IE 7.0 Is Outfoxed In Browser Race to #1

So it’s been about a week since Firefox 3.5 dethroned Internet Explorer 7.0 as the number one web browser. As of today, 21.8% of the share goes to Firefox 3.5, and 20.54% to 7.0, according to the StatCounter website. Global statistics show a steady climb of Firefox 3.5 and a steady decline of 7.0 over the past six months.

Yes, I know, a lot of people are switching to Explorer 8.0, which weighs in at 19.26%. Those numbers are down a bit from last week and it appears that some of those switching either didn’t like and went back to 7.0 or jumped ship to Firefox altogether. Meanwhile, in a steady decline over the same time period, Firefox 3.0 is hanging in there at a 9% user share.

Image from Mashable

Image from Mashable

Looking behind the statistics, I have to wonder what’s really happening. I’ve noticed over the past few months that several sites I visit regularly are shamelessly encouraging users to abandon Explorer and connect with Firefox instead to “weed out the bugs” they may encounter.

I didn’t notice the bugs.

Okay, I admit I still have 7.0 on one computer I use regularly and Firefox 3.5 on another. As one of those people that resists change when I can get away with it, until about a week ago, I had no plans to switch from 7.0. I keep ignoring those pesky little reminders and teasers that show up on my screen to download IE 8.0.

Yes, it is a little strange going back and forth between Explorer and Firefox, but I’ve been in a comfort zone with one and in unchartered territory with the other. I’m probably mucking up the stats very nicely, too.

As for the “bugs,” I wasn’t a believer until I finally experienced one firsthand. Without going into the gory details, there are, in fact, differences on some sites, but not all. And it isn’t drastic. I’ve only seen a few oddities on the same site using the two computers.

Meanwhile, this encouragement of changing browsers continues to show up on interactive websites. My guess is that as companies are upgrading their websites, they simply don’t want to be responsible for supporting multiple browsers. Why spend the time on two or three, when you can do one and be done with it? Makes sense from a business standpoint.

We’ll need to watch the statistics, but I think this will be a driving force behind the race for number one in the browser category. At some point, the old versions will be dropped and no longer offered, while the others continue to battle for supremacy.

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