Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Is Internet Explorer on it's way out?

StatCounter has declared Google Chrome the king of all desktop browsers, but NetMarketShare disagrees.

Article comments

StatCounter has declared Google Chrome the king of all desktop browsers based on recent market share data, but observers should take this claim to the throne with a grain of salt.

As my colleague Danial Ionescu noted, rival measurement firm NetMarketShare comes up with wildly different browser share data for the first week of May. StatCounter's data shows 32.76 percent share for Chrome and 31.94 percent for IE, while NetMarketShare shows 54.01 percent share for IE and 18.85 percent for Chrome.

According to NetMarketShare, Chrome hasn't even overtaken Firefox yet, though StatCounter says Google achieved that milestone late last year.

How can two measurements be so different? The answer comes down to two major differences in methodology.

Views vs. visits

Both firms base measurements on traffic data from a network of sites--40,000 sites for NetApplications and 3 million for StatCounter. NetApplications measures unique visits, so if you go the same Website twice, you'll still only be counted once per day for market share. StatCounter measures page views, so a user may be counted several times per day on the same Website.

Both methods have their merits. NetApplications says unique visitor tracking is less susceptible to fraud, while StatCounter told Neowin that unique visits are too difficult to measure with confidence. Still, there's no right answer here because the two firms are measuring entirely different things. A more active Web user will play a bigger role in StatCounter's figures, but whether active users should weigh more on market share is simply a matter of opinion.

Accounting for location

StatCounter takes a hands-off approach to its data. Not only does it measure raw page views instead of unique visits, it also doesn't weigh results by location. NetApplications weighs its data against an Internet Traffic by Country table from the CIA, inflating market share for countries that are more active on the Web.

Again, both approaches have benefits and drawbacks. A country with lots of Internet users who don't visit StatCounter's network of sites could taint the measurements, but at least StatCounter is making real measurements. NetApplications relies on projections based on someone else's data.

But consider this: China barely shows up in StatCounter's measurements, as Microsoft cheerily pointed out in March. Internet Explorer is hugely popular in China, where piracy is rampant (Microsoft doesn't cheerily point this out), so the lack of weighting by StatCounter clearly drags down IE's market share. Even in the United States, StatCounter still shows a big lead for Internet Explorer, with 37 percent share compared to 23 percent for Chrome. That means other countries, who use the Internet less, are having a big impact on StatCounter's findings.

Nothing really matters

Ultimately, obsessing over desktop market share may not even be worthwhile anymore. Competition between IE, Firefox, Chrome, and others is alive and well, and that's really the most important thing.

As consumers, we'd do well to turn our attention to mobile browsers, where there's a lot of growth to come, and where Apple and Microsoft stifle competition by limiting the capabilities of third-party browsers. Not surprisingly, StatCounter and NetMarketShare show vastly different figures for mobile browsers as well, but that's a story for another day.


Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *