Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Gary Schare doesn’t get it

This News.com article about Firefox contains the following quote from Gary Schare, Microsoft’s director of product management for Windows:

“I still believe in the end that most users will decide that IE is the best choice when they take into account all the factors that led them to choose IE in the first place,”

Ahem. A lot of users never chose IE. IE was there on their computer and the competition – Netscape, Opera, Mozilla etc. – wasn’t. There are a significant number of people who don’t know that there are alternatives to IE – to them, IE is “The Internet”.
He is right in saying that once the “early adopters” have all switched over, Firefox’s market share will start to stablilise. Anyone who tells you that Firefox will steal IE’s dominant position is being unrealistic – because IE is the default browser in Windows it’s not going to go away any time soon. But to say many people actually chose to use IE is just plain wrong. I’m sure some did, but I doubt it affects the majority.
On a brighter note, the article says that IE’s market share has now dipped below 90%, according to OneStat, with Mozilla-based browsers accounting for 7.4% of web users.
Update: Ben Goodger, lead developer of Firefox, echoes my comments. Great minds think alike, I guess. 🙂

9 Comments

  1. So so right. Ie was never a choice, it was just there and most are not aware of an alternative.

  2. It’s amazing that the major web statistic sites are starting to show that IE has dropped below 90%.
    As optimistic as I have been about Firefox (user since the very first Phoenix build), not in my wildest dreams did I expect Firefox to take off so quickly. Especially since IE pretty much has had 90+% for roughly 4+ years. I expected it would take a year or two from now to reach 7%, just because of IE’s desktop presence. Man am I glad I was wrong about that!
    The one thing that really has gotten Firefox’s marketshare up so quickly? IE’s major security problems and adware/spyware. There has been so much negative press about that stuff that some alternative browser had to be recommended.
    Firefox was that browser. Just plain luck had its 1.0 release right at the height of this bad press for Microsoft. Just plain hard work hard work allowed Firefox to even be considered at this point, but without the perfect timing it may have taken as long as I originally predicited.
    What is really going to shock me is when Firefox consistantly hits 10+%. It is getting very close and one major distribution deal (say with a computer manufacturer – Dell are you listening? – or *shock* something like AOL) will do it. That will really get the smoke rising from Redmond.

  3. I’m prone to disagree with the fact that Firefox marketshare will eventually stabilize. Well, _of course_ it’ll stabilize sooner or later, but I tend to think it’ll be the latter.
    Basically, I’m hoping that there will be a snowball effect once Firefox has spread itself enough. The strongest form of advertisement there is is when one recommends something to a friend. It nearly never fails. Eventually, the only marketshare IE will have left are snowed in people with no friends. Ha to them, I guess. 😉

  4. IE was never a choice. It was shoved right in the face with the Win OS. Not only has M$ started loosing the numbers on IE but even on its OS and PC market. About time! No one company should ever have a monopoly. While I do support Firefox for its brave and bold achivement, I think its only time before more and more excellent browsers hit the market. In the end its about getting the pages done right that matters, tools like browsers should be neutral and non-biased. But ofcourse we live in a VERY biased world! My $0.0.2 anyway.

  5. I prefer IE to any of the other browsers i’ve used.
    Bread.

  6. Hey Neil, sorry this is Off Topic, but how do you make those “links” like IE, and when you put your mouse over it, it tells you what it means?

  7. Mike…
    <acronym title=”Internet Explorer”>IE</acronym>
    … then put a little CSS on it to make it sexy, like…
    acronym { border-bottom: 1px dotted #FF8000; }

  8. Bon: I actually emailed him about Acronym for Movable Type which automates the process.