Microsoft launch their “Browser Choice” update today. All European Windows XP, Vista and 7 users with Internet Explorer set as their default browser will receive an automatic update offering a choice from:
- Microsoft IE8 (Trident rendering engine)
- Mozilla Firefox (Gecko)
- Google Chrome (Webkit)
- Apple Safari (Webkit)
- Opera (Presto)
- Avant (Trident)
- Flock (Gecko)
- GreenBrowser (Trident)
- K-meleon (Gecko)
- Maxthon (Trident)
- Sleipnir (switchable between Trident and Gecko)
- Slim (Trident)
If you’re concerned this will radically increase your browser testing regime — don’t worry. Half the browsers are skinned versions of IE. Gecko is available in four browsers, Webkit in two and Presto in one. You’ll be covering a high proportion of the market if you’re already testing IE6+, Firefox, Opera, and Chrome or Safari.
Note that users will also be able to install and try more than one browser. It’ll be interesting to see whether people experiment, but I suspect many will try an alternative and switch back to IE if they don’t like it.
The big question: will the browser choice screen have any effect on market share? Here are the StatCounter statistics for February 2010 BC (Before Choice!):
|Browser Statistics February 2010|
Here are my predictions for the next month:
- IE usage will drop a few percent within Europe, but it won’t have a huge impact on worldwide figures
- there will be a noticeable shift from IE7 to IE8
- IE6 usage will not decrease — many of those users will have updates switched off, especially on corporate networks
- Firefox will increase its share to match or slightly overtake IE
- Chrome will increase by a percentage point or two
- Opera and Safari will not change significantly
- ‘Other’ browsers will increase slightly.
We’ll come back in a few weeks to find out.
What are your predictions? Have you put money on it?
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.