The so-called browser war over which software would be used to navigate the World
Wide Web has been declared over by Zona Research, a market research firm that has
been conducting browser studies since January of 1996.
In its final browser study of 236 respondents, Zona found that Microsoft’s Internet
Explorer was the primary browser choice for 64 percent of the respondents, while 36
percent indicated Netscape Navigator. In the first browser study in January of 1996, Zona found there were nine players on the browser frontier battling for a slice of a $200 million market. Now there are two players for $0 market.
“The battle for the hearts and minds of the browser market coalesced around two
dominant vendors,” said Clay Rider, vice president and chief analyst of Zona
Research. “In striking similarity to the cola wars of the 1980s, shelves that primarily
were filled with a preponderance of competing brands have all but given way to the
reality of a Coke and Pepsi dominated marketplace. Likewise, brands such as
Quarterdeck Mosaic, Wollongong Emissary, and NCD Mariner, have fallen by the
wayside in a market controlled by Microsoft (MSFT) and Netscape.”
The success of Internet Explorer and Navigator are reflected in the growing number of
companies with browser policies. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of companies
have a corporate browser policy, up from 69 percent in April 1999. Of the companies
with a browser policy, 69 percent dictate the use of IE, while 31 percent require the use
of Navigator. According to Zona, no other browser has been named as part of a
corporate browser policy.
“We are witnessing a shift away from the importance of the browser technology to the
content on the Internet,” Ryder said. “It is not surprising that the two dominant browser
vendors now play a significant role in the burgeoning content marketplace. The question
is how will the content war play itself out?”
The latest browser study also found that 36 percent of companies monitor Internet
content based on a list of approved sites. Twenty-three percent monitor based on the
user’s job function, 19 percent monitor based on the size of the transmission, and 14
percent monitor Internet content based on the time of day. Monitoring based on a list of
approved sites and the user’s job function increased slightly from the last browser study
from 33 percent and 20 percent, respectively.