Losing the Browser War
Horse pucky! I repeat: Horse pucky!!!
You speak as if the vast majority of folks make a conscious decision and choose what browser to use. Shocking as it may seem to the average techno-geek Linux fan, THEY DON'T.
When Mom and Pop go down to Best Circuit to buy their PC, they get a machine pre-loaded with some version of Windoze. Not that they really have much choice. Windoze comes with IE built in, pre-installed and mostly ready to use. They take their box home, hook it up, plug it in and go surfing. What with? why IE of course. It was there and it seems to work.
Since Mom and Pop are not techno-weenies, they are not going to putz around and install another browser without a compelling reason, and, to date, none of the other browsers provide that compelling reason. It's just too hard for them (even if it is easy for us geekier types, but we are truly a tiny minority of computer buyers/users). Analogous logic applies to most corporate or business users as well.
Given the buyers and that 98+ percent of all PC's come with the Windoze set up I described, it doesn't take an intellectual giant to see why IE is winning the browser war.
To change that situation, there must be a truly compelling reason why these folks should go to the trouble and effort of obtaining, installing and configuring another browser. &quot;Free&quot; (speech or beer) doesn't count -- IE was &quot;free beer&quot; (to them) too. And, gasp!, IE 5.5 isn't really all that bad. I'm forced to use it at work (some of the time, anyway) and in most cases, it's a lot less buggy than Netscape. Standards? Something with 90+ percent of the market IS the standard, regardless of what anyone else says.
Dumbing down web sites is certainly NOT going to generate a compelling reason. Neither is rhetoric about freedom. After all, they've already paid the Microsoft Tax, Windoze is there and, for them, it works fairly well. A couple of reboots an evening? No biggie, just have to log back on to the Net.
Choice is nice, but most people don't have the understanding necessary to make a choice -- they'll simply go the path of least resistance.
So, what would be a compelling reason to switch?