Blog Post

Chrome Passes Safari in Market Share

As predicted, Chrome has eclipsed Safari in web browser market share. According to web analytics firm Net Applications, Chrome’s share is now 4.4 percent, just edging out Safari at 4.37 percent.

For Apple and Safari users, there is both good and bad news here. The good news is that Chrome is WebKit-based like Safari, and more WebKit-based browsing ultimately means greater compatibility for all. The bad news comes in the form of a question: Whatever happened to Safari for Windows?

Via Computerworld, Net Applications VP Vince Vizzaccaro asserts the recent beta release of Chrome for OS X and Linux was responsible for the surge in Chrome usage. At the end of November, Chrome was at 3.93 percent of total browser share, with the OS X version at just 0.32 percent. Two weeks later Chrome for OS X jumped a full percentage point, the increase coming “fairly equally” from Safari and Firefox, according to Vizzaccaro.

Chrome saw an even bigger jump with Linux, from 3.81 percent to 6.84 percent. According to Vizzaccaro, “Linux will be the more intriguing arena to watch.” That may be true, but Net Applications currently counts Linux as just 1 percent of OS market share. Even if Chrome takes half the browser share on Linux, it won’t do much to increase the usage of WebKit-based browsers. That will happen on Windows, if it happens at all, but the sad thing is it could have happened with Safari.

At the launch of Safari for Windows at WWDC ’07, Steve Jobs commented that “hundreds of millions of Windows users already use iTunes, and we look forward to turning them onto Safari‚Äôs superior browsing experience, too.” It never happened. Security and performance issues blunted the initial surge of downloads, but more importantly, Apple has never devoted the resources to making Safari for Windows as good as Safari for Mac. Safari for Windows has never been close to the experience on the Mac, and its market share has never been more than a third of a percent.

Today, Chrome feels like what Safari could have been for Windows, a “fast and intuitive web browsing” experience as Jobs said at WWDC ’07. That was then, and Chrome is now — better to kill Safari for Windows and use those resources elsewhere.

24 Responses to “Chrome Passes Safari in Market Share”

  1. Guillaume

    What’s happening was predictable. A lot of such things are going that way because it’s from Google or from Apple.

    Remember the first iPhone : it was good looking, but it was far from the perfect phone it is now. And still it was a success. Because it was from Apple, users could have confidence in Apple. And it worked. Look at the iPhone now.

    Now, this is happening with Google Chrome. Whether it’s a great browser or not, whether it’s greater than Safari or not, it doesn’t matter. Google is the “king” on that place (the internet) so it’s browser will expand very quickly.

    This does not work with browsers, for Apple, because it’s full software and not about an iPhone or iPod you can hold in your hand and that you’d use daily.

    I’ve used Chrome for a few days, but I prefer the latest Safari which is very good for me : way better than Firefox which I used when I switched to Mac.

  2. The Skeptic

    Safari is a good browser – I like it on both OS X and Windows – with one exception… the lack of extensions/customisations.

    Chrome is also good, and – for the PC – has some advantages over Safari.

  3. Apple was planning to have Safari for Windows? really? I would never have guessed. Of course, Chrome for Windows has been out since September 2008. Mac users wanted to Chrome earlier? Oh well, I guess that’s what happens when you’re like 10 percent of the OS share.

  4. ArrowSmith

    Chrome does have one major issue. With certain web sites, it causes a certain nasty flicker during the rendering. I haven’t seen this with IE or Firefox. Hopefully Google fixes this.

  5. Safari is always making problems with the top sites feature.

    The one feature of Safari 4 I really, really want to like and it quite simply sucks.

    Great idea. Great feature. Now, can we make it work without bringing a loaded quad-xenon MacPro to its knees every time it is invoked? I’m sitting on four 2.6 GHz processor cores talking to 8 GB of highspeed RAM via a 64-bit OS that’s multi-threaded to hell and back, yet a thumbnail presentation can cause it to freeze video and beachball the finder for several MINUTES? Unacceptable. Chrome shows me (admittedly less dynamic) thumbnails of my most visited sites and it doesn’t even hickup.

    Chrome at work and a highly customized Firefox at home. At least until I can browse the web with Safari and still watch my videos.

  6. I took Chrome for a four day spin and finally I have decided I am sticking to Safari. I prefer the way Safari renders web pages and without a bookmarks manager it’s a tough sell. I know Google Chrome is in Beta but I remember when I started using Safari for Windows Beta it came with almost a full set of functionality. Sorry Google, I am a fan of Blogger but Chrome needs some work. Interesting the number of readers of my iCrazee Mac blog use Safari 71% and Chrome 4%. See my post on this.

    • I gave Chrome a spin and while it is nice, it doesn’t quite measure up to Safari. I see no need to switch to Chrome on any of my Macs. Chrome seems slower, and certainly is not any faster than Safari, at least on my machines. And I prefer the Safari interface, which is a little sleeker and a good bit more functional. iGoogle will remain my homepage … on Safari.

  7. Same here, Chrome seems to be faster than Safari. Safari is always making problems with the top sites feature. And I can’t see the grey status bar anymore. It’s so boring. The browser is one of the most used programs and Safari still lacks customizing the look.

    Another good thing with Chrome is the search bar. No pressing tab to get into the search window.
    Another point is the progress bar. On the bottom is a small textfield showing the status in loading a site. And where the Favicon in the Tab is, you can see the activity circle. I don’t like the Safari Loading just right in the search bar. It’s taking my attention away from the content.
    Ah, and no Favicons in the Safari Bookmarks Bar on the top either. I’m used to from Firefox and I’m missing it.

    Chrome has still problems and it’s not perfect, but it’s a good alternative.

  8. As the piece stated, Chrome is available for Linux distros as well. That is going to make its market share go up significantly. I run Chrome in Ubuntu and Windows, but I still think that Safari is better in OS X. Google isn’t exactly known for its user interfaces- know what I’m saying? Personally, I find the visual design of Chrome somewhat boring. But what I really like is the one bar at the top for searching and entering URLs. That is by far my favorite feature.

    And Safari on Windows? I kind of felt that Safari 3.x on Windows was a “meh” attempt at most. And Safari 4 was even worse. Apple really just can’t write software for Windows. But, it’s not like Microsoft does a good job of it on the OS X side either, so I call it even.

  9. I’m trying to like Chrome. But it’s not happening. I use a Mac and it’s not as fast as Safari. I can understand why Windoze users are flocking to Chrome, though; it’s clear that Apple just isn’t that in to you.

    • Depends on your hardware…
      Statistically speaking, though- Chrome is faster than Safari, and they both share the same webkit. But again, which one goes faster depends on your hardware.

      It might be different with Mac also, because I’ve used Chrome on Windows and Linux and it goes much faster than safari does on Windows and faster than other browsers on Linux. I’m sure Safari does go a lot faster on it’s native system… but IDK, I’ve never compared, to be honest.

  10. Safari on windows seems to have been looked as if it was a necessity to allow developers to develop for the mac version when access to a mac would not have been available otherwise. Most of the porting to windows of the webkit engine would have been important for iTunes to function with the same components on both platforms.