The battle of the browsers is an ongoing one, but several factors have become clear over the past couple of years.
The first being that Internet Explorer, once as dominant a browser force as Google is in the land of search, is slowly and inevitably declining. Even Internet Explorer 9 with its modernised shiny whistles and bells hasn’t stopped the rot.
Chrome’s rise might not be as meteoric as Google’s mobile OS, Android, but it’s making huge gains and not only eroding IE’s user base, but also Firefox’s.
Mozilla’s browser has slipped considerably, and according to one bean counting firm, StatCounter, Chrome has now surpassed Firefox in worldwide market share.
When it comes to Net Applications’ projections, who weight their statistics differently, Chrome is seen to be likely to overtake Mozilla around mid-2012.
But a report on Hot Hardware speculates that Google can deal a “death blow” to Firefox imminently. Why?
Because Google and Mozilla have a search deal wrapped up in Firefox, whereby Google is the default engine. What Google pays for this deal represents the majority of Firefox’s income, 84% of it in fact.
However, this deal is just expiring, and Hot Hardware theorises – what if Google withdrew and didn’t sign another contract? That would make it very difficult for Mozilla to balance its books – very difficult indeed, potentially. And Firefox would suddenly be flailing…
Although it’s debatable whether Google would want to sacrifice its side of the deal – naturally, the search engine makes money from Firefox, too. And Mozilla could potentially – well, they’d have to – strike deals with Bing and Yahoo, strengthening Google’s rivals.
It’s not certain that Firefox users would desert the browser even if it fell into an open war with Google. Many folks see Firefox – along with certain add-ons such as NoScript – as being the absolutely safest way to browse the net.
And you can’t get that sort of security via Chrome or any other browser, they’d argue.
Besides, why would Google need to take such drastic action when it’s poised to keep chomping Firefox’s market share up anyway?
On balance, it doesn’t seem a likely move for Google to make.