The first Internet browser with the graceful name WorldWideWeb was created in 1990. Since then, a multitude of them has been created, but despite the passage of almost 30 years, their basic function is the same – displaying websites and enabling interaction with them. The popularity of browsers is usually talked and written in the context of the last few years. And how was it once? Let's go back to 1996 and follow the next 23 years of this segment's evolution.
The first 6 years on the browser market was not a black hole where nothing happens. In 1993, Mosaic debuted, and a year later the leader of his team created Netscape Navigator, which quickly became the world's most popular browser. In 1995, Internet Explorer debuted, which literally went to war with Netscap and a few years later became a monopolist. The beginning of 1996, however, is still the era of Navigator dominance. This year, IE with almost 10% share climbed to almost 20%, and Mosaic was almost completely forced out of the market.
Internet Explorer grew crazy to become the number one browser in the last quarter of 1998. In the years 2002–2004 its share was almost 95%, after which it began to decline, as new players appeared on the scene – Mozilla Firefox (2002) and Apple Safari (2003). For a long time, Firefox occupied a solid second position, having over 30% of the market at its peak. In the meantime, however, the future leader was born.
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Today, hardly anyone remembers that Opera started as a research project in 1994, and a year later it had its first release. However, it has only been recorded as a significant force since 2008, although it never went beyond the 3% threshold. Meanwhile, we are returning to the new king. Google Chrome debuted in the last quarter of 2008 and became the number three browser in two years. Then, under her influence, IE's share began to fall sharply, and soon afterwards Firefox began to lose shares.
Chrome became the second force at the beginning of 2012 to become the leader in the third quarter that it is until now. After a few reshuffles, in 2015 a new player came on the scene – Microsoft Edge. To date, it has not exceeded the 5% threshold. However, Chrome is becoming a new monopolist with shares exceeding 70%.
History shows that in the case of browsers, no leader has managed to keep his position indefinitely, although this is obviously not a rule that can certainly be applied to the future of this segment. It is possible, however, that the last 30 years are a time of clarification of strong forces, and Chrome will dominate for a long time.
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