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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Evidence of IE market share slipping

When IE7 was first released, I posited that its market shares would slip and that the IE would have trouble holding of their market shares.

Recently, a new report is out that confirms that the market shares of Firefox is increasing by a strong margin and the reports says:
At 22 per cent, Firefox's share of the Australian market was higher than it was globally, with the open-source browser used by 14 per cent of users in July last year, Nielsen reported, citing data from e-janco.com.
It is hard to understand the philosophy of Microsoft. In fact as I argued in my previous blog, Microsoft is actually pushing people away towards alternate browser with their WGA initiative.

It is hard to understand why they do this. IE7 does not bring any revenue. So why frisks the user before allowing it to be installed. But denying a person to install, Microsoft is forcing that person to seek alternate browser, like Firefox.

Same with Media Player. If user can't get the latest, there is RealAudio, which can play Media Player format while WMP cannot play Real format.

Does Microsoft really believe those that do not have WGA-passed Windows would rush out to splash some money to buy genuine Windows just to get tab-browsing? If so, they would believe in tooth-fairies and Santa.

It would be far better for Microsoft not only to allow free download of IE7 but also free to install it in all Windows. In this way, it would a least makes it harder for Firefox to gain more market share for the very reason why IE took the lead from Netscape. It is convenient.

Now Microsoft turns the table around making it harder to install the IE7 on those Windows and this gives these people more incentive to use Firefox. Once they have a taste of it, they will become a willing salesman of Firefox.

That one person is not the only one becomes disenchanted with the Microsoft's frisking. He will do his/her best to encourage other to switch. Why not when it installs faster, writing blog messages with spell checking and no frisking. Mozilla treats their users with respect.

Hence as mentioned in many economic books on software industry, the incumbent does not have to reach a 50% or less market share to lose the market. The turning point comes much soon because of this snow-balling effect.

For me, I uninstalled IE7 immediately even though I broke my principle of not allowing Microsoft to frisk my machine running genuine Windows. The reason is that it fails to provide the functionality in LUA. I also strongly discourage anyone to install IE7.

So it will be interesting to see what will happen in the next 12 months.

At the moment, Firefox does not support embedding and this can handicap it in enterprise solutions or in solutions where one needs to render HTML inside an application. If some smart person can turn Firefox into a embeddable HTML component, the position of IE would be further eroded.

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