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Mailbag: Browser Market Share

A recent survey on browser market share gave 23 percent of the pie to browsers other than IE, Firefox and Safari. Doug asked readers for their guesses as to what browsers make up that remaining 23 percent:

Mobile browsers perhaps. In these busy times, probably 70 percent of my browsing is done on my mobile device these days.

Not sure whether it has "serious share," but Opera 9.5 is the browser I'm using just now to read Redmond Report and to write you. I find that its innate capability to render .WML files (used for conveying WAP content to cell-phones) and to submit .HTML files to the for validation are unmatched by any other browser I've ever used.

And, on a Java-capable cell phone, even one as primitive as the five-year-old Nokia 6610, Opera Mini is just fantastic! Beats the pants off the Nokia's own little WAP browser.

Opera? Avant?

I'm not sure where Janco gets the 58 percent either. At, here's the current breakdown of our traffic: Internet Explorer (77.2%), Firefox (15.6%), Safari (4.2%). Of course, there's a smattering of oddball stuff including spiders, but none of those individually go over 2.3 percent of our traffic. Concerning browsers on the Mac, our numbers show twice as much traffic from Safari as opposed to Firefox -- 3.6 vs 1.6 percent.

Given the nature of our Web site, I would think our numbers are relatively representative of overall browser usage in the U.S.

And would you use Linux-only PCs in your shop? Here are some more of your responses:

Maybe in the near future, when more apps become server-based and merely require a standards-compliant browser. Open Office is cheaper, faster and a suitable alternative for everyone except hardcore Visio users. Requires no more support than Office 2007, perhaps even less. As WINE gets better at handling old DOS apps, it's a good bet.

Absolutely, in a New York minute! I have been around the business since 1960 and consider IBM to be the benchmark for product reliability and usability. I use Win 2K SP4 on my local machines and have only dabbled with Linux personally.

If IBM has desktops built to its specs and designed to optimize for Linux, they will also have a sound OS release with the non-admin user in mind, along with more and accurate documentation than anyone could want. With the alternatives to MS Office suite available, small footprint utilities and the cloud along with a solid, reliable lightweight (overhead) and from a 'safe' provider like IBM, this is a no-brainer.

I do use a Linux PC, Windows XP/Fedora 7 dual-boot. Fedora is a great desktop version of Linux. It communicates well with our CentOS 4 and 5 servers. I would never buy a Linux PC, I would just build one. Most Linux people I know would do the same.

Too bad for IBM; it is a big contributor to Red Hat. But with Microsoft becoming suicidal, who knows? Stranger things have happened.

IBM makes the same mistakes almost predictably. I think Wall Street should beat it into submission with a clear message to give up. IBM blew it in the '80s and then again in the '90s on a lesser-known venture to make in-roads into the desktop with thin client technologies. IBM was great at building hardware and BIG software, but it could not be satisfied with that and was extremely paranoid that MS would eat it alive if it partnered with them.

As far as Linux goes, I use Ubuntu 8.04 and I think desktop Linux has come a long way. However, I believe the rules of human nature trump all else. It's easy now to get very good free help with Linux issues, but not as much on Windows. Some of my friends and I make our livings on Microsoft, and if Linux were to become a serious contender in the enterprise, I believe much of the "free" advice would disappear. Linux also bears the mark of "technology" and datacenter managers really don't like technology that much.


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Posted by Doug Barney on August 14, 2008