According to computer world Mozilla’s Firefox is in danger of becoming irrelevant as more browsing originates on smartphones and tablets, statistics from a Web measurement vendor show.
During April, about one in every six people who went online surfed the Web using a mobile browser, according to Net Applications. Mobile browsing’s climb of more than 5 percentage points in the last 12 months represented a growth rate of 48%.
Most of the rest of those who went online in April did so armed with a desktop browser installed on a personal computer.
Hot on Mozilla’s heels in April was Apple, whose combined desktop and mobile browser user share reached 13.1%. Almost two-thirds of that was credited to Safari on iOS, the mobile operating system that powers iPhones and iPads. While Safari on iOS continued to shed share last month — it’s long been under attack from the glut of Android-powered devices used around the world — the increase in mobile browsing’s popularity was enough to actually boost its combined user share from September 2013, the last time Computerworld visited the topic.
But Google has become the clear winner in the mobile browsing sweepstakes. Its old-stock Android browser has held steady while Chrome has grown by leaps and bounds as new devices come online armed with the browser, which is available for download from Google Play. In the last 12 months, Chrome’s user share of mobile has soared 447%.
If the current trends traced by Net Applications continue, Mozilla will fall to the No. 4 overall spot in about four months, passed by Apple. That’s neither good news nor good timing for Mozilla, which generates nearly all of its revenue from a contract with Google for making the latter’s search engine the default on Firefox. That contract, last negotiated in 2011, comes up for renewal in November.
Net Applications measures browser usage on smartphones, tablets and personal computers by tabulating approximately 160 million unique visitors each month who browse to the sites it monitors for customers.