This story of technology revenge dates back the dot.com days and the Microsoft versus Google browser wars. Netscape lost the first browser war from 1995 to 2001. Netscape began with about 80% market share and a good deal of public goodwill. Microsoft uses its monopoly advantage with operating systems to crush Netscape.
Google created the Chrome browser and the scrappy newcomer passed Microsoft IE in 2012 to become the top browser. However, they each had about thirty some percent share.
In 2018, Chrome has 62% and Microsoft is in sixth place with 2.8%.
Microsoft knows developers have limited resources and cannot support all competing tools. They have used monopoly power in other areas and through technology history in the PC and Internet eras to kill competitors. Developers go for a 90+% solution. Microsoft IE fell below the developer support level.
No one tests for Microsoft IE/Edge compatibility. Microsoft has been hoist with their own petard. This proverb from Hamlet means the bomb-maker is blown up with his own bomb. It is an ironic reversal or poetic justice.
Microsoft got hit by someone else’s monopoly power.
Microsoft Edge browser was integrated into the operating system. This was an advantage in the old days but not now. Microsoft was being held back by all the changes and fixes they had to make. They had to adapt to the market and websites because they were supporting Chrome and Safari and not Edge. Microsoft recognized market reality and surrendered to Chrome dominance. Microsoft had to be efficient to maintain enterprise customer happiness. Corporate customers wanted Chrome. Development updates were too hard for Microsoft keeping Edge and too hard for developers and for corporate customers.
Apple Safari is at 15%
Apple Safari is at 15% global market share now. They are stronger in the US at 32%. Chrome continues to advance in market share and they will pick up Microsofts 2.8% globally and 5% in the US. Chrome will be at global 65% share at the end of this year and at 53% share in the US. Chrome is picking up about 2% per year. The dynamics of developer and website effort to support multiple browsers will hit a critical level.
Firefox has 5% market share in the USA but they are totally dependent upon Google ads for revenue. Firefox browser lives at the mercy of Google.
Also, Chrome is tied into App development. Apple iTunes and App support takes more effort. Apple does not make it easy for developers.
Apple has a lot of money and is super profitable but this is because of their massive brand and luxury high margin pricing. Apple’s market shares are still not great. They are not making as many developer and content creators rich. Apple has to be careful that their small premium volumes and market share do not fall below critical levels.
Developers are concerned with what makes them money. Apple has to maintain a profitable ecosystem where developers and partners make money. Losing critical partners, developers and content can tip over into a downward spiral. Especially if there are any missteps in the overall business and strategies.
Despite Apple’s size having relatively narrow markets has risks.