If nothing else, the continuing battle between Microsoft and Google is a never-ending source of entertainment and merriment for those paid to watch the two companies. And Google’s latest salvo seems aimed at a particularly sensitive spot for Microsoft: the Internet Explorer browser.
Google’s new Legacy Browser Support, one of two new features for its Chrome for Business platform, is designed “for companies that want to use Chrome but rely on custom web applications built for older browsers,” in the words of an April 16 posting on the Official Google Enterprise Blog. That means employees using Chrome will be switched to a legacy browser whenever they use one of those applications, with IT administrators determining which Websites should rely on which browser.
“While Chrome Frame helps developers build apps for older browsers, Legacy Browser Support lets IT admins of organizations embrace the modern web,” the posting added.
Translation: We at Google realize that many businesses continue to use some iteration of Internet Explorer, and we’re determined to eat away at that market-share by ensuring that all employees can use Chrome, no matter which apps they need to do their jobs.
According to analytics Website StatCounter, Internet Explorer owns 46.25 percent of the U.S. browser market, followed by Chrome at 25.26 percent, Firefox at 14.76 percent, and Safari at 11.8 percent. Worldwide, Chrome does much better, racking up a 38.14 percent market share against Internet Explorer’s 30.98 percent, followed by Firefox with 19.88 percent and Safari with 7.95 percent.
Google is also introducing cloud-based management of Chrome for Google Apps for Business and Education users. “Now, whether employees are working from the company’s desktop or their personal laptop, they will be able to access default applications, custom themes, or a curated app web store when they sign-in to Chrome with their work account,” read Google’s blog posting. IT administrators will have the ability to customize Chrome policies and preferences for employees via the Google Admin panel.
But it’s Legacy Browser Support that’s the important aspect here. With more and more companies offering tools and dashboards via the cloud, employees’ choice of browser is arguably more important than ever. If Google can chip away at Internet Explorer’s market-share, it could help undermine Microsoft’s case to businesses—weakening the latter at a time when its position in the consumer realm is particularly shaky.