10 Reasons Why Chrome, Firefox Threaten Internet Explorer

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-10-05 Print this article Print

Microsoft might be happy with Internet Explorer, but that doesn't mean that it will be able to dominate the browser market indefinitely. Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox might have a chance to take over. Here are 10 reasons why Chrome and Firefox will keep whittling away at Explorer's lead.

Google's recent announcement that it has updated its Chrome Web browser with new add-ons to extend its functionality and has optimized the browser for use as a native desktop client is the latest threat to the dominance of Microsoft's Internet Explorer. 

Now developers can tweak the Chrome browser as they see fit to create an experience that they're trying to achieve. That update comes on the heels of Google offering a new service called Chrome Frame, which is embedded into Internet Explorer, providing its users with a far better browsing experience.

All of this is part of Google's strategy to capture browser market share away from Microsoft's Internet Explorer. But that's not all. Mozilla's Firefox browser also provides a unique, worthwhile experience that goes above and beyond the simplicity of Internet Explorer. Together, Chrome and Firefox are offering a viable alternative to Internet Explorer.

But Microsoft's browser is still tops in the market. And so far, Google's Chrome browser hasn't been able to make nearly as much headway as Firefox in its battle with Microsoft. But that doesn't mean it will stay that way forever. Quite the contrary, there are real opportunities for both Chrome and Firefox to cause some real trouble for Microsoft.

Here's how:

1. Internet Explorer is slow

One of the biggest advantages Google's Chrome browser enjoys is its speed. It's widely considered one of the fastest browsers on the market and in most tests, it easily eclipses Internet Explorer. It also does well against Mozilla's Firefox browser. Online, the value of a browser is most commonly associated with its ability to deliver Web pages as quickly and efficiently as possible. Considering Chrome can do that better than the competition, Microsoft might need to worry.

2. Extensions are important

Although Microsoft does offer some add-ons for its browser, Firefox's focus on working with developers to extend the functionality of its browser far beyond opening and closing Web pages is important in the space. Google is even getting in on the action, offering more extensions than ever. Add-ons improve the browsing experience. They're used by millions of people. And so far, it's Mozilla that has cornered the market in that space.

3. Open source, anyone?

Although it's against almost everything Microsoft stands for, making Internet Explorer open source might not be the worst move it could make. Both Firefox and Chrome are open-source software. They allow the community to improve the browser, plug security holes quicker, and in the end, give that community ownership in their products. It helps to see improvements to browsers much sooner than closed software. It's a key success factor in the marketplace that Microsoft isn't capitalizing on.

4. Beware of native apps

Microsoft has been so successful because Internet Explorer comes bundled with every computer outfitted with its operating system. But that doesn't mean Microsoft will hold on to that advantage indefinitely.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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