While being number three in the browser wars is akin to fighting over table scraps, Google is probably happy at the news that Chrome’s combined platform use has pushed it ahead of Safari, by a whole 0.03 percentage points. (“We’re number 3! We’re number 3!”) Chrome’s elevation in status was reported by Net Applications, which tracks the browser habits of 160 million unique monthly visitors to the 40,000 sites it monitors. The results are for the month of November.
Let’s first put things into context: Internet Explorer (IE), in all its glory, dominates the browser market with a market share of 63.6%, and Firefox a distant second at 24.7%. That leaves 11.7% for everyone else. Chrome now owns a 4.4% share, closely followed by Safari at 4.37%. There are some who might argue otherwise, but does it really matter who fills out the remaining 2.93%?
Chrome’s bump up into third place comes on the heels of the introduction of betas for Mac OS and Linux--basically moving Chrome into two new market niches. Collectively, this added 0.4 percentage points to Google’s total: from 4.0% of market share in October to 4.4% in November. On a percentage basis that’s not an insignificant increase, but in the overall scheme of things it doesn’t seem all that much. Still, “We’re number 3!”
Chrome doesn’t appear to be posed to threaten the dominate browsers in these new markets anytime soon. Chrome’s share of the Mac OS market went from 0.32% to 1.3%--Safari seems safe for now. And on Linux Chrome went from a 3.81% share to a 6.34% share--and safe too is Firefox.
Vince Vizzaccaro, an executive vice president of Net Applications doesn’t see Chrome threatening the OS hegemony of IE or Safari, but does suspect that Chrome might one day give Firefox a run for its money on Linux: “With the emergence of Chrome, I'll be curious to see if Chrome will be to Firefox on Linux what Firefox is to IE on Windows...a forceful competitor.”