the *first* step that is *required* of Internet Explorer.
  • Keep up? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the computer guy nex (916959) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:33PM (#15571114)
    "Despite the innovations that IE7 may posses, the fact is that open source software will continue to mold itself to the whims of the web at the time, and it will be very difficult for Microsoft to keep up."

    What does it matter if Microsoft keeps up? Most of their target audience are computer users who will never want a Firefox extension or an RSS feed.

    Most people login to read the news, get the weather, and send an email or 2. What Microsoft offers fulfills that.


    Slashdot crowd doesn't realize they are the extreme minority, and a big business doesn't make big money targeting small minorities.
  • And so it goes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrotherNO@SPAMoptonline.net> on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:34PM (#15571124) Journal

    The problem is that there's no real, new, revolutionary development in browsers. They're all following each other's leads and copying each other's successes, not looking beyong the narrow confines of their little war for market share.

    With applications migrating from static desktop to web driven versions and web sites creating useful functionality, the web browser has to evolve. Even the word "browser" is really not fitting anymore, since they do so much more than serve up static content. They are becoming control interfaces, transaction screens, and data transfer mechanisms; the browser is going to have to become "heftier" (do not read as larger) to deal not just with interacting with these new applications, but to provide a new layer of security.

  • Re:Actually ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nos. (179609) <andrew@@@thekerrs...ca> on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:34PM (#15571127) Homepage
    True, but as the feature gap narrows, there will be less reason (for most users) to go through the hassle of downloading and new browser (and any plugins). Microsoft can play catch up with features and maintain or grow its market share while firefox (and others) will have to stay innovative to maintain or grow.
  • by bcrowell (177657) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:38PM (#15571163) Homepage

    I recently converted some physics books to html, and I would have loved to be able to use svg for line art and mathml for the equations. Firefox supports them, but IE doesn't. Sure, I could have made two versions, or done content negotiation, or something complicated like that, but it would have significantly increased the level of complexity of the project. I just wasn't willing to go to that much effort for for an incremental improvement that would only benefit 10% of my audience. MS is clearly in a situation where they have an effective monopoly, and absolutely no motivation to support any new standard, much less to carry out their own innovation. Heck, they don't even support transparent pngs yet.

    There are lots of other ways that MS has had a negative effect on the internet as well, including their behavior about java, and Windows' lousy default security settings, without which botnets wouldn't have happened.

    I don't normally feel any compulsion to bash MS. If other people want to use Windows and Office, that's their business. But what they've done to the internet and open standards really hurts everyone else. If it hadn't have been for them, we'd probably have already moved beyond java applets and ajax, to a web 3.0 that would really deliver what web 2.0 is currently struggling to accomplish.

  • by doti (966971) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:39PM (#15571172) Homepage
    and savvy users will never account for more then 10% of the users.

    But I don't care if IE dominates the market, as long as the other browsers, or better the web standarts, are respected (that is, IE-only sites sucks).
  • Re:Actually ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    Anyone who found enough reasons to download Firefox before (Adblock? Mouse gestures?) is certainly going to find enough reasons after IE7's release.

    I disagree. I believe the vast majority of people downloaded Firefox for one reason -- it was more resistent to spyware. Hell, that's the only reason *I* downloaded it. And that's the reason I've downloaded it for some of my family, pretty much to avoid having to fix their computer. I was perfectly happy with IE. I've learned to like tabs, so that'd be another reason I might download it again.

    But if IE7 is better with spyware and has tabs? Good-bye Firefox. And the bugs in Firefox (memory leaks, runaway CPU hogging) and the incompatibilities (video doesn't work on the CNN and Sports Illustrated web sites) is already annoying. I don't run any other significant plug-ins (especially ad blockers, which I think are somehwat immoral -- I want my favorite web sites to make money).

  • by Zane Hopkins (894230) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:45PM (#15571229) Homepage
    If more manufacturers took a leaf from Dell and installed Firefox on all new computers, then over time firefox's user base can only go up. It's getting buy-in from pc manufacturers thats more important than trying to beat IE with features (and therefore bloat)
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:46PM (#15571246) Homepage
    you ''know'' something is rotten.

    When the big news is that, in some country, some leader only got 90% of the vote instead of the 97% expected, it may be significant, but you know that country is no democracy.

    When the big news is that IE's market share has dropped from 97% to 90%, it may be significant, but you know that the product did not get its market share on the basis of open competition on a level playing field.
  • by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:47PM (#15571249)
    not purely because it's a MS product. See, IE is what's called a value add product (insert joke here). At the end of the day, IE is meant to enhance a flagship product--Windows. So, Microsoft can get comfortable and decide to re-assign their IE staff to something more productive. That's how there's a security issue. Because there is no new innovation, the code stagnates, and is vulnerable to those who actively seek exploits.

    Then you have Firefox. Does Firefox compete for code time with other Mozilla products. Yes, a few, but Firefox has quickly become a flagship product. There are people within and without the organization that maintain the code. This creates inherent security because there are positive contributors constantly refining and securing the code.

    It's that simple. Will I ever download IE 7? I'll eventually have it in a few years when I buy a computer that has Vista on it, but I won't download it because of IE 6's lack of MS support. With Firefox I simply feel secure that SOMEONE will continue to develop it and make it more secure. Ironically, I can't say the same for a corporate developed piece of software.
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:48PM (#15571261)
    because IE7 comes with the OS, its easy to use, and it is adequate for most people

    How horrible!

    microsoft really has abused its monopoly in all this

    Yup, they're really raking in the dough by selling their browser... wait. I mean, they're really squashing Mozilla and preventing them from selling their browser... er, hold on. Ah... I get it... you're secretly arguing about who makes money off of the ads in search engines, MSN or Google, right? So MS's "monopoly" is crushing poor Google. Not! They've got a bigger share of search than MS does of desktops. Maybe you were making some other point entirely? Where's the abuse, exactly?
  • by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon@nOSPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:49PM (#15571264)
    Or maybe we could all switch to *nix distros that do precisely [kde.org] the same [gnome.org] thing [apple.com].

    And which of the *nix distros would be considered a monopoly?

  • by Golias (176380) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:51PM (#15571276)
    The most disgusting thing about all this is that microsoft really has abused its monopoly in all this. Even if firefox is the best browser ever, developed by volunteers and distributed freely, it is only going to get and keep 10% of the market because IE7 comes with the OS, its easy to use, and it is adequate for most people.

    Those BASTARDS!

    How dare they give away something to their OS customers which is easy to use and adequate for most people!

    It's no fair!!!1!

    Personally, I always download Firefox whenever I'm stuck on a Windows machine (which is really only on my company's computer. I use Macs for damn near everything these days), but if somebody is content with IE and wants to go on using it, good for them. It's a free country.

    Say it with me now, people:

    Just because I like Firefox doesn't mean you can't like IE
    Just because I like the Mac doesn't mean you can't like Windows
    Just because I like the DS Lite doesn't mean you can't like the Sony PSP
    Just because I like Honda motorcycles doesn't mean you can't like Harley Davisons

    Don't be a hater.

    Unless you are talking about the LA Lakers, the New York Yankees, or the Green Bay Packers. Hate them all you want. I sure do. ^_^
  • by fractalus (322043) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:52PM (#15571282) Homepage
    The majority of the browsing public don't care about standards OR security. They care about whether the browser will get them the latest music from iTMS, the latest movie trailer, and whether it works with myspace.com. They do not know why standards are important nor do they grok the concept of "unsafe at any speed" browsers. In short, as long as the browser works for the sites they visit, it is Good Enough.

    That's why Firefox has to keep trying in order to maintain share. Because the number of people on the web is increasing, and it's not the smart ones who are just now coming online. Complacency is the route to obsolescence.
  • by drolli (522659) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:52PM (#15571287) Journal
    there was the internet. Then came the Web. The Web made a simple cross-platform access to networkes information possible. The URL was a designation of permanent Resource locations. New features where used only if neccessary.....

    and where are we now? Every website has dynamic pages; half of them require a session ID even for dowloading a manual. Three quarters of them require Javascript to read use otherwise static links. Only one fifth of the website seems to afford programmers who can in this complicated world deliver the experience of the early web (=it works), the rest has a vast mixture of flash, javascript and other Stuff - most of the time requireing the newest version of some obscure plugin to be installed.
  • Re:Actually ... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:01PM (#15571365)
    I'd like to make a case for targeted low-key ads. I offer a free service and even though I ask for donations, they couldn't support the service. Donations are a fraction of the Google ads revenue, despite extremely low click through rates (<<1%). I'm not advocating that you "click the ads to support your favorite services". But you shouldn't not click an ad just because it's online advertising. There's nothing dirty about clicking on a banner ad if you're really interested.
  • When the big news is that, in some country, some leader only got 90% of the vote instead of the 97% expected, it may be significant, but you know that country is no democracy.


    We regularly re-elect approximately 99% of incumbent representatives in the US. What does that say about us?
  • Re:The IE Thang... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by roguenine19 (901001) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:08PM (#15571416)
    I had a failing hard drive last year that would destroy my Windows partition every so often, and I was too poor to buy a new one, so I reinstalled Windows several times (when I couldn't use my Linux install on a separate drive). I ended up burning a CD of useful programs (Firefox, WinRAR, numerous codecs, etc.) so I didn't have to keep downloading them. You could also put the Firefox executable on a USB thumb drive or something of that sort. It's not a terribly huge program, hard drive space-wise.
  • by drwho (4190) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:09PM (#15571425) Homepage Journal
    Fully when I see this...MSIE 90%, Mozilla/Firefox 9%, others 1% - gee it sort of leaves out some very important browsers. I am no Apple fanboy (In fact, I rather abhor Apple as a company and media phenomenon) but there's NO WAY that Apple is down at the bottom with Safari. Apple has about 10% of the market for PCs (more in some areas) and I am sure that most of them us Safari. Every Apple owner I know does. So why do we keep on seeing these BOGUS statistics?
  • Re:Lack of Change (Score:2, Insightful)

    by laughing rabbit (216615) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:12PM (#15571449)
    A majority of users think the internet is on their computer and do not even know what a browser is.
  • It's not like that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by matt me (850665) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:14PM (#15571463)
    The current software situation cannot be likened to a dictatorship. There is a monopoly, but it does not arise from unfair manipulation. The people are not opressed, users are free to use what they like. Many of them do choose something different. The truth that we find scarier than an malovent monopoly, is that most users just DON'T CARE. They're not born indoctrinated, nor does Microsoft brainwash them. They do it to themselves. No-other business can dream of such brand loyalty, even if the majority of users will exclaim daily at the product and even ridicule it. They've never even tried a competing product and will fervently deny their existence.

    Fighting Microsoft gains nothing. They have nothing we want to take. Users themselves have the keys to their chains. We need to teach them.
  • by nsmike (920396) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:15PM (#15571477)
    I would contend that those users who use FireFox now already don't trust IE and will stick with it FireFox, despite the integration of features.

    FireFox has one feature IE does not: A low profile.
  • by Goblez (928516) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:19PM (#15571511)
    This is exactly the problem, everyone writes everything for IE instead of following the actual standards, and as such people believe that FireFox displays things improperly. As a Java/JSF developer, IE never seems to get things right that work the first time in FireFox, and the code to ensure it is displayed properly in IE is always more verbose and a pain in the ass to write. And that's not even getting into the customization or security issues.
  • When the big news is that, in some country, some leader only got 90% of the vote instead of the 97% expected, it may be significant, but you know that country is no democracy.

    I prefer Firefox also, but I guess I don't see this the same way as you do. Business is not a democracy. There are other companies that have a 90% market share too and there's nothing inherently wrong with that. This doesn't mean that you aren't free to use a different product. They do exist. If you don't like the current choice of products, you can even make your own to compete with the current alternatives. No one including Microsoft is going to stop you from doing so. Obviously, the reason most people use internet explorer is because it's there when you install Windows and Windows is usually there when you buy your pc. Is this really a problem though? It's not a problem for me. Since I can easily download the browser that I like, no issue. Quite frankly, I think Mozilla/Firefox has the right solution to the problem: make a superior product. Firefox is much better than IE and that's why it's taking away market share. I think it will continue to do so unless Microsoft improves the quality of their product as well.
  • by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:23PM (#15571543)

    As the number of browsers increases, my development time remains static. The lower boundary is defined by Internet Explorer and other browsers don't raise it significantly.

    In my experience, the people who complain about the number of different browsers are the people who design for Internet Explorer first and fix things for browsers that attempt to follow the W3C specifications. The people who design for compliant browsers first and then fix things for Internet Explorer don't tend to worry about the number of different browsers, because they all tend to work pretty much alike, apart from Internet Explorer.

  • by format1337 (957144) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:25PM (#15571561)
    I really don't see the problem with putting a browser (and email client) in with your OS... Many people just want to 'get to the internet' and send emails to family.

    BUT, I don't understand how some browsers (read: IE) can get away with not implementing standards. Users should be in control of the 'browser wars' not the involved associations. must not be cost-effective when most users just want to 'get to the internet'.

    Web standards will never be fully implemented if 90% of users just want to 'get to the internet'. I forsee that as more people become web-savvy, browsers will become more compliant or go extinct as users gain real control. Think of the children, the kids who have cell phones and browse the internet on PSP's and maybe even post on slashdot?

    MSIE won't change untill it is made to change, and I think it will take more than a slip of 7%, and two years, to do that.
  • by TWX (665546) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:30PM (#15571592)
    Apparently you haven't installed Linux recently, or you've installed some really-specifically-tailored distribution, as every major distribution that I've used (Debian, Slackware, Red Hat, SuSE) allows the installer to pick what they get or else just gives them ALL in the default configuration. The very fact that I can choose to install Konqueror, Galeon, Mozilla, or Firefox when installing Linux gives me choice. I can even choose to use lynx or elinks. So, your original reply does qualify handily as 'troll'.

    Oh, and the whole 'free' thing makes a bit of a difference too, as they're not profiting on my usage, in fact, if anything they're at a disadvantage since bandwidth and server space has to be paid for in order for me to download the product from them in the first place. Unlike Uncle Bill's company...

  • Re:Standards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:30PM (#15571597) Journal
    Our website was built by a "website design bureau". We told them it had to be standard, so it would work on Mozilla as well.
    What they produced was an absolute mess.


    You should have put it into the contract that the final product must pass W3C validation [w3.org]. No validation, no payment.
  • by Tim C (15259) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:35PM (#15571620)
    IE got to that level of market share for two reasons:

    1) It was bundled with Windows, starting from (iirc) Windows 95 SR2 (or whatever it was called)
    2) Netscape 4 was shit

    On point 2), before you write me off as a troll, understand this - I have never used IE as my browser, and never will. I only use it when I absolutely have to. However, IE4 wiped the floor with Netscape 4 in terms of speed and stability. It didn't stop me using Netscape, but even at the time I admitted it was shit, but "at least it's not IE".
  • by DrYak (748999) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:40PM (#15571653) Homepage
    Except that,
    FireFox is an opensource project.

    When Microsoft dropped support in IE for old windows, users were only left with the choices of sticking with outdated IE or upgrade the whole OS+IE combo.

    When support for old windows is dropped from official branches in FireFox :
    - if there is a large enough community of people who want to keep their OS & FireFox, chance are that community will back port bug-/security- fixes to the 2.x branch.
    - if there is an even bigger critical mass of Win98 users, maybe a separate FireFox version will be developped for the Win9x platform.
    - or alternatively, maybe a smaller Gecko-based project, that is lower in ressource requirement and that can better run on older setups, will get attention from the Win9x community (K-Meleon ? Some other FireFox-lite ?)

    Compare to what happened to Linux distros.
    Most of present day distros have grown into full-sized mamoth (although they're more easily tailored to something less ressources hungry than windows).
    Some people are still interested to run Linux on antiquated hardware and/or embed hardware (beyond what's customisable in main-stream distros). For them, there's still a niche market of more adapted distros.
  • by cyber-vandal (148830) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:45PM (#15571681) Homepage
    The majority of users are corporate and believe me the key costs way more than the chains. Or do you think rewriting all those Windows apps can be done for free?
  • Re:Lack of Change (Score:5, Insightful)

    by avdp (22065) * on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:49PM (#15571710)
    When you say "us web developers" you must mean yourself. As a web developer I mourned the departure of Netscape - not because Netscape was good (by the end it was pretty bad, actually) - but because once Microsoft won the browser war they got lazy and the browser platform pretty much stagnated. Nothing new happened to IE for many many years (other than security bugs, and consequent fixes). It's not until recently, with Microsoft being challenged by Firefox (on the browser side) as well as Google and others (on the web application side) that we're finally seeing a revival of the web browser as a viable platform for "rich" applications (AJAX, etc). It's getting exciting again to be a web developer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:51PM (#15571730)
    Jesus, I wish I could remember a sig I saw recently, something to the effect of Slashdot being a place where people come to share their ignorance.

    This site literally is where the dumbest of dumbfucks come to say obviously stupid things. And get support from thousands of other co-idiots.

    It would obviously be the exact opposite, M$ has so much money and so many developers it would absolutely be effortless for them to keep up. However they wouldn't necessarily want to, for reasons that make sense to them somehow.
  • I think the biggest is: Are your users brosing from home or work? Slashdot gets lots of hits from IE. Even Mandrake got lots of hits from IE, just because people have to use IE at work. Home users will refelct what people want to use, as work users will reflect what people are required to use.
  • An honest question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EL_mal0 (777947) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:56PM (#15571772)

    I have a serious question about who decides what makes it into "standards". I know that there's an organization that makes up what standards are. I know (at least I've read a lot here on /.) that IE is not compliant to those standards. BUT Microsoft still has around 90% market share (I'm not arguing that this is a good thing at all), so for all intents and purposes, their protocalls, and whatnot should be the de facto standard, if not the official one, right? Develop for IE and you reach 90% of your audience (much more for many sites), but write 100% compliant code for a site, and you might alienate 90% of your audience. I just don't get it.

    Dreadful security and dated UI aside, ahy are we going after MS to change IE rather than adapt new browsers to the IE "standards"? Are IE "standards" not widely used because they are closed and opaque to developers, thereby locking any developer into using their tools? Does IE follow any standard? Has the W3C standardized on things that are easier to use and will age more gracefully? In short, and this is an honest question, why aren't the IE "standards" standard?

    I know I'm exposing my ignorance to all things concerning web development with this post, but every time I see people getting up in arms about IE not being compliant I wonder about this.

    -- Thanks for taking the time to read this and using your precious mod points to bury this post. --

  • by Fallingcow (213461) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:59PM (#15571796) Homepage
    If I saw anyone who claimed to be tech-savvy using IE on a machine on which they were allowed to install software (and they'd had time to install FF or Opera) for any reason other than 1) Visiting an IE only site (Windows Update, maybe) or 2) testing something for IE compatability, I would immediately assume that that person's claims of savvy-ness were wildly exaggerated, and wouldn't trust them to do anything at all related to any machine for which I was responsible.

    I can't think of any other software about which I would say that. I can even kind of see situations where someone might choose to use IIS or something else in that vein, and would't make any negative assumptions based on someone's use of it. But IE? Yeah, it's really that bad.
  • by MrTufty (838030) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @04:00PM (#15571805)
    I don't care about monopoly, I care about fairness. So in my mind, if all the *nix distros and Apple can bundle browsers, MS should be allowed to as well. Level playing field, that's in the best interest of us all.
  • by RyatNrrd (662756) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @04:03PM (#15571828) Homepage Journal
    Surely IE is down to 90% because it's been, like, 4 years since the last Microsoft desktop OS release: that's when everyone gets reset back to IE. Users have to actively install something else at that point for IE penetration to fall significantly below Windows penetration. When Vista is finally released and everyone gets IE7 with tabbed browsing, that will probably be enough to push IE back over 95%.
  • by Americano (920576) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @04:10PM (#15571883)
    From An article on BusinessWeek Online discussing Apple's Market Share [businessweek.com]:
    Charles Wolf of Needham and Co. says Apple could end up with a global PC market share north of 5% by 2011, compared with a 1.9% sliver in 2005 [ . . . ]

    Given that the global market share for Apple's systems is ~2% (maybe 2 - 3% today?), I don't think it's unreasonable to conclude that a very small percentage of users out there are using Safari. Why?

    I have a Mac Mini at home. One of the first things I did when I brought it home was to install Firefox & Opera on it, and make FF my default browser. I use Firefox on Windows at work, and simply like having a consistent application functionality to use across computers -- plus I have a set of FF extensions that I use constantly. I'm sure I'm not the ONLY person who has a Mac and who also doesn't use Safari.

    While it may not be the "less than 1%" figure you're incensed about, it *is* a pretty small number, compared to IE & Firefox. If I had to estimate, I'd guess somewhere around 2-3% of the general population, at maximum, are Safari users.
  • by blzabub (889163) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @04:12PM (#15571900) Homepage
    Just ask yourself, "do we really want one company defining standards for the entire web?" Especially a company with a documented history of abusive business practices, of using monopoly power to quash competition? Or would we prefer a non-profit organization composed of industry leaders from various backgrounds and occupations developing standards in a transparent, egalitarian fashion?
  • by AstroDrabb (534369) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @04:50PM (#15572175)
    Nice troll. I get a choice with just about every major Linux distro out there of browser. I am running Ubuntu. Let me do a quick browser check
    • Firefox
    • Mozilla
    • Epipany
    • Konqueror
    • elinks
    • lynx
    • Opera
    • Chimera2
    • Dillo
    I am sure there are some that I missed. Let me do a quick browser check of WinXP SP2:
    • Internet Explorer 6
    Pretty small list. Nothing like choice, eh Microsoft?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @05:01PM (#15572257)
    "So you are saying that people who uses IE aren't savvy? "

    Probably not. IE6 is not a modern GUI user agent at all. It has a broken box model in CSS (+ other things) and barely understands XHTML. Why would a savvy user find this acceptable?

  • by cosminn (889926) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @05:18PM (#15572378) Homepage
    wiped the floor with Netscape 4 in terms of speed and stability. It didn't stop me using Netscape, but even at the time I admitted it was shit, but "at least it's not IE".

    But this is exactly the opposite mentality of today. You were using a worse product because of personal beliefs, users do it because it's what they're used to.

    IMHO this is hypocrisy. If one product is better, why not use it?? I use Linux, OSX and Windows, each have their good things and bad ones, but saying I'll use one only regardless of what everyone else is doing doesn't make much sense.

    We blame users for using MS products although they're inferior, but when they're better we still refuse to use them because of ideologies...
  • by FKnight (521972) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @05:22PM (#15572400)
    IE7 has innovations. Too bad Opera already 'innovated' them 10 years ago.
  • Re:Hidden (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Control Group (105494) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @05:45PM (#15572540) Homepage
    Anyone not obliged to use Windows or IE that still chooses them clearly isn't aware of the issues or alternatives.

    This is a common mistake made by both me and an awful lot of technologically-savvy people. That statement is completely false. There are plenty of people who are aware, but simply don't care. There are even more people who aren't aware, but if they were, they still wouldn't care.

    The things that seem like monumentally important issues to enthusiasts often are all but completely irrelevant to non-enthusiasts.

    This is hardly limited to computers, of course. For example, I could talk your ear off about the obvious advantages of JHP vs. FMJ in 9mm, but you probably don't care.
  • Re:FDU (Score:3, Insightful)

    by forkazoo (138186) <(wrosecrans) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @05:56PM (#15572612) Homepage
    Bah -- I refuse to use IE. I just use ftp.exe to get it. It may not usually be rational. But, It has been necessary once or twice. Last time was when Comcast installed their junkware on a Windows laptop. IE couldn't access the Internet, but ftp.exe could, and eventually, so could firefox.
  • Re:Actually ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PB_TPU_40 (135365) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @05:59PM (#15572630)
    Thats my rule with my inlaws. They follow it well, the younger sister also pays attention, however she lets her friends play on the computer. They HUNT down that f**kin E, *Were talking its off the desktop, out of quick launch and the start menu, there are no short cuts left. The surf the web with IE making sure to hit every site that could nail a virus, and spyware to it. Then the sister doesn't bother scanning the machine for spyware before logging off. Please note I now have to reformat and reinstall. I just gave her a new laptop as a graduation gift, with a couple notes, first of which ONLY Firefox is to be used, if I see the IE has been used, she gets to pay me for my time. She just ignored it. Both of her parents looked at me and said thats a little mean isn't it, my response, "Her ignorance is why I have to spend a bunch of time fixing your machine for free, I don't ask you to make me a new block for my truck for free because you're my father in-law and a machineist." They got the point. My girlfriend and I both haven't got any virii or spyware and that includes my mom too now that I think about it. All of us browse extensively online, and use FireFox exclusivly, coupled with SpyBot, AVG, and a decent firewall, you're pretty damn secure.

    Firefox's BIGGEST point for me is the ease of installing plugins and themes. Adblock, distrust, trustwatch, foxytunes, and forcast fox, all items I dont see Microsoft doing on their own, and thats just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to FF plugins.

    I for one dont think that IE7 is going to really dent FF usage, there are way to many advantages that IE can never really compete with, mainly thanks to the ease of writing plugins.
  • by blzabub (889163) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @06:34PM (#15572804) Homepage
    I'm sorry. I just don't buy the whole concept that there is no market for browsers. Just because Microsoft bundles IE with Windows doesn't mean that it's free. You can download it from Microsoft without cost, but then it only runs on a machine running windows. IE costs money to develop, support, maintain, and market. Companies are not usually in the habit of doing these things if they don't think there are revenue streams directly or indirectly related to those expenditures. Firefox/Mozilla is ostensibly free as well, but in reality the project has expenditures which must be offset with revenues from partnerships with commercial entities like Google. Those revenues come from users in the same way that advertising revenue on television comes from commercial enterprises seeking access to end consumers. You watch TV (broadcast), it is ostensibly free, but your viewing advertisements pays for the costs of programming, production, transmission, etc.

    If IE6 were bullet proof from a security standpoint, and Microsoft was losing marketshare to Firefox, I still believe Microsoft would respond with IE7-- controlling how users interact with the web is important now and will be crucial in the future as more applications are delivered through the browser. Google is making pretty good arguments for the operating system being irrelevant soon.
  • Re:Hidden (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 808140 (808140) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @06:39PM (#15572824)
    It's true. "Good enough" is just that for most people, especially when there is real or perceived learning curve penalty associated with switching. For example, the vast majority of geeks on Slashdot probably know that Dvorak is better than QWERTY for English typists in almost all respects -- less repetitive motion injury, the ability to type faster, etc. But despite the fact that everyone knows this, many people don't bother switching to Dvorak. Why?

    For most people, it just doesn't seem worth it. I made the switch and think it was worth it -- but I have a very hard time convincing most geeks to actually do it. They just nod their heads and say, "yeah, I've heard Dvorak is better" and talk about how they wouldn't mind switching, and then never do.

    The probable reason they don't is because during the switch period there is a substantial loss in productivity. Now in actuality, if you limit yourself to just Dvorak it doesn't take very long to learn to type at a reasonable 40wpm -- I learned it in less than a week with a typing tutor. From there, your speed accelerates rapidly. But the change, however fast, is frustrating, and it proves to be too big an obstacle to overcome for most people.

    What many geeks don't realize is that despite our insistance that Firefox, OpenOffice, and whatever other MS-replacement we push have similar interfaces to the programs they aim to replace, for many non-technically savvy users even small superficial changes represent a big challenge to overcome. Consider how many people on Slashdot post about their inability to get their parents or friends to switch without resorting to the (extremely popular) IE skin for Firefox.

    Unfortunately, just like Dvorak vs. QWERTY, for the vast majority of people it is not arguments about technical merit that convince, but rather arguments about lost productivity, security, and compatibility. In the case of the first, the incumbent always wins -- there is no productivity loss associated with staying with IE in the minds of most people. Security is the main place Firefox constantly thrashes IE and it should come as no surprise that the press (especially the non-technical press) focus most on this when discussing Firefox. For compatibility, again, IE wins, by virtue of being the dominant browser.

    It is therefore important from an evangelism perspective that Firefox actually be more secure than IE and remain so, that it be easy enough to use that people who actually try it are not put off (I think this has been achieved rather well), and that it strive to be compatible with as many sites as possible (this also has been done remarkably well in the west at least, largely due to standards-adherence evangelism -- good work guys. In Asia it's a no go.)

    Realistically I think that Firefox really, really needs to push security from a marketing standpoint -- and importantly it has to actually be more secure. This is the avenue by which it can conquer. Most people will not begin using Firefox on their own, and if you install it on their computer and tell them to try it they'll still click on the little blue e. But if it is far more secure (which is currently the case), more and more corporate networks will mandate it for security reasons, and what people use at work they'll use at home, too.

    Not to mention that security has classically been a Microsoft weak point, which with their slow release cycle will probably remain a weak point.
  • Re:The IE Thang... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @07:07PM (#15572967) Journal
    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that what MS is doing... providing it on the install disc...

    No, they are forcing you to install it, no matter how much you don't want it. That's completely different than "providing it" on the install disc... That would actually make it an OPTION.

    Not to mention that software still works the old fashioned way... Before IE took over the world, you could walk into a store and buy a low-priced CD with a web browser on it, and every CD (and floppy) you got from companies like Earthlink and AOL included full-fledged web browsers you could install (mainly Netscape). And when you signed-up with an ISP, the CD they sent you had web browsers on it. Private networks had public FTP servers and shares with browsers (and usually the Netware client, and things like that).

    And the old standbys still work fine:

    ftp ftp.mozilla.org
    anonymous

    cd /pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/1.5.0.4/win32/en -US
    get "Firefox Setup 1.5.0.4.exe"
    exit

  • by Danga (307709) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @08:02PM (#15573193)
    Ok, now to talk about the only 3 browsers that mean anything being IE, Firefox, and Opera. You can install any of those on WinXP. Sure you might have to do it after the initial install but its not that big of a deal, I prefer it that way since then I will get the latest version of Opera instead of wasting time installing some outdated version that is on the Windows install disc. Even if there was a choice at install time about which browser to install it would make a very small difference since an overwelming majority of people could care less what browser they use as long as it displays web pages for them. If they had that choice it would just be one more step to confuse them. I do not think installing all 3 is an option either since most users will only use one so having all of them installed right from the bat is a waste. If you decide you want to install more browsers later on nothing is stopping you.

    I hate IE, I love Opera, but I do not see the point people try to describe about how it is such a horrible thing that IE is the default and only browser for the initial install process. It's Microsoft's product, they can and should be able to choose whatever the hell browsers they want users to have a choice to install during the install process. It is up to the user to decide afterwards what is best for them. Some versions of linux will not allow some applications to be part of their official distro if they are not "open" enough, what is the difference between that and what MS does? Either way nothing stops a person from installing what they want after the initial install.

    Now on to what Microsoft did that was really wrong, they effectively did not allow OEM distributers to install Netscape initially. THAT is wrong, resellers should be allowed to bundle whatever the hell they want as well. It is one thing to control your own products, it is quite another to force control on products that others own.
  • by OneSeventeen (867010) * on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @08:06PM (#15573207) Homepage Journal
    Yup, they're really raking in the dough by selling their browser... wait. I mean, they're really squashing Mozilla and preventing them from selling their browser... er, hold on. Ah... I get it... you're secretly arguing about who makes money off of the ads in search engines, MSN or Google, right? So MS's "monopoly" is crushing poor Google. Not! They've got a bigger share of search than MS does of desktops. Maybe you were making some other point entirely? Where's the abuse, exactly?

    Their abuse is in the fact that by making their own standard that only works on their operating system (which they sell, and is the foundation of all their profits) lazy developers are coerced into writing code that only works in Internet Explorer. My university invested over 40 Million USD on software that has a web interface. My thought was "We're really moving forward and making the tools as easy and accessible as possible!". In actuality, the web interface requires Internet Explorer, forcing me to install VMWare on my linux machine so I can start up another license of windows (that we had to pay for) to run the "free" browser by Microsoft.

    If they were more standards compliant (or if web developers obeyed standards instead of market trends) then I could simply view the tools in Firefox on linux.

    Platform independence on web applications starts when you ignore Internet Explorer as a web browser. (or code so it looks good in both, while still upholding web standards, which is possible in most cases, but sometimes not without javascript and whatnot)

    So yes, their free browser does cause a profit inducing monopoly.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @08:08PM (#15573219) Journal
    Simple as that. When someone asks me to help them with a Windows computer, I install Firefox, run Spybot, and then give up. I tell them it would probably take me less time to get them running on Linux than to fix their Windows issues.
  • by wkitchen (581276) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @08:23PM (#15573257)
    Maybe. But to make any big dent in IE's market share, you have to appeal not to the savvy, but to the image conscious. The MySpace crowd (and that's a BIG crowd) won't be persuaded by better security, better standards support, better reliability, or even better features. But they'll start downloading in droves if they see that it's what the kool people use, and think that it'll make them look kool too. I believe that this is a large part of the iPod's success. Many will look at the various competing players and will be impressed by their style, features, and competitive pricing. But they'll buy an iPod even if it means settling for a lesser model that lacks the features that they wanted and could have had for the same money from another manufacturer. They'll buy it not because it's the one that is best for their needs, or even best for their wants. They'll buy it because it's the one they most want to be seen with.
  • Re:The IE Thang... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jp10558 (748604) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @08:31PM (#15573283)
    I disagree that MS should provide alt browsers. But the OEM's ought to - they are creating the Windows "distro's" if you will, and they haven't been doing much, if any, value add in years (except perhaps Sony). That said, with PCs averaging $800 at your local consumer electronics stores, there isn't enough money coming in to pay for licenses for much beyond Windows or stuff they can get for free. And the problem with that is if they stick it on there, they have to support it.

    All that said, there are some premium bundles for say laptops that the stores are putting together like Gateways with full Norton + Spysweeper installed w/ 1 year subscription as opposed to 60 day trials. This could go further - Office or OpenOffice, etc.

    And the ISPs ought to at least provide a browser on those useless discs they distribute.
  • by quanticle (843097) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @09:48PM (#15573492) Homepage

    That's assuming that this particular OEM carries Windows at all. I think a purely Linux computer store could be done. Apple's done it with OSX for years.

    The thing is that Apple's hardware is proprietary. Unless you're buying from Apple or a cerified reseller, you can't get Apple hardware. Now, there's no such thing as proprietary Linux hardware. If you try to sell "Linux certified" hardware you'll find yourself competing with the likes of Newegg, who can easily undercut you due to their volume discounts and thinner profit margins. The only real thing you can offer is support. However, most Linux companies, like Red Hat and SuSE already offer support for the boxed versions of their products. And any person savvy enough to install and configure a free, community-supported version is savvy enough to not need your help anyway.

    The only thing you're offering is computer assembly to a population which likes to assemble their own hardware anyway. Where's your revenue going to come from?

  • Re:Hidden (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jp10558 (748604) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @09:56PM (#15573524)
    there is no productivity loss associated with staying with IE in the minds of most people.
    Most of this I see and agree with, but htis I'm not so sure. IE7 looks pretty different from IE6. It sounds like it might work kind of differnet too - tabs being the least difference.

    And MS is doing this with *all* of their new products. The screenshots of Vista look as different from Windows Classic as KDE4 does.

    Word 12 looks as different from Word 2003 as EMACS does.

    This probably will mitigate the no retraining needed mantra - though probably won't get anyone off of MS because no one ever got fired for buying MS. And if you just buy MS, while there's a retraining cost, there's no evaulation cost to compare alternatives.

    Of course MS is still haunted by the people who (rightly) will figure they can just stay where they are and be fine.
  • by 10Ghz (453478) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @02:05AM (#15574279)
    "Microsoft is not a monopoly."

    The courts disagree with you. In fact, multiple courts in USA, Europe and rest of the world disagree with you. And they have said so multiple times.

    I think it's safe to say that you are wrong. And besides, "monopoly" does not have to mean that there's only one company supplying the product. From Wikipedia:

    "Industries which are dominated by a single firm may allow the firm to act as a near-monopoly or "de facto monopoly", a practice known in economics as monopolistic competition. Common historical examples arguably include corporations such as Microsoft and Standard Oil (Standard's market share of refining was 64% in competition with over 100 other refiners at the time of the trial that resulted in the government-forced breakup). Practices which these entities may be accused of include dumping products below cost to harm competitors, creating tying arrangements between their products, and other practices regulated under antitrust law."

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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