Who am I to question the great Walt Mossberg? But when he says Internet Explorer is the World’s most popular browser I have to wonder…
Here’s a definition of popularity from Wikipedia:
Popularity is the quality of being well-liked or common.
Looks like Mossberg is right if we focus on common. Internet Explorer is no doubt the most commonly used browser. But is it well-liked?
Most users don’t actively chose it: it’s the default browser on most computers sold, and in corporate environments employees are often not even allowed to install another browser. Just like the Windows story:
When grandma walks into Wal-Mart to pick up a computer it will most likely be Windows- based, and despite the growing popularity of either Apple’s OSX or Linus we know Windows is still the corporate standard.
So yes, Windows and IE are dominant due to Microsoft’s near-monopoly, but it’s a long shot to call them the most popular choices.