The Competition Gets Tougher

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-12-16 Print this article Print

5. Firefox is quickly becoming a household name

A few years ago, most folks probably didn't know Mozilla or its Firefox browser. But today, all that has changed. A growing number of users are downloading Firefox after realizing that it provides a great browsing experience. In the meantime, it's Internet Explorer that's suffering. Looking ahead, the chances of that changing are slim. Firefox is gaining more and more popularity, and there's nothing Microsoft can do about it.

6. Internet Explorer doesn't match up well

Following that, it's important to realize that Internet Explorer doesn't compare well with the competition. The browser is slower than Chrome and Safari. It's a little less user-friendly than Opera. And Mozilla's lineup of add-ons easily eclipses anything Microsoft offers. Some might be hard-pressed to find an area where Internet Explorer holds a decisive advantage.

7. The Apple effect

Now that Safari is being offered on both Mac OS X and Windows, it's slowly gaining ground in the browser market. That's no coincidence. People know and trust Apple products. When they hear that Apple has offered up a simple yet speedy browser for Windows, they want to try it out. Apple is an extremely powerful brand in any tech-related market. That's hurting Microsoft.

8. Regulators are still gunning for Microsoft

Just because Microsoft cut a deal, it doesn't mean that the company is out of the woods yet. The European Union will be monitoring Microsoft's browser practices to make sure it holds up its end of the bargain. If it doesn't, you can bet regulators will unleash a firestorm on Redmond. For that matter, you can expect that either way regulators, especially in Europe, will be keeping an eye on Microsoft.

9. The online OS isn't so far away

Chrome OS might totally change the way people view browsers. Google's operating system is still about a year away and it will be designed for netbooks, but there's a real chance that, if successful, Chrome OS could have a major impact on the browser market. And Microsoft will be left wondering where all the users went.

10. The changeover will be easy

Switching from Internet Explorer to another browser will be painless for most users. That's a problem for Microsoft. The most successful products in any market have locked down key success factors that are extremely difficult to either improve upon or match. Internet Explorer falls short in that category, making the competition easily able to match anything Microsoft offers up.

The future doesn't look so bright for Internet Explorer. And, so far, Microsoft has done little to change that.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, 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

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