“Absolutely nothing..” well contrary to the song (taken to number one by Edwin Starr in the USA in 1970) I would argue that in the case of Browsers the term “war” is used to mean competition and that can only be good thing for us, the consumer. There is even a Wikipedia page dedicated to the term Browser War.
The first browser and subsequent war
The first internet browser released in August 1991 was called WorldWideWeb, later renamed to Nexus, and was written by Tim Berners-Lee. In 1995 the browser that dominated the world was the Netscape Navigator helped by it’s policy of “being free for non-commercial use”, in the same year Microsoft released Internet Explorer 1.0. Then the “first browser war” commenced, Microsoft soon followed with IE 2.0 and made it free to all, including commercial usage. There was stiff competition between the teams between Netscape and IE. Eventually IE won the war attaining a peak of 96% usage share in 2002. There was a resulting court case involving Microsoft and the Antitrust Act the settlement meant that Microsoft had to agree to a number of actions in the hope to re-introduce true competition back into the marketplace.
The second browser war
The second browser war started with open-source development of browsers such as Firefox (first released in 2004) and with other new entrants such as Apple, Opera and finally Google. The result of this second period of very healthy competition has delivered innovations such as tabbed browsing, embedded search bars, super-fast browsers.
Meanwhile the browser war carries on and I hope the recent article in the Wall Street Journal is wrong Microsoft Accused of Hindering Firefox Browser as I think the best innovations have come in an open, free marketplace for all – ultimately delivering better functionality and speed to us, the users.
So, who is current winner?
Well according to an article in memeburn.com on 21st May 2012 Google’s Chrome is the world’s most popular browser with about a 32.7% usage share according to StatCounter.com.
So how does this relate to CRM?
Why should you care? In order to run a successful CRM project it is important to engage with your users by allowing them to have an influence on the CRM project. Our Sage CRM product uses a browser to access the software (sometimes called a “web client”) and in our latest release Sage CRM 7.1 sp2 the ability was added to support four different browsers for your users to choose from (for end user functionality). This means if they “love” Chrome or Firefox or Internet Explorer or Safari on their Mac – you don’t have to argue the pros or cons of the browser choice but simply say “OK, we can do that”.
For more on CRM and regular CRM Tips follow me on Twitter @sageukcrm
Duncan Wood, CRM Expert