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May 5, 2010

Browser Wars - Wrong Data

Here is the typical miss-statement of the browser-war status.

IE8, Chrome have most momentum in browser wars

IE8, Chrome have most momentum in browser wars
Data source: Net Applications

Chrome is on a roll. It's the fastest-growing browser in terms of market share we've seen in a long time. And its rapid growth corresponds with Internet Explorer's steady decline. Keeping that in mind though, data from last month shows that IE8 has managed to grab 25 percent of the browser market, beating all versions of Firefox to the punch. In January 2010, only Chrome and Safari showed positive growth.

Between December and January, Internet Explorer dropped a significant 0.51 percentage points (from 62.69 percent to 62.18 percent) and Firefox slipped 0.20 percentage points (from 24.61 percent to 24.41 percent). Chrome jumped a sizeable 0.57 percentage points (from 4.63 percent to 5.20 percent) while Safari moved up 0.05 percentage points (from 4.46 percent to 4.51 percent). Opera, on the other hand, dipped 0.02 percentage points (from 2.40 percent to 2.38 percent), though we're still hoping version 10.5 will turn things around for the little guy.

Why is this picture wrong?

  • iTunes is a browser, used by 70% of the MP3 device owners. The browser stats don't track iTunes use.
  • Mobile devices already account for over 30% of web use. The iPhone is the top device, but it does not allow background tasks and third-party tools to track the use.
  • Top means to access social networks is via mobile apps.
  • Google Analytics fails to track data for Palm or iPhone app access.
If this data were trackable, has Explorer already lost the lead as the top browser to Safari? Is Chrome even a credible trend that would justify this headline?

The right headline, if anyone can see the entire web, is probably:

Safari Leads Among Browsers


Verizon Rep: It's just like an iPhone ;-)

While visiting a Verizon store, I overheard a customer conversation.
Do you have the iPhone?
Is Verizon listening to their customers?

Verizon's Challenge

Verizon is the largest wireless network in the United States. (FYI - very small when compared to China Mobile and China Unicom as an aside.) Despite the massive advertising pissing-battle on TV, their 3G network is marginally faster than AT&T's network, equal when using the Wi-Fi option, and behind when shared with telephony services.

Verizon rejected Apple and enterprise politics block adding the iPhone to their product mix. AT&T has already announced that they will add Android phones, opening the door for Apple to choose more wireless partners in the USA.

Verizon offers Blackberry for business users, Palm Pre/Pixi for female customers, and the Android Droid series for tech-savvy customers. Thus, they concluded that they don't need the iPhone.


Troubles on the Android Platform

Verizon has pushed millions of Android phones to customers - made by Motorola, HTC, and Samsung. (ed: still a small fraction of iPhone, iPad, iPod shipments) Unfortunately, of the six phones tested:
  • 2 failed to boot
  • 1 crunched its content to less than 320px resolution
  • 1 unit's touch typing failed to recognize any letter correctly
  • 1 worked great, but had a few small quirks
  • 1 worked perfectly
  • All had Android 1.5 or better
As an app developer, I've pointed out the weakness of the Android strategy. Who is to blame for this inconsistent user experience? Google, Motorola, HTC, Samsung, Verizon, Taiwan, or the developer? Let the fingerpointing start.

Although the press has accused Apple of taking tough stances with wireless partners, developers, and Taiwan manufacturers, it's clear that Apple takes the user experience seriously and takes ownership of the issue.

On the Android platform, who takes ownership?

What the Verizon Customer Wants

Let's get back to the customer.
  • She wants to stay with Verizon
  • Her kids have asked for the iPhone
  • She is told that the Droid is just like an iPhone. Is it? Which one?
  • She asked about iTunes
  • She is told that Verizon already has iTunes -- using MP3
  • She asked when Verizon will offer the iPhone
  • The rep lied, soon ;-)
Should Verizon make their reps look like a bunch of out-right fibbers? Politics aside, isn't it time for Verizon to listen to their customers?

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