Quick. Can you name all the browsers that PC, tablet, and smartphone customers can use to browse the interwebs? Add up all your fingers and toes and you’re still short by a hundred or so. Yes, there are dozens of browsers available.
OK, since naming them all would require some research, how many major browser platforms are there? That won’t require you to remove your shoes and socks to count. From my perspective as an inveterate industry watcher and certified Apple watcher, I think the number is down to two.
It’s a two-horse browser race.
Who so? Microsoft has caved in to Google’s Chromium project, Brave switched to Chromium, Opera switched to Chromium, Vivaldi is all Chromium,Firefox is on the decline, and that leaves just two major platforms. Google’s Chromium, obviously. And Apple’s built-in Safari via WebKit.
That scenario, with the decline and fall of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and the newer Edge browser switching to Chromium, means the world has three major browsers, and the least used among them is in decline. The browser wars have become a two-horse race with Chromium (Chrome and others) and WebKit (Safari).
Guess which browser platform is winning?
Unfortunately for the great unwashed masses of interweb humanity, it’s not Safari. It’s Google’s Chrome (also based upon the Chromium project). Yes, you can find WebKit-based browsers that are not Safari, but that number is in decline, too.
Have you ever heard of used any of these browsers?
All the above were based on WebKit but have been discontinued. How about all those browsers available for iPhone and iPad? Yes, they are based on WebKit.
- Google Chrome
- Dolphin Browser
- Microsoft Edge
The list is longer, yes, but it doesn’t matter as WebKit-based browsers are on the decline, and Apple requires that all iOS browsers use its own iOS browser engine.
And, yes, there are other browser platforms. KHTML-based Konqueror, Presto, and dozens of others; many with discontinued browsers. That means the browser wars in 2018 are all about Chromium (Chrome and others), WebKit (Safari), Mozilla’s Firefox, and everything else is either discontinued, will be discontinued, or fading away into obscurity.
One can argue the same is happening with Firefox; faster and more secure with better privacy tools than Chrome, yet with fewer users than Apple’s own Safari. Interestingly, Chrome’s lead is growing (which makes Chromium the most used platform) and now tops 60-percent, Safari (WebKit) comes in second place at just over 15-percent, and no other browser makes it to 5-percent worldwide.
Once can argue that it’s not a three-horse race, or even a two-horse race, but the race is over. Chrome won.