As competition for global web dominance prevailed in 2012, we look at who really won the web browser wars.

There is no shortage of browsers offering a variety of options from sync capabilities and parental controls to top-notch speed and direct support for those needing help, but which key players are satisfying the masses?

Browser Wars 2012 - Who Won?

 

According to the NetMarketshare index from web analytics firm Net Applications, during 2012 the Desktop Top Browser Share Trend report showed that Internet Explorer (IE) was the dominant browser throughout the year.

It retained just over 50 per cent of the share, consistently, each month, and peaked at 55 per cent in December. It held its lowest share in February, at 53 per cent, but was still way ahead of its rivals Firefox (21 per cent) and Google Chrome (19 per cent) that month.

How to get ahead

Claiming to be ‘faster, safer and cleaner with unique features’, IE is the only browser to offer Pinned Sites, allowing users to access their favorite sites directly from the Windows 7 taskbar – without having to open IE first.

Compared to other browsers, IE claims to offer more screen space for users to view their favorite sites. In an industry leading speed test by Webkit’s SunSpider, IE also ranked number one.

Runner-up Firefox, which easily syncs desktop and mobile Firefoxes, has session restore, multiple app tabs and an improved interface, held onto the second biggest chunk of the market according to the NetMarketshare index and hovered at around 20 per cent each month in 2012.

Hot on its heels was Chrome, which scooped around 19 per cent of the browser market each month. Chrome, with its minimalistic user interface and combined web address and search field, is also favored for its application performance and JavaScript processing speed.

In fourth position was Apple’s Safari browser, with around five per cent each month. This was followed by Opera, with a two per cent share each month, throughout 2012.

Contrasting reports

Despite these results from Net Applications, which uses unique visitors to measure web usage, web analytics firm StatCounter, which analyzes every page view referred by a search engine, argues that Chrome and IE were actually much closer in the browser wars 2012.

Browser Wars 2012 - Who Won?

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Browser Market Share

According to StatCounter, on average across the course of 2012, IE had a 33.23 per cent of the browser market share and Chrome had 32.78 per cent. This shows how incredibly close the two rivals were and also leaves Firefox in third place with 24 per cent of the market, Safari with seven per cent and Opera with two per cent.

Despite StatCounter’s yearly average showing IE as the winner, looking at the month by month figures it shows Chrome was steadily gaining popularity from May.

IE began with 37 per cent of the browser market share in January and Chrome had 28 per cent, but the roles switched and by the end of 2012 Chrome was in poll position with 36 per cent with IE tailing behind with 31 per cent.

Regardless of which numbers you believe, both agree that on average for 2012 Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has come out on top.

[Image via chrysalis.deepend]