Early indicators are Google’s (GOOG) Knol won’t be killing Wikipedia. And from the looks of things, Google’s Chrome Web browser won’t be killing Microsoft’s (MSFT) Internet Explorer or Firefox without a lot of extra help.
ComputerWorld has the latest numbers by Net Applications which show Chrome lost market share in its third week of release, to 0.77%, down from 0.85% a week ago.
So is Chrome a flop? Too soon to tell. At SAI, for instance, the percentage of our readers using Chrome has stayed steady, at 5.3% for the past week. And so far Google has done almost nothing to promote their new browser beyond making it available for download. The real test will come when — and if — Google is able to get vendors like Dell (DELL) and HP (HPQ) to pre-install Chrome (and Google Desktop, Gears, and the rest) on machines sold to the general public and to businesses. Pre-installs were how Microsoft eventually killed Netscape during the browser wars of the 90s.
On the other hand, Mozilla/Firefox has carved out about 20% of the market share with zero pre-install deals. So the slip in usage is an ominous sign for Google. People get attached to their browsers, and convincing people to switch is always a tough sell. When Firefox debuted, the software built traction by offering websurfers features that no other browser had. If the early adopters who tried Chrome are now ditching it, the market’s decided Chrome isn’t offering the game-changing features or speed it needs to deliver.
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