When the press first caught wind of chrome they said that Microsoft was the likely target, and that Internet Explorer stood the most to lose from Google’s entry into the browser market. I however beg to differ. Internet Explorer has one advantage no other browser has: locked in marketshare in enterprise and all new copies of Windows. No one will ever fully displace Internet Explorer. No matter how shitty IE becomes, it has the advantage of already being there 90% of the time. So who should really be afraid of Chrome? Mozilla and Apple and to a much lesser extent Opera.
Firefox is the easiest target for Google to steal market share from of the bunch, and so they stand to lose the most in this browser war. I’m going to discount Opera’s share for the rest of this, as they really are only going to get their butts kicked in the mobile space as they lost the desktop wars long ago. Firefox is a self-installed piece of software, which means IT departments around the world need to willingly choose to put it into their installs, not like IE which is already there. With that in mind, it is up to firefox and firefox alone to keep their product as high quality as possible, or risk losing their existing momentum. For those of you that know me, you know I’ve been a mozilla fanboy for years, heck a part of my business is derived from Mozilla related stuff (Twitbin). But for my personal use, I’ve switched to Chrome, because its faster, more efficient, and less bloated, the exact things I started using firefox for originally.
Apple needs to fear chrome for other strategic reasons, but I suspect once apple switches everyone of the 250 Million iTunes users to iTunes Web (aka Safari), their user numbers will shift dramatically. As is there is no real compelling reason to use Safari on Windows when you have Chrome which is slightly faster, and has more flexibility.
So the one who stands to lose the biggest in this game is Firefox, as that is their core business. Even though they are open source, don’t forget that Google pays Mozilla 100+Million a year for search revenue share.