Jun 16

As this article points out, Safari is losing share, even on OS X.  While it’s been no surprise for some time that Firefox is the de facto standard for Windows users; I really didn’t think that many users out there on OS X also choose Firefox.

Asa Dotzler’s most recent posting on Safari usage graphs some usage statistics and shows that Safari is indeed losing share, albeit slowly, to Firefox.

Safari, just like IE, gets virtually all of its usage by shipping as the bundled and default browser with its operating system. (Safari’s usage share on Windows, where does represent an actual “choice” is even sadder than Opera’s — completely irrelevant.)

The actual case is that we have a bundled browser on Mac that’s losing share to Firefox over time. What does this look like? Well, according to Net Applications, here’s what it looks like.

As you can see pretty clearly by the trend lines, Safari is losing share on Mac and Firefox is gaining share on Mac.

That’s not “more and more people choosing Safari.” Exactly the opposite, more and more people are opting out of Safari and choosing Firefox instead.

Now, Safari usage is growing. That’s plain from my previous graph. The explanation, though, is not more people choosing Safari; it’s more people choosing Mac. That’s a very different thing. Having chosen Mac, Safari users, about 27% of them, have opted out of the bundled and default browser and instead chosen Firefox.

Is it just me, or does anyone else seem to see a major correlation that when a Windows user switches to Apple, that one of the ONLY things he/she can actually control and get a similar feel for as in XP/Vista would be Firefox?  I like what the last commenter on Asa Dotzler’s blog posted:

What I think you miss though is that most mac users who have been mac users use Safari. Most people I know who have recently switched from a PC to the Mac use Firefox just like they used on their PC. So I see it more as a natural progression…. but who knows… maybe your right…

Posted by: Mike | June 16, 2009 5:08 AM

In his most recent posting, Asa goes on to say

…Another example is Apple’s Safari browser on Macintosh. Apple’s bundling of Safari caused it to very quickly become the dominant Mac browser. In the four and a half years since we shipped Firefox 1.0 for Mac, we’ve managed to siphon off about 27 points of share from Safari, but Safari still sits with a comfortable 72% of Mac browser usage.

On both Windows and Mac, the OS vendor bundles a browser and taking browser usage share from those is very difficult. No one, other than Mozilla, has been able to put a substantial dent in the share of those two bundled browsers.

(What’s also really interesting to me is that Firefox has done better on Mac where it has had a much more capable competitor in Safari.)

One of the reasons that no one is able to seriously dent Microsoft and Apple’s browser share is that those two OS vendors ship their OS and their bundled browser on about 300 million new PCs every year.

…So, even if Mozilla or Google or Opera managed to get a PC user to switch there’s a very good chance that in the not too distant future Microsoft or Apple will at least temporarily regain that user’s default browser status and another shot at being just “good enough” for inertia to work for them again — all this without having to do anything to actually make their browser better.

I think that saying Safari (and maybe IE8- never used it, probably never will) isn’t doing anything to upgrade the browsing experience is ridiculous.  Although I do use Firefox quite a bit on Linux and Windows systems, Safari on OS X- at the very least, is a formidable competitor to the Firefox experience.

And going back to what the commenter said from Asa Dotzler’s posting…Hmm…maybe that’s why Firefox is growing on the Mac Platform, because there are Windows converts seeking some familiarity?  Just my .02

via Asa Dotzler’s Blog

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