Conflicting data makes it difficult to gauge the browser landscape.
Depending on which data collection service you trust the most, Microsoft's Internet Explorer is either wiping the floor with Google's Chrome browser, or getting spanked by the relative newcomer. Starting with the former, NetMarketShare has IE way out in the lead with a 55.81 percent share of the desktop browser market, virtually unchanged from last month and up a little more than a percentage point from a year ago.
In that same time frame, NetMarketShare's data shows Chrome on the decline, going from being the go-to browser 18.85 percent of the time to just 16.35 percent currently. Looking at the data set, you could conclude that Chrome peaked in 2012 and is now settling into a plateau. And forget about catching up to IE, Chrome still trails Firefox, which is in second place with a 20.3 percent share of the browser market.
Don't care for the story that's unfolding at NetMarketShare? Head on over to StatCounter and you'll read an entirely different view of the online landscape. StatCounter has Chrome out in the lead with a 41.43 percent share of the browser market, up a little more than 10 percent versus a year ago. IE, on the other hand, continues to slide, goiing from a 34.07 percent share of the browser market a year ago to 27.39 percent currently, which is still ahead of Firefox at 19.73 percent.
How can these two firms report such drastically different figures? It has to do with the way each one collects data. NetMarketShare collects data from browsers of site visitors to its on-demand network of HitsLink Analytics and SharePost Clients, giving it a pool of 40,000 websites around the world to work with. StatCounter, on the other hand, uses tracking code installed on more than 3 million sites globally.
That's all well and good, but what are YOU using to browse the web these days?