Google Chrome vs. Internet Explorer: Chrome Takes Top Spot in Global Browser War

By Alexandra Burlacu | May 23, 2012 10:14 AM EDT

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Google Chrome has apparently dethroned Microsoft's Internet Explorer for the first time to become the world's most popular browser, shows recent data compiled by browser-tracking firm StatCounter.

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StatCounter has revealed that Google Chrome passed Internet Explorer last week to become the most popular browser worldwide. According to the data the analytics company compiled, Google Chrome took 32.76 percent market share during the week of May 14 through 20, while Microsoft's IE stood at 31.94 percent. At the beginning of this week, however, Chrome dropped back to 31.88 percent, just slightly higher than Internet Explorer's 31.47 percent market share.

One year ago, Internet Explorer was the undisputed king with 43 percent market share, followed by Mozilla Firefox with 29 percent, and Google Chrome as a distant third with 19 percent.

Chrome, a Preferred Choice for Weekends

Back in March, Statcounter took some Web users by surprise when it revealed that Chrome had overtaken Internet Explorer for one day that month. That miracle did not last, however, and Chrome soon dropped back to second place, trailing Microsoft's browser. StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen, explained at the time that Chrome has become a preferred choice for users on weekends.

"Whether Chrome can take the lead in the browser wars in the long term remains to be seen, however the trend towards Chrome usage at weekends is undeniable," Cullen said at the time, as cited by CNET. "At weekends, when people are free to choose what browser to use, many of them are selecting Chrome in preference to Internet Explorer."

Discrepancy in Results

Still, there are two very important aspects worth noting. First, StatCounter uses a slightly different method of compiling data than other analytics firms, and there is some significant discrepancy between their results. NetMarketShare, for instance, found that Internet Explorer held as much as 54 percent of the market as of April. In NetMarketShare's study, Chrome ranks third with 18.85 percent, while Firefox comes in second with 20.20 percent. On the other hand, StatCounter's numbers are considered a trusted metrics in the industry and are generally reliable, and they are also more recent than NetMarketShare's latest study.

IE Remains the Undisputed King in the U.S.

Lastly, the second thing worth noting is that Chrome seems to enjoy great success worldwide, but it still trails behind Internet Explorer in the United States. According to StatCounter's data, the week Google Chrome dethroned Internet Explorer worldwide, in the U.S. Chrome held just 28.83 percent market share, while Microsoft's IE held 37.81. Mozilla Firefox remains steady at 22 percent in the U.S.

"It is really difficult to determine exactly what browser someone is using on a regular basis, especially as many people have multiple browsers," Enderle Group principal analyst Rob Enderle told TechNewsWorld. "But whoever controls the browser controls the platform on which search is conducted. That in itself is a statement of power."


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