Popular Web Browsers (Internet Explorer/Edge, Chrome, Mozilla Firefox)

01/01/2022 0 By indiafreenotes

The increased growth of the Internet in the 1990s and 2000s means that current browsers with small market shares have more total users than the entire market early on. For example, 90% market share in 1997 would be roughly 60 million users, but by the start of 2007 9% market share would equate to over 90 million users.

Apple and Google also encourage you to use Safari and Chrome on their respective platforms, although like Windows there are plenty of other options available to download.

There’s no limit on how many you can install at any one time, although it’s probably important to set one as your default browser. This will be the browser that links from messaging apps and emails will open.

Internet Explorer/Edge

Internet Explorer (formerly Microsoft Internet Explorer and Windows Internet Explorer, (from August 16, 1995 to March 30, 2021) commonly abbreviated IE or MSIE) is a discontinued series of graphical web browsers developed by Microsoft and included in the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, starting in 1995. It was first released as part of the add-on package Plus! for Windows 95 that year. Later versions were available as free downloads, or in-service packs, and included in the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) service releases of Windows 95 and later versions of Windows. New feature development for the browser was discontinued in 2016 in favor of new browser Microsoft Edge. Since Internet Explorer is a Windows component and is included in long-term lifecycle versions of Windows such as Windows Server 2019, it will continue to receive security updates until at least 2029. Microsoft 365 ended support for Internet Explorer on August 17, 2021, and Microsoft Teams ended support for IE on November 30, 2020. Internet Explorer will be discontinued on June 15, 2022, after which the alternative will be Microsoft Edge with IE mode for legacy sites.

Internet Explorer was once the most widely used web browser, attaining a peak of about 95% usage share by 2003. This came after Microsoft used bundling to win the first browser war against Netscape, which was the dominant browser in the 1990s. Its usage share has since declined with the launch of Firefox (2004) and Google Chrome (2008), and with the growing popularity of mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS that do not support Internet Explorer.

Estimates for Internet Explorer’s market share in 2021 are about 0.45% across all platforms, or by StatCounter’s numbers ranked 9th. On traditional PCs, the only platform on which it has ever had significant share, it is ranked 6th at 1.15%, after Opera. Microsoft Edge, IE’s successor, first overtook Internet Explorer in terms of market share in November 2019.

Microsoft spent over US$100 million per year on Internet Explorer in the late 1990s, with over 1,000 people involved in the project by 1999.

Versions of Internet Explorer for other operating systems have also been produced, including an Xbox 360 version called Internet Explorer for Xbox and for platforms Microsoft no longer supports: Internet Explorer for Mac and Internet Explorer for UNIX (Solaris and HP-UX), and an embedded OEM version called Pocket Internet Explorer, later rebranded Internet Explorer Mobile made for Windows CE, Windows Phone, and, previously, based on Internet Explorer 7, for Windows Phone 7.

On March 17, 2015, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Edge would replace Internet Explorer as the default browser on “for certain versions of Windows 10”. This makes Internet Explorer 11 the last release. Internet Explorer, however, remains on Windows 10 LTSC and Windows Server 2019 primarily for enterprise purposes. Since January 12, 2016, only Internet Explorer 11 has official support for consumers; extended support for Internet Explorer 10 ended on January 31, 2020. Support varies based on the operating system’s technical capabilities and its support life cycle. On May 20, 2021, it was announced that full support for Internet Explorer would be discontinued on June 15, 2022, after which, the alternative will be Microsoft Edge with IE mode for legacy sites. Microsoft is committed to support Internet Explorer that way to 2029 at least, with a one-year notice before it is discontinued. The IE mode “uses the Trident MSHTML engine”, i.e. the rendering code of Internet Explorer.

The browser has been scrutinized throughout its development for use of third-party technology (such as the source code of Spyglass Mosaic, used without royalty in early versions) and security and privacy vulnerabilities, and the United States and the European Union have alleged that integration of Internet Explorer with Windows has been to the detriment of fair browser competition.


Internet Explorer has been designed to view a broad range of web pages and provide certain features within the operating system, including Microsoft Update. During the heyday of the browser wars, Internet Explorer superseded Netscape only when it caught up technologically to support the progressive features of the time.


Google Chrome is a cross-platform web browser developed by Google. It was first released in 2008 for Microsoft Windows, built with free software components from Apple WebKit and Mozilla Firefox. It was later ported to Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android, where it is the default browser. The browser is also the main component of Chrome OS, where it serves as the platform for web applications.

Most of Chrome’s source code comes from Google’s free and open-source software project Chromium, but Chrome is licensed as proprietary freeware. WebKit was the original rendering engine, but Google eventually forked it to create the Blink engine; all Chrome variants except iOS now use Blink.

As of October 2021, StatCounter estimates that Chrome has a 68% worldwide browser market share (after peaking at 72.38% in November 2018) on personal computers (PC), is most used on tablets (having surpassed Safari), and is also dominant on smartphones, and at 65% across all platforms combined. Because of this success, Google has expanded the “Chrome” brand name to other products: Chrome OS, Chromecast, Chromebook, Chromebit, Chromebox, and Chromebase.


A multi-process architecture is implemented in Chrome where, by default, a separate process is allocated to each site instance and plugin. This procedure is termed process isolation, and raises security and stability by preventing tasks from interfering with each other. An attacker successfully gaining access to one application gains access to no others, and failure in one instance results in a Sad Tab screen of death, similar to the well-known Sad Mac, but only one tab crashes instead of the whole application. This strategy exacts a fixed per-process cost up front, but results in less memory bloat over time as fragmentation is confined to each instance and no longer needs further memory allocations. This architecture was later adopted in Safari and Firefox.

Chrome includes a process management utility called Task Manager which lets users see what sites and plugins are using the most memory, downloading the most bytes and overusing the CPU and provides the ability to terminate them. Chrome Version 23 ensures its users an improved battery life for the systems supporting Chrome’s GPU accelerated video decoding.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox or simply Firefox is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation. Firefox uses the Gecko rendering engine to display web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards. In 2017, Firefox began incorporating new technology under the code name Quantum to promote parallelism and a more intuitive user interface. Firefox is available for Windows 7 and later versions, macOS, and Linux. Its unofficial ports are available for various Unix and Unix-like operating systems, including FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, illumos, and Solaris Unix. Firefox is also available for Android and iOS. However, the iOS version uses the WebKit layout engine instead of Gecko due to platform requirements, as with all other iOS web browsers. An optimized version of Firefox is also available on the Amazon Fire TV, as one of the two main browsers available with Amazon’s Silk Browser.

Firefox was created in 2002 under the code name “Phoenix” by the Mozilla community members who desired a standalone browser, rather than the Mozilla Application Suite bundle. During its beta phase, Firefox proved to be popular with its testers and was praised for its speed, security, and add-ons compared to Microsoft’s then-dominant Internet Explorer 6. Firefox was released on November 9, 2004, and challenged Internet Explorer’s dominance with 60 million downloads within nine months. Firefox is the spiritual successor of Netscape Navigator, as the Mozilla community was created by Netscape in 1998 before their acquisition by AOL.

Firefox usage share grew to a peak of 32.21% in November 2009, with Firefox 3.5 overtaking Internet Explorer 7, although not all versions of Internet Explorer as a whole; its usage then declined in competition with Google Chrome. As of December 2021, according to StatCounter, Firefox has 8.34% usage share as a desktop web browser, making it the fourth-most popular desktop web browser after Google Chrome (66.35%), Safari (9.82%), and Microsoft Edge (9.53%), while its usage share across all platforms is lower at 3.91% in fourth place, after Google Chrome (64.06%), Safari (19.22%), and Edge (4.19%).