In some ways, the “winner” of the top desktop browser wars doesn’t really matter. As end users, as long as we have a choice of Web browser, we can pick the one whose interface works for us. But browser numbers matter a lot more when you’re a software developer trying to understand who’s most likely to use your Web application – or to complain about it not working right. That’s especially true, too, when you support business users inside a company, since there’s just so many desktop configurations any sane sysadmin can maintain.
Which makes these two competing desktop Web browser market share reports all the more confounding.
If you buy Net Market Share’s desktop Web browser numbers, then in December 2012 Internet Explorer (IE) was still in first with 55% of the market with Firefox leading Google Chrome 20% to 18% for second place. But, if you put your faith in StatCounter‘s browser statistics, then Chrome ended 2012 as the top browser with 36% and IE is number two, 31%, with Firefox lagging behind at 22%. What’s going on here?