Where will Chrome’s share come from?


It is widely known by now – Google launched a new browser – Google Chrome. I’ve been using it for some time now and have to say I’m impressed with its usability and ideas about how to change the browsing experience. I’m also impressed by the performance. As most of the things Google have created – it definitely deserves a shot. What I’ve been thinking, though, is how this launch would impact the other browser vendors and their positions on the market. According to statistics, Chrome has gained 1-2% market share for one week existence.

The browser wars are an old story, there have always been large discussions about the pros and cons of different versions and vendors. Some things have become clear (IE is losing share), some others are not (is Firefox actually the best browser). What I’ve noticed as a behavior pattern is that basically there are two groups of users – those that always follow the latest trends and download the latest version, even if betas or CTPs; and those that don’t care.

So here’s my forecast on the near future.

For the enthusiasts (I think in this category most people are IT guys – programmers, designers, admins, etc) Firefox has been the norm for the past few years. They’ve always wanted the perfect rendering and speed and browsing experience. They’ve always wanted ease of development for the web. Firefox has been providing these things better than any other browser.

On the other hand the second group of people (those who don’t care) have used IE forever. Why? Because it comes with Windows. Now, it’s clear that this is going to change – MS are losing share because more and more people are becoming aware of the available options. But the majority of people still don’t care. And this is where business strategies of browser vendors differ. Another argument in my thesis that Microsoft is the best company in terms of software marketing. They sell to the masses. They don’t have a perfect product but they make it easy for grandmas to click twice and open a webpage. Firefox sell to IT guys- they are better, definitely, but their target market is smaller.

So where does Chrome fit? I am certain it aligns with Firefox. What does it provide? Speed, better experience, and new ideas. Who cares? Firefox users. So I’m thinking that in a year or two Firefox and Chrome will share the space now occupied by Firefox. It might be bigger than it is now, and the nominal share of IE might be smaller than now, but the point is – IE would be affected by Chrome’s launch much less than Firefox. Let’s see how it turns out. And here’s some supportive stats of my argument.

What do you think?

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  • chrome_fan

    - Agree with most points, but I think Chrome will easily beat Firefox once it adds few new features (Google Toolbar etc) quite soon and differentiates itself. Now as an OpenSource program/service it relates with FireFox to attract its users, but it will soon be much more than a browser and will have significant competitive advantages (like Microsoft has for years).
    – Microsoft (mainly) has changed the world. So has Google in a much smaller effect. Firefox haven’t. Just see the big picture, who is competing with who here. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft reacts to this, and what Google has planned, in general how the MasterMinds behind those two giants will play their chess game.
    – Chrome will definitely become more popular than Firefox ang gain market share because it is heavily advertised at the home page of the most popular website on earth (Google).
    – This is just the first version, there are so many more suprises to come. Google guys know what they’re doing, Google hires really great quality people (and I am not talking only about their IT but about their strategy guys, two people I know at their team are both ex-McKinsey consultants), they definitely do their strategic analysis much better than we do it for them, and have a smart roadmap for penetrating into the market.

    All I am saying is – we better see the big picture here, not judge just by one product on its first release.. there’s going to be so much more, that will change the shape of the market in the next 12-24 months.

    For example: I’ve read several posts about people blaming Chrome because it doesn’t have Google toolbar embedded, and this is the reason they “hate” Chrome. Does anybody really believe that Google guys are that naive and have not been proactive, and do not have something powerful coming up?

  • http://www.slavoingilizov.com slavo

    Sure, Chrome_fan, I agree.

    Google definitely changed the world, and so did Microsoft. As a whole I think their interests differ, though. Google is consumer oriented and mainly introduces “cool” products and everything that makes the “internet experience” better. The reason of course is that they earn money from all the people who use the internet. MS, on the other hand are more business oriented – they sell complex business solutions. As long as they go along these paths, there’s space on the market for both Google and MS. If they start to actually compete in the full sense of the word – then it becomes interesting. And I think they will :). Take a look at this article by Dare Obasanjo.

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