Saturday 22 October 2016

Google Chrome passes Internet Explorer as most popular browser to end Microsoft's 18-year reign

James Titcomb

Published 03/05/2016 | 12:19

Internet explorer
Internet explorer

Google Chrome has finally toppled Internet Explorer as the world’s most popular web browser, ending the 18-year reign of Microsoft’s program.

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Statistics firm Netmarketshare said that Chrome had leapfrogged Internet Explorer in April, with 41.7 per cent of desktop browsing based on daily users, compared to 41.3 per cent for its rival.

The loss of its crown caps a drawn out fall from grace for Internet Explorer, which has long been seen as inferior to rival browsers such as Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox.

However, its position as the default web browser on Windows granted it almost two decades of dominance. Although Bill Gates had once dismissed web browsers, Internet Explorer’s inclusion in Windows 95 saw it surpass Netscape Navigator as the web’s most-used browser in 1998, and it has held the title since.

Microsoft was subsequently forced into long-running and damaging battles with US and EU authorities over allegedly abusing its monopoly power to force Internet Explorer onto Windows users. In 2013, it was fined $731 million (£497m) by the European Commission over the matter.

Firefox and Chrome, released in 2002 and 2008 respectively, were seen as faster and easier to use, and came with features such as tabs and extensions. Last year Microsoft made a new browser, Edge, the default on its new operating system Windows 10.

Chrome has climbed from 25.7 per cent of the market a year ago to today’s 41.7 per cent, while Microsoft has fallen from 55.8 per cent. Firefox, Safari and Opera have 10 per cent, 4.5 per cent and 2 per cent of the market respectively.

The figures refer to desktop browsing, so do not include smartphones or tablets, where Apple’s Safari dominates.

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