Crowning Two Champions In Windows 7 And OS X
Web Browser Grand Prix Champion, The Windows Circuit
Although Firefox demonstrates the least number of wins (one less than IE9, Opera, and Safari, and two less than Chrome), it achieves the highest number of strong scores and only turns in one weak performance. Firefox 9 solidifies Mozilla's Web Browser Grand Prix championship, which was precariously handed out to Firefox 7 last September. Congratulations Mozilla! It's good to see that this browser war veteran still has some fight left in it.
Chrome 16 is still just a minor performance update away from matching or perhaps even surpassing Firefox 9 though, and the recent improvements to Firefox seem to have absolutely no effect on Google's march to the top of Web browser market share.
Opera is still hanging onto a strong third-place position with version 11.60, especially considering it still lacks HTML5 hardware acceleration and WebGL support. But Opera 12 is on the way, and it promises to seriously shake things up, just like the last two whole-number releases out of Norway.
Microsoft Internet Explorer has been stagnating for several months, and it's really starting to show. Last year, IE9 won two consecutive Web Browser Grand Prix championships and stayed near the top of the pack for some time afterward. The browser now resides at the bottom of the heap, tied for last place Apple's offering in Windows 7.
While the Windows version of Safari moved forward since our last look, the progress isn't enough to move the browser out of last place. In Windows 7, that is...
Web Browser Grand Prix Champion, The Mac OS X Circuit
Despite the best efforts of Google, Mozilla, and Opera, Apple Safari retains its OS X Web Browser Grand Prix crown. With a staggering number of wins and an equally impressive lack of weaknesses, Safari 5.1.2 simply owns on its native platform.
The OS X runner-up, on the other hand, is highly debatable. We're going call it in favor of incumbent number two, Google Chrome. Firefox 9 really pulled ahead from the last-place finish it received back in August, though.
Unfortunately, the Mac version of Opera is a mere shadow of its Windows version, landing the Norwegian powerhouse in last place.
Operating System Comparison
The red bars that occasionally appear in our charts denote when an OS X-based browser beats all of the Windows 7-based competition. We use the word occasionally because we only had to switch the Mac OS X green bars to red four times. That's four out of 35 eligible charts, as opposed to the 10 out of 29 OS X earned on the Hackintosh system we used in Web Browser Grand Prix VI: Firefox 6, Chrome 13, Mac OS X Lion. While many Mac fans expected to see OS X really hammer Windows 7 on a genuine Mac, the home court advantage didn't do Apple any favors.
So, Redmond wins yet another Mac versus PC Web Browser Grand Prix, this time on a mobile system (and a brand new Core i7-based MacBook, to boot). Ouch.
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