Browser market is similar to OS one

We have Microsoft Windows. Right? Holding >80% of its market. We have Internet Explorer. Holding >%80 of market. Last version of Windows for end-user market was released on 21 October 2001. Last version of Internet Explorer was released on October 2001.

Windows is not too secure, very usable and intuitive, users like it and are very customated. It’s easy to use and install, and absolutely not innovative. It mixes some open standards support that it must support (like ipx, tcp/ip) and their own technologies which are competing with global, open standards and are used thanks to Microsoft’s great marketing.
Microsoft plans to release next version of their OS in 2006 but it seems that it won’t be anything innovative, more like trying to reach the level of MacOSX and Linux features.
Internet explorer is… ahm… is… the same?
Linux is free, open source, young OS that was developed for years in background of a market, and with latest moves, new brands and more user friendly UI it started reaching end-user platforms. Linux is currently supported by many big companies like IBM, Novell and Sun. It has nice potential and is targeting to current Microsoft users. It’s very powerful, has very well back end and now does more work around UI, intuitive interfaces, nice themes and eye-candy. It’s also very standard compliance, focusing on open standards. Linux has many distributions that shares the core with custom UI and set of features. The power of linux is an amount of developers, support from a few big companies and lack of money principals. Linux is made for fun.
Firefox is… ahm… is… the same?
MacOS has very small market, exists for a long time on a market, but with MacOSX version made a significant progress on it’s UI and gained more attention. MacOS is now open standards friendly, has good marketing is innovative and it’s a nice choice for people who are tired with Windows but finds Linux too complicated to configure. MacOS has it’s very devoted community and even they’re not able to gain much more market because their prices – it’s not a big problem for them. They’re focusing on one, specific market, with devoted group of users and high quality product they does not need any more.
Opera is… ahm… is… the same?

Yes, I know it’s not exactly like this. But I think that there exists enough similarities to talk about it. The biggest differences from my description are that Firefox has much more market than Linux has, but remember that it’s much easier to install browser than to change OS and that MacOS is focused on exclusive market for people who loves being individualists while Opera tries to reach market for masses.
I believe that it’s a big mistake from Opera. If they would make their brand exclusive, so users feel like with Rolls-Royce, Rollex, and MacOS X itself they could find their place for a long years. Now, they’re trying to be much “better” than other browsers to explain their users why they should pay them for something that others give for free or why users should view some adds that other browsers doesn’t show. And I think that with time passing by, they have less arguments. There is no limit for Firefox, Seamonkey, RoundTwo browser or some Google tool. Any of free browsers can implement anything that Opera might have if it’s worth implementing. So while net cables getting wider, CPU’s getting faster, firefox getting faster and smaller, the number of exclusive features of Opera will became smaller. And Opera is still a company, so the goal is the money – not in the way Microsoft works, but still. I think that they should give their users experience of being someone special. That’s what people will want to pay for, and that’s what can’t be reached by browser “for masses”.

I don’t know if the future will be similar for both markets – probably not. Linux will not be as fast as Firefox is. Apple has IMHO brighter future than Opera, Windows will be used much longer than IE and once more – switching the browser is much easier than switching the OS.

One more thing that is similar. When Opera moved to Presto, and Firefox was released, browser market started second live. After 5 years of stagnation, browser market is not riding high speed with new technologies, new UI ideas, and bright future. Who is the winner? Users are of course.
On PC market we have stagnation now. But something will start soon… With 64bit CPU move, with Apple move to Intel, with next generation KDE4 and Gnome 3 Linux desktops with more 3D technologies, new ways of managing data and working on GUI, the OS market will probably start a second race soon. And guess who will be the winners… 🙂

update: Ah! And there is another OS and a browser. Both with small market, and both trying to gain more by opening sources. Solaris and Safari.

3 replies on “Browser market is similar to OS one”

You write Opera is loosing it’s exclusive features and that Opera should create their browser for an exclusive market. But how will they be able to do that if their product becomes less and less exclusive?

Nerf: Rolex is not exclusive because it has some unique features. I promise you that it displays time in very ordinary way 🙂
Rolls-Royce is also a car – engine, wheels, cabine etc.
The differences are small but important. Opera has high quality product. They can promote it as one. Opera is also more secure today than Firefox so they should promote it.
Opera should also get some very stylish theme and they have almost ready product. Most of the features that differs Fx 1.1 and Opera 8.0 will still differ them because Fx will make it as extensions. So Opera has something like “very stable, fast, polished browser with set of features for powerfull user” – the only missing thing now is to promote the brand “Opera” as an exclusive one. And that’s the mistake imho. They’re trying to promote brand “Opera” for mass users instead focusing on smaller group of people who likes such toys. Their market are people working in areas like media, buisness, economy, fashion.

No, “Opera is always wrong”.

When Opera was targetting power-users, it’s been bashed for being “bloated” with functions that aren’t for average user.

Now I hear the opposite…

Opera Software is doing well selling commercial browser for 10 years now, so don’t worry about them.

And the fact it’s commercial software is demonized. There are examples like Windows vs Linux, Photoshop vs GIMP where people are happy to pay, even if free, open-source alternatives exist.
Opera’s price tag isn’t high (in Poland it’s less than typical month internet connection fee), so if it makes someones sufring better, it’s worth the expense.

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