Over the last decade and a half, the word "browser" has gone from meaning an indecisive shopper at the mall to the primary means of acquiring information found on the internet.
The really short browser history includes the early days of Mosaic and Netscape followed by Microsoft licensing Mosaic and developing Internet Explorer into the dominant browser for several years. The IE development team faltered on adding security protections and new features and found itself a competitor in Mozilla's Firefox which has Netscape roots. Soon thereafter, the Opera browser, Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari made inroads into the browser market share as well.
In 2012, each of the current browser choices offer different user experiences, performances, and privacy protections.
However, they all offer the same price: free.
Which browser should be in place at your small business? If security is your primary concern, the conventional wisdom since Internet Explorer 6 has been anything but IE. For quite some time, that meant you couldn't go wrong with Firefox - and that's still good advice depending on the version of Firefox. However, Microsoft got the message about browser security and actually offers more privacy options than any other major browser.
What can we take from all of this? Competition matters.
It matters so much that Microsoft actually kicked off a recent advertising campaign to promote Internet Explorer 9 in the face of declining market share.
We will continue to benefit as competition provides new browsers to be used in new ways on new devices over new media.