Linked by Kroc Camen on Wed 6th Oct 2010 16:37 UTC
Editorial In response to Jean-Louis Glassee's article "The OS Doesn't Matter..." I wrote quite simply: the future of the browser wars is he who integrates with the OS best. This phrase came from my article lambasting Microsoft's use of HTML for their IE9 jump lists, which caused quite a stir. In the wave of ever increasing web browser capability, the operating system is going to matter to web users more than it ever has before.
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But it is declining in relevance
by kaelodest on Wed 6th Oct 2010 18:40 UTC
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I mean to people like us who go to the more technically inclined sites we sort of care about the OS but not that much. If you will succeed in one then you will likely succeed in any environment. But for the consumer I think that they are reacting indifferently to an OS that has failed them and I can qualify that with the question of how many of us have experienced or heard of a windows horror story.
What I see is that people in general want the OS to be helpful and stable and transparent. So that they can get on the Web and watch a video and send some emails. The OS is not something that they want to think about, that is what engineers and technicians do, there is a plain assertion that there is only the two principal OS environments Windows and Unix\Unix-Like. And with the lack of innovation in games, where the market has chosen games that are fun (the Wii) as opposed to expensive but pretty games with low replay value(ridiculous shooters). In the same way that I do not want to think about what embedded SW is in my fuel injectors, I just want to drive. I am not trying to squeeze 15 HP here or there with polished headers or a cold-air intake, but to a car nut that matters. Windows or Mac or Linux, Firefox or Chrome do not matter to most of my family most of the time or even most of my clients and I am ashamed to say this but even some of my tech friends. So I do not think that the OS is dead per se. It will always be there but what I do see is an increasing reliance on the browser. At work many tasks are run on a citrix session in a browser, or as a web app front end to a data store somewhere else. The reasons and benefits are clear you patch an web app in one place or upgrade and add features to all of the users at once.
Look at the plummeting market share of MSIE and that is what only runs on windows. That is where the relevance of windows has gone. That OS and work stay in the office. Because of the emergence of the MacOS in the VIP space, weather they need it or not - if it is just a prestige/vanity item the web app still has to work. Or to reduce two paragraphs into a simple way of looking at it is, if you are not chasing specs and numbers - fastest CPU burliest GPU biggest HDD then all I want is an OS that works, keeps working and stays out of my way. Windows has failed in that space.
Facebook and twitter and who knows what comes next these are what people think is important. And in that context any decent browser should be able to take on the world. That this browser is not Microsoft Internet Explorer, well that is just icing on the cake.

Reply Score: 2

deathshadow Member since:

How can it (IE) be declining in relevance when IE has MORE users today than it had when it was at 99% of the market.

DO NOT let market share be used to lie to you!!!

Let's rub a couple brain cells together and go over what share really means. It comes down to a question people don't ask when they hear a percentage and should; "A percentage of WHAT?"

Let's make this easy and compare 2005 to 2008. We have pretty concrete numbers to play with in that range. Besides, it's the most up to date numbers available on google public data, and the wikipedia usage article.

In 2005 IE had roughly 90% of the market still. If you take the time to look at percentage of the world population that was online at the time you find out that 15.9% was online. The population was then 6.46 billion, so that's 1.027 billion people online.

In 2008 IE had roughly 70% of the market... at the same time the percent of population online had grown to 23.9% and the world population had grown to 6.69 billion, so that's 1.59 billion.

90% of 1.027 billion is 924.3 million.
70% of 1.59 billion is 1.113 billion

So while "losing" 20% market share, the number of IE users grew by 189 million.

Current guesstimates put the % of world population online at 34% (given the steady trend of increasing penetration since 2005) and the world population at 6.873 billion, for 2.33 billion.

51.34% (wikipedia's number) of 2.33 billion is 1.19 billion.

Meaning that while dropping from 70% to 51.34% IE gained 77 million new users!!!

Meaning IE is just as relevant as it was five years ago or even ten years ago!

You figure in things like FF's prefetch artificially inflating it's market share, users smart enough to use other browsers getting counted more than once because of all the different devices they use to get online (like me since I get counted for Opera four times - work, home, road laptop, bedside laptop), and those percentages become even shakier.

Basically, most of the people who were using IE five years ago are still using it today... and more people are using it than ever!


-- edit -- oops, I may have misunderstood your post. Did you mean the OS? You're not very clear on that.

Edited 2010-10-07 01:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3