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The Web Browser Wars

The Web Browser Wars

How do you feel about your current internet browser? For over 25 years, internet browsers have been fighting over who is the best from browser monopolies to continuing technological advancements. Learn about the history of the browsers we use everyday!

How do you feel about your current internet browser? For over 25 years, internet browsers have been fighting over who is the best from browser monopolies to continuing technological advancements.

Since the mid-1990s, there have been two browser wars where over a handful of browsers have fought for market share domination.

The First Browser War (1995-2001)

The World Wide Web had gathered a lot of attention in popular culture and the mass media, but it was difficult to acquire a web browser. There was not an option for one to come in your operating system, so a consumer had to go to their local shops and buy one.

At the time, most users were using Netscape Navigator as their primary browser. Netscape had taken up about 80% of the web browsers usage share. However, they had some competition when Microsoft licensed Mosaic to create a new browser, Internet Explorer. Microsoft saw that web platform was going to be big. Over the years, they each would create and release new versions of their programs to “outdo” the other with better products and services.

The competition escalated when Internet Explorer placed a giant “e” on the headquarters of Netscape’s lawn. When Netscape saw this, they knocked the “e” over and put their Mozilla dinosaur mascot on top of it, thus stating their superiority in the market.

As time went on, Microsoft included Internet Explorer as the default browser in their Windows operating system, and had increased their share in the market by over 90%. It was not all good news though; in 1998, the federal government charged Microsoft for violating antitrust laws by “forcing” consumers to use their browser and trying to create a monopoly in the market. Nothing significant happened to Microsoft by the end of the trial.

Microsoft had dominated the market, causing Netscape to take drastic measures to become open sourced.

The Second Browser War (2004-2017)

This next browser war included many new and exciting browsers competing for market domination.

After Netscape open sourced its code, it took part in creating the Mozilla Foundation. They went on to build a new browser; it was initially named Phoenix (had to change because of trademark issues), then Firebird, until finally, Firefox. During Netscape’s transition, Microsoft announced a new release of Internet Explorer 6, and then Internet Explorer 7, two years later.

Google became the third competitor with its new free and open sourced software project called Chromium. Google has used the code from this project and turned it into the browser we all know, Google Chrome. This browser was made to be fast and simple and their search engine was to be more convenient.

Despite new released versions from Internet Explorer and Firefox; Chrome became the top of the browser market, with Firefox in second place, and Internet Explorer in third.

Browsers Today

There are only a handful of browsers that we see commonly today; Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge (nee. Internet Explorer), Safari, and Opera.

In 2015, Windows 10 was released and Internet Explorer was not doing well. Microsoft decided to replace it with Microsoft Edge. However, this has not been a raging success as only a small percentage of computers uses it. In December 2018, Microsoft announced that they were going to build a new version of Edge by using Chromium. It was also powered by Blink, which is Google’s rendering engine.

The browser users have also changed as a result of mobile devices.

As of January 2021, according to the Browser Market Share Worldwide, Chrome is taking the lead at 63.63%, followed by Safari at 19.37% and Firefox at 3.65%. (gs.statcounter.com)

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