Zona declares Microsoft winner in browser war
(IDG) -- Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser now trounces rival Netscape's Communicator and Navigator products as the browser of choice among end-users, according to the most recent survey from market analyst group Zona Research.
But browsers have become such a minor part of the Internet market that the browser war is no longer worth covering, according to Zona, which said its just-completed October 1999 survey will be its last.
Microsoft's IE is the primary choice for 64 percent of respondents to the October survey, compared to 36 percent for Navigator. In April, the figures were 59:41 in Microsoft's favor, while as recently as October 1998, Navigator held a 60:40 lead.
In Zona's first survey, conducted in January 1996, Navigator held a 71 percent share, and IE held just 2 percent, with the market also containing long-forgotten brands such as Quarterdeck Mosaic, Wollongong Emissary, and NCD Mariner.
At that time, there were nine players on the browser frontier battling for a slice of a $200 million market; as the dust has settled almost four years later, two have emerged as the dominant players for a zero-dollar market, Zona said.
As the market has coalesced around IE and Navigator, companies have increasingly implemented browser policies, designating one or the other as the official corporate browser. In January 1996, 33 percent of companies had an official browser policy, and those that did overwhelmingly chose Navigator.
In the October 1999 survey, 73 percent of the companies surveyed said they had a browser policy, with IE favored by a 69:31 ratio. In the 69 percent standardized on IE, 31 percent favored IE 5.x products compared to 36 percent on the older IE 4.x, and 2 percent on IE3.x, according to Zona figures.
Netscape was acquired by America Online (AOL) in a deal finalized in February of this year. The deal coincided with a shift away from the importance of the browser technology to the content on the Internet, according to Zona.
David Legard is Singapore correspondent for the IDG News Service.
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