Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chrome vs. Everyone Else: The Long Haul

Google has a history of taking products that we have taken for granted and making them better. The latest example is Google's take on the browser, Chrome. With this new development, all the other browsers are going to have start praying.

First, lets take a history trip back to the beginning of the original browser wars. Netscape Navigator was the big browser. Microsoft released their Internet Explorer to compete with it. Before too long Internet Explorer was bundled with Microsoft Windows. Microsoft gained over 90% market share and Netscape faded into obscurity.

Out of the ashes of Netscape rose Firefox with the hope of challenging Microsoft's dominance. In a small way, they have been successful. Today Firefox controls about 20% of the market. However, Firefox is not bundled with any Windows based computers as far as I know. For most people, Internet Explorer come default on their computer and they don't use anything else.

Google may mix things up and change the way things are usually done. Not to long ago, it was announced that Google was making a deal with computer companies to get Chrome bundled as the default browser. This will probably take some money on Google's part, but they have enough do it. This would seriously threaten Internet Explorer's dominance.

Firefox also has reasons to fear Google. In 2008, Mozilla, creators of Firefox, reported income of $75 million. $66 million of that came from Google. Imagine what will happen when Google stops investing in Mozilla. This will cause Mozilla to fold up and die.

It looks as though Mozilla realizes what's going on. Recently, they made an announcement. The Russian localization of Firefox is switching from Google to a Russian search engine named Yandex. They say this search engine to better designed for Russian needs, but I think there is more to it than that.

Only time will tell, but I predict that Google will shut down Firefox and another browser war will erupt, this time between Microsoft and Google. I'm betting that Google, the younger company will win out.

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