Microsoft Prepares to Pass The Browser Crown

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One day soon, Google's (NAS: GOOG) Chrome browser will become top dog. I have no doubt about it. Microsoft's (NAS: MSFT) days of Internet Explorer hegemony are numbered, as its market share trajectory is an exact mirror image of Big G's offering.

Chrome recently overtook Mozilla Firefox as the No. 2 browser, even as it decided not to outright kill Firefox by withdrawing financial support via its search partnership. I understand the rationale for ignoring my advice to pull the trigger, since Firefox's default search spot is a juicy seat for Google sit in -- and one that Microsoft Bing or Yahoo! (NAS: YHOO) would gladly have occupied. That's why the king of search had to pony up nearly three times the dollars this past year to maintain the status quo.

Well, StatCounter is out with its latest batch of browser market share figures, and this story continues to play out in a familiar way: IE keeps on slipping, Chrome keeps on climbing, Firefox meanders, and Apple (NAS: AAPL) Safari twiddles its thumbs.

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Source: StatCounter.

In fairness, Safari has been inching higher and sits just under 7%, but Cupertino has no real reason to care about its browser as much as Google and Microsoft do, since the Mac maker has no search business.

IE now claims about 35.7% of the market, just over half of the 68.6% it had back in July 2008 - two months Chrome's launch in September 2008. In that same timeframe, Chrome has grown from a 0% starting point to almost 30% now. Firefox has fluctuated, but is mostly where it started: about a quarter of the market.

At this rate, Chrome looks like it may surpass IE by year's end, which would be quite a feat. If accomplished, Google will have toppled Microsoft's decades of browser dominance in about four years.

Bravo, Big G.

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At the time this article was published Fool contributorEvan Niuowns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned.Click hereto see his holdings and a short bio.The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google; creating a bull call spread position in Apple; and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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