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Given the value and control this window yields, the space is competitive. How does the competitor list stratify? Figure 1 displays data from May 2010.
Figure 1. Browser segmentation in May 2010.
Internet Explorer, a Microsoft product, has the dominant share (36%). Firefox, an open-source program, is a close second at 29%. Safari, an Apple product, rounds out the major players with 25%.
Google's Chrome browser, marketed as a faster way to browse the web, has a 10% share. Launched in September 2008, Google has obtained significant status quickly. Chrome's impressive growth and strategic pursuits are heavily chronicled by TechCrunch.
The following video from Google describes the browser's importance and demonstrates the convenience the cloud provides.
Investing in marketing, education, and consumer learning, Google is building towards a cloud-based Chrome OS. The extensive product roll-out plan and strategic direction (speedy, simple, secure) are discussed in the following Google video.
The digital battle emerging pits operating system companies in an open (Google Chrome OS & Linux) vs. closed (Microsoft Windows & Apple Mac OS X) philosophical struggle.
Google staff responses, or silence, to audience questions on competitors indicate Google will make strong moves against Microsoft and Apple (see Apple's iPad Advertising/Content Positioning & Hostility Towards Google).
Google is acting as a system integrator (hardware, software, web design standards, and developer community engagement), much like Apple, but with Google's trademark Search superiority.
With a holistic (hard/software, design, community) business model capturing consumer attention, expect to see action by Facebook (see What If Google's Social Layer Is Chrome? What If Facebook Builds A Browser?).
Offline use is a current limitation. Some content may be viewed offline, but without internet connection, device utility drops dramatically. Will you pay for coffee just to have wireless?
Likely no, however, those with 4G data plans will have near ubiquitous internet access. Logically, communities with rapid, ubiquitous 4G deployment will be receptive to lean Google Chrome programs.
As cloud computing becomes pervasive and browser demands grow, the space will heat up. Following Google's moves and growth is strategically key.