The most recent Browser Market Share numbers came out today.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer 63.62%
Opera and others - negligible
Having spent 6 years in the Web Browser / Toolbar space - it became apparent to me, that whatever company (Microsoft, Google, Firefox...) owns the browser - has won the game. The browser is after all, not only the first thing that you see when you go online, but it goes everywhere you go be it on your desktop, Mobile device, and very shortly, your TV.
Owning the browser space gives tremendous power. More and more searches being done directly from within a browsers toolbar (Think Google's entire revenue stream at stake). With the rise of Social media, it is only a matter of time before your Facebook, Twitter et al all travel with you - right in your browser (some are already there).
Today we are seeing all of these platforms (Web,Mobile,TV,etc) converge. There is a chess game developing amongst the giants to own the browser. Google, Apple,Microsoft and Firefox all recognize that not only must they own the desktop browser, but all of your browsers. The company that can provide a 'like' experience across all your digital platforms will be in the winners circle. Should you own a browser that is NOT in all of these different spaces, your toast. It's not just about having a similar UI across platforms - it's about moving all your data, experiences, likes and dislikes from one device to the next.
The *NEW* browser is on the desktop, laptop, mobile, TV and lastly, will be in the cloud as well. To the victor go the spoils...let the games begin.
You can chat me up on this further on Twitter- here.