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Browser wars: The battle for NZ

Written By: - Date published: 4:20 pm, October 23rd, 2012 - 40 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

The moment has finally arrived. Microsoft’s irritating Internet Explorer browser is not the top browser in New Zealand any more according to StatCounter

And worldwide it hasn’t been so for five months.

It is a slow day on the site according to the readership stats. Looks like everyone is still hung over from Labour weekend.

So lets do a Whaleoil tactic, ignore the politics and start a mindless debate. Browser wars – always a good topic. And I bet that it follows the newly coined Lynn’s law (unless someone can show a prior claim to the observation) and morphs into an even dafter debate about favourite operating systems.

40 comments on “Browser wars: The battle for NZ ”

  1. Volnay 1

    As most the sole remaining Opera user in NZ if find the browser faster and less clunky than either Chrome or Firefox, especially when reopening old reloaded tabs, but this could be merely be an opinion of based upon fervent customer loyalty.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      I was going to comment on the poor state of Opera, not even beating out “other”.

      • McFlock 1.1.1

        actually, I quite enjoyed it when I visited Wellington. Quite the spectacular! 

      • karol 1.1.2

        Yes, I tried Opera for a while.  I found theup and down scrolling to not be very smooth.

        • aj

          I am another quite devoted Opera fan. Tried the rest – stick with the best.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I tried Opera when it first released and absolutely hated it. After some time and actually enjoying Firefox I decided that it was just because I wasn’t used to the tabbed browsing so I tried it again and I still absolutely hated it. Can’t tell you why, it just clashes with the psyche.

            • Jo

              Still using Opera daily since first look in the mid-late nineties, transitioning with it (and my email) through Windows 9x -> Linux -> OS X and back to Windows again . Still has my votes, and the speed of views based M2 mail filtering and ability to handle 500,000 emails without blinking, rival those of GMail, and alongside the newer feature make it more than just a web browser for those that way inclined.

          • jaymam

            Opera has the facility to pretend to be a different browser. I have set Opera to pretend to be Firefox, for the annoying sites that only allow IE and Firefox (e.g. like Xtra used to).
            Therefore StatCounter will be inaccurate when counting Opera.
            The new NZ Herald site does not work for my version of Firefox, and IE is just so horrible. So I am using Opera more and more. The stats are wrong!

    • Reuben 1.2

      Hey! I use Opera too! It is (currently) the least annoying browser to use on my antique Mac OS X 4.11 PPC. Though sometimes I am forced to switch to OmniWeb or a equally ancient version of Safari to get around some websites that go a bit flash crazy…

    • William 1.3

      I use to use the Opera browser on my iPod touch. Was a few years ago now… but good memories of it.

  2. Peter 2

    Well, that is good news, but it isn’t a slow news day. Asset sales just got delayed!

    • lprent 2.1

      Oh I’d agree that is good news. But everyone who knows anything about NZ law (ie we can exclude the PM) knows that was what was exactly how the High Court would rule to follow previous decisions from superior courts.

      It was just as predictable as people eventually realizing that Internet Explorer was a gross bit of bloatware that provided little apart from a deviance from standards.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        IE9 isn’t too bad though, is it?

        • McFlock

          I was managing a wee website for some regional govt agencies to use (not MSD 🙂 ), and got complaints because apparently the site was broken. Not broken, just not designed for IE6. After all, it’s only been obsolete for 12 years.
          The tech was a little bit irked, though, because the retro-developer feature in IE9 to mimic previous incarnations didn’t pick up the incompatibility. 

          • Lanthanide

            Yeah, but the graphs just show IE, it doesn’t split out the versions.

            I don’t use IE myself, have never used it, but I hear that IE9 isn’t too bad.

            • Liberal Realist

              IE 9 is terrible in my experience. It can’t even talk/interface (at least consistently!) with other Microsoft products, such as Sharepoint or CRM!

            • lprent

              Problem for me is that trying to develop a internet based webapp in about 2005-6 irremediably soured me on IE. Version 6 absolutely sucked for compatibility against the standards. Version 7 wasn’t much better. And something like 80-90% of the “special case” code in the HTML/CSS/JS was developed was for just those two browsers.

              Firefox and Safari were a breeze by comparison. My usual development sequence for features was to write for firefox, then see if I needed any tweaks for safari, and then expect to spend about 25% of the development time tweaking two versions of IE work the same way as the standards. What was even worse was that we were hanging out for the release of IE7 (which was dreadfully late) and each of the two beta’s of IE7 broke previous tweaks.

              I’ve wound up coding as far as IE8, but it was still the dud because while it’d improved a lot more than other browsers, the other browsers had a shorter ‘distance’ to get to the current standards.

              I have no idea on IE9…. Fortunately I’m mostly doing embedded at present which means a single web platform for rendering dialogs etc.

              • Rog

                Sounds like you should charge the ie tax for those users of your sites 🙂

                • lprent

                  At the time I started writing webapps (~2004), firefox only a few percent ~5% of the browsers and a good proportion of the mac users were using IE5 for the Mac (which had a whole different set of problems).

                  I think Microsoft shoved out IE6 and thought – “we did it – we own the world”. They were also pushing for activeX as the scripting standard.

                  We went for HTML, CSS, and JS standard’s and it paid off because most other developers outside of corporate did the same. But it has been irritating writing for the laggards.

            • lprent

              Yeah, but the graphs just show IE, it doesn’t split out the versions.

              You can get the versions of their wee tool. Here you go…

              Click the image for a larger version.

              • Lanthanide

                Still doesn’t have IE6 or 7 in it though :/ and clearly the ‘Other’ at one point includes version 20.0 of Chrome.

                • lprent

                  Hardly surprising that older IE versions aren’t in there. Looking at analytics for this site for IE versions for the last month.

                  9.0 ~47%
                  8.0 ~43%
                  7.0 ~8%
                  6.0 ~1%
                  10.0 ~0.5%
                  5.5 ~0.05%

                  Won’t quite add to 100% because of my rough rounding. Copying from analytics doesn’t work in the iPad version..

                  What was a bit freaky was that while the average page views per visit was just over 7 for analytics version of a “visit”, the average for IE was just over 3.6. Largest browser was Firefox by visits, and they were top at just under 10 pages per visit.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Go LPRENT you are no doubt “not wrong” about the OS thing. There are lots of stats out there and Chrome consistently seems to come on strong.

    Do people care about “windoze” anymore? “Microsloth” was often at the top of the steaming pile of browsers by default, it was compulsory due to licensing. But there is now more choice, Safari creeps up here and there obviously because it comes on macs, and some users just stick with what is installed. But there is choice for Apple purchasers too which is hopefully what it is all about.

    • lprent 3.1

      My only remaining apple product*, an iPad1, runs Chrome as its default browser. Basically it beats Safari for the iPad hands down.

      * I had a iPhone 3G which has now been relegated to testing code at app code at work without a sim card. I’m now using a HTC one V running android 4.0. Mostly I just use it as a wifi access point or usb tethered device to give access to the net in strange locations without net access. Sometimes I use it as a voice or message device or even as a camera.

  4. captain hook 4

    I dont really care about all that but I kept getting messages that my IE was out of date and do something about it.
    Well my PC is a dinosaur and so what but a new version of IE was not compatible with my doodacky and I object to spending money when I dont have to.
    I obtained chrome and its okay.
    cool bananas.

  5. infused 5

    Chrome is good. IE 10 is good, but needs a faster release schedule in future.

    • lprent 5.1

      Yeah look at that chrome release schedule above (and weep)

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        I.E 3.02 in Win 95 and now it’s up to 10
        Chrome launched a couple of years ago and now it’s up to 22

        Release schedule of one is just bad, the other is bloody crazy.

        • Lanthanide

          Except the differences from ‘version’ to ‘version’ in Chrome are quite small, if not transparent to users, whereas each new version of IE is quite obviously different.

  6. brybry 6

    I’ve always been a fan of firefox. I use the privacy addons such as “HTTPS everywhere” “Ad block” “NoScript” “Request Policy” “Foxy Proxy”. I like the sync tool for syncing the addons and bookmarks across devices.

    I change the user agent so that it presents as “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/21.0.1180.89 Safari/537.1” just for fun.

    I’ve never tried chrome, though it looks pretty good. I’m trying to wean myself off google. I use DDG and IXQuick instead for searching as they have better privacy policies. I have also had early success training my colleagues to say “search” instead of the G word. Maps and my android phone are going to be more difficult though….

    • felix 6.1

      I’ve been the same about chrome – I already rely on google for a bit more stuff than I’m comfortable with and adding “browser” to the list just seemed a bridge too far.

      But as someone on twitter put it, Firefox sure has put on a lot of weight since we first started dating.

      • lprent 6.1.1

        Firefox sure has put on a lot of weight since we first started dating

        Yep. The thing that bugs me is startup time.

        • Jo

          Yep, startup time and get-in-way-of-browsing design of plugins made it an annoying launch – plus I got sick of it sucking on PPC Mac and never came back.

        • FF User

          Try a new profile. The launch time for Firefox for me is second to only Chrome by a mere fraction of a second.

      • NickS 6.1.2

        Still better for having 20+ tabs open though 😉

        And part of firefox’s problems is the bloody flash plugin that _never_ discharges the memory it’s using until you manually kill it in task manager.

      • Common 6.1.3

        There is Palemoon (http://www.palemoon.org/) which is a custom build of FF optimized for Windows and it also strips a bunch of crap out, if it doesn’t facilitate web browsing the dev generally removes it.
        It also adds the old status bar back in.

  7. gnomic 7

    There’s a Microsoft web browser? I’d heard rumours. Maybe I missed something by not using Windows to any extent since 1998 or so. They bought Mosaic was it? IE was even more annoying than Windows Explorer if I recall correctly. Or were they the same thing? Was the file manager a browser or vice versa? With any luck I’ll never know.

    So Flash is to blame for that annoying Firefox memory blowout? I’m not surprised. Is it dead yet, Flash that is? I for one can hardly wait, but then have I ever clicked on YouTube? And why does the dashed plugin seem ever more inclined to crash?

    Opera. I tried hard but wasn’t quite clever enough to work out what the buttons were for. Still it definitely had its moments and I could swear I’m seeing blatant imitation in other browers currently.

    Safari you say. Based on open software. It seemed usable enough on the occasions I tried it, if a trifle quaint early on. Haven’t actively followed it until today. Some Apple weirdness over updates being dependent on buying new OS X version?

    Chrome/Chromium Pretty sharp though tarnished by the spying. Details of the gui totally inexplicable. I have to do what to change the download destination? This is an improvement in usability? Nope, I think not. And as for the utterly hopeless download manager thingie, sheesh. Your d/l may arrive in one hour, or is it two hours? Get a grip.

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