We need a third browser war

Market share of browsers, 1996–2009 Source: Wikimedia Commons
global stats counter July 2017. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Rise

When Chrome was released in 2008, it was clear it is being a success as within 3 months it gained 1% market share. After 3 years Chrome has passed Firefox as the second-most used browser. And it took only additional one year to surpass Internet Explorer and become the most used browser. Now we are talking about 70% market share, across all channels. Of course the rise of Android helped a lot, and the fact mobile as a whole took dominance of web browsing.

How did we get here

Firefox once was a viable alternative to Internet Explorer, and was much better in terms of features and performance. This was great, but the performance of Firefox declined over the years, making the choice for people to use Chrome, this is no longer an issue, since around Firefox 57, but it was somewhat too late and the harm was already done.

The Ad economy

Google makes money from selling ads. In order to sell personalized ads google needs to know as much as possible about you. In order to know the most about you, google needs to track you as much as possible, and in order to present you the ad, it needs you not to block ads. In order to achieve that google blocked the ability to install ad blockers on Chrome on Android.

Summary

What we face is again a tech giant using its power to move the market in the direction it wishes in order to gain revenue at the expense of its users. Recent developments of this story are concerning. Having one major browser dominate the web is bad for innovation, bad for user privacy and a threat to users freedom to choose.

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