Competition is great because consumers benefit from it. This is true for any product, including browsers. New versions of all the major browsers are out and this inevitably fuels the browser war.

The first browser war I remember was between Internet Explorer and Netscape back in the 1990s, when Microsoft included Internet Explorer in its Windows operating system for free. This caused a lot of turmoil because it felt like a breach of competition laws and pressed Netscape to the wall. The result was that Netscape stopped selling its browser and started giving it out for free. Definitely, users only benefited from this.

However, browser wars didn't end then. Actually, browser wars have been on since then, and until now we have witnessed several seasons of the drama. Now, the new episode is already on: Internet Explorer 9 is out, Firefox 4.07 is out, Chrome 8 is also available, Safari has recently released a new version and the alpha of Opera 11 is also available to the public. On top of this, there is a hot newcomer to the ring -- the RockMelt (news, site) browser.

The shares of the browsers according to StatCounter are very uneven but the graph shows IE losing share and Chrome rapidly gaining popularity. These facts promise an interesting fight among the browsers.

RockMelt Enters the Stage

The browser market (of free products!) might seem cluttered but RockMelt decided to enter it. Is there a place for one more browser? RockMelt isn't just an ordinary browser -- it is a social browser and probably this is its main advantage. Anyway, we need to keep an eye on it and see how the newcomer makes it.

Browser Wars Have Gone Mobile

In the last couple of years, a new battleground for browser wars emerged -- mobile phones. Mobile phones have become pretty powerful and now using a Web browser on them isn't a challenging experience. This is a whole new area for competition and the majors are advancing fiercely.

Almost all major mobile platforms enjoy multiple browsers, though still there are gaps to fill. Most devices have a native Internet browser but usually other browsers have versions for these platforms as well. For instance, Firefox recently released the second beta for Android or Maemo devices, and this gives Android users more choice.

The mobile battlefield is still far from mature, so it is a safe bet that the next version of the browser wars will be there. Users will only benefit from this because they will be able to run the device of their choice with the browser they prefer, not with the browser that is available.