Breaking a decade of global dominance, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in December lost its spot as the browser with the majority of page views in the United States and surrendered its long-held place to Mozilla’s Firefox as Europe’s most popular browser, according to data released Tuesday by the web analytics firm StatCounter.
The story goes on to point out that Firefox has not so much gained as Internet Explorer has waned, saying that Firefox has remained flat and the big gains have been by Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome.
I suspect that much of this has been fueled by the sales of Apple’s iGadgets, which would naturally boost Safari usage, as the iPhone and iPad include Safari as the default browser. Apple created a new market for Safari with its portable devices, and Google, with Android, succeed in getting a share of that market before Microsoft was able to get off the ground with an updated mobile OS.
This is a bit of news that I personally like, if only because I remember how Microsoft crushed Netscape in the browser wars.
It also illustrates part of Microsoft’s problem with innovation: As this documents, MS cannot innovate. It can acquire or copy and it can fine-tune, but it is perpetually caught by surprise by new markets and new products.