Will Firefox be Netscape’s revenge?

John C. Dvorak says the browser wars are still raging. He cites figures from his blog as evidence that IE only has 50% market share.Well, my logs have always indicated that IE accounts for somewhere between 50 and 60 percent of hits to my blog. The reason for that is pretty simple. This blog appeared in its first form about five years ago. Two months later, I published a computer book that, among other things, advocated using any browser but Internet Explorer and contained detailed instructions for removing Internet Explorer from Windows 95, 95B, and 98.

It’s pretty safe to say a large percentage of my early readership found out about my blog from my book, and the people who read my blog most likely read it because they read my book and liked it, and if they liked my book, they probably agreed with it and were therefore very highly likely to be running Netscape.

For a while I switched to IE, primarily because IE had better keyboard navigation than Netscape and I had repetitive stress injury. I said so. Around that time I saw IE usage increase. I don’t think it had much to do with me. Netscape’s market share was headed for single digits.

By the time Mozilla was approaching version 1.0, I was squarely back in the Mozilla camp and advocating it. Again, IE traffic started to drop. Did it have much to do with me? Something, surely. People who agree with me are more likely to visit again than people who disagree with me.

I think John C. Dvorak’s logs are more likely to reflect PC enthusiasts than mine, simply because he’s a PC Magazine columnist and I’m the author of a now obscure computer book who happens to enjoy blogging, and who blogs about baseball, Christianity and Lionel trains as often as computers these days. That’s opposed to a year ago, when I had a reputation for writing about baseball and Christianity as often as computers. So hey, my horizons are broadening.

Since more of my traffic comes from Google and other search engines than anywhere else, and often it’s people looking for ways to hook up DVD players to old TVs, ways to disable websense, or information on Lyman Bostock, I probably get a decent portion of the non-computer enthusiast crowd.

I think IE’s market share is somwhere between 60 and 75 percent.

I also think it’s going to drop. The last person I told about Firefox wasn’t so confident about it when I told him it was at version 0.93. Now that the magic 1.0 is near, it’s going to jump as early adopters who are nervous about beta software jump. When it hits version 1.1, it’s going to jump even more when people who have been sensitized by Microsoft dot-oh releases start switching.

So while I think Dvorak is wrong about IE’s market share, I think he’s right that it’s dropping and that the browser wars aren’t over.

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