Thursday, April 15, 2010

Opera and Chrome on the Rise

Opera reported on Tuesday that it has exceeded 100 million users. This is split between 50 million desktop users and 50 million mobile users. This doesn't count users on game consoles, connected TVs and set-top boxes, many of which also run Opera. Opera owes part of this growth to the 10.5x release, which is faster than the 10.10 release — the JavaScript engine alone is seven times faster. Overall Opera claims "year-on-year growth [...] on desktop now stands at over 30%."

In a curious twist, Apple has also approved Opera Mini for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Many didn't think Apple would approve it because it competes with Safari, even to the point that Opera built a countdown page showing how much time would pass until it was approved, but on Tuesday it got the nod (20 days, if you are curious). The question is — does it support Flash?

Mashable reported last Tuesday that Chrome has grown in popularity more quickly than other browsers. They report that Chrome now has a 6.1% market share, beating out Safari and Opera, and gaining on Firefox (24.5%). Some of this growth may be due to its release for the Mac in February that improved (and stabilized it) over the December release.

Both of these browsers may also owe some of these number increases to a recent anti-trust settlement between Microsoft and the European Commission. When users of Microsoft Windows 7 first try to surf the web they are first presented with a "browser ballot" in Internet Explorer that shows a list of other browsers the user may install ("Windows 7's European browser ballot screen revealed, rolling out next week" at Engadget, Feb. 19, 2010). After a month after the browser ballot screen was implemented, Internet Explorer's share in France has dropped by 2.5%, 1.3% in Italy and 1% in the UK ("Browser ballot already hurting Internet Explorer market share" at ars technica, March 23, 2010). Time will tell whether those new users stay true to their new browsers or slowly work their way back to IE.

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