When Chrome was first launched by Google, and the media found out about it, they proposed that Google had Microsoft firmly in it’s sights and was potentially about to start a new browser war, i beg to differ in my opinion on this. Internet Explorer has one major advantage that no other browser has, and for the near future at least, will continue to have: locked in marketshare in enterprise and all new copies of Windows. Internet Explorer will never be crushed. No matter how crap Internet Explorer becomes, it has the (some may say unfair, but i believe that’s life) advantage of already being installed 90% of the time. So who should really be afraid of Chrome spreading its wings? Apple and Mozilla and if you still care: Opera.
Firefox is the easiest part of the market for Google to target and steal market share from, and so they stand to lose the most in this new browser war. I’m not going to really mention Opera here as they really lost the browser wars long ago and don't really have anything to lose unless your talking in the mobile space.
Firefox is a user-installed piece of kit, which means IT departments around the world need to actually choose to put it into their installs, unlike Internet Explorer which is already there. Add to this the fact that most IT departments have a lot more to worry about than giving their users another browser, and you’ll see this is a pretty uncommon occurance in the corporate world.
With that in mind, it is up to FireFox on it’s own to keep their product on the “must-have” list of software, or risk losing their underdog momentum. I must state at this point that i am very much a FireFox supporter, and have been for years. But the problem is the fact that the very reason i switched to FireFox – speed, stability and security, and add-ons – are the very reasons that people are now switching to Chrome, leading to a whole new generation of people looking to switch, potentially making the decision to go to Chome instead of FireFox.
Apple of the other hand needs to fear chrome for other reasons, most strategic, although there are potential ways for them to lock more people into Safari, and one of these is iTunes – knowing Apple this is a likely move and should be expected, should they start to feel any threat from Chrome. As Safari, like most other Apple software on Windows (iTunes anyone???), gives users no real reason to switch, Chrome should have no problem in crushing that part of the market with minimum fuss.
So in the end the company that really stands to lose the most from Chrome’s very existence is, in reality, FireFox. Seeing the browser is what holds Mozilla’s major market share, this may have bigger ramifications on the choices we are given for browsers in the future than we may think. The fact that Google pays FireFox a revenue share of all the searches from their browser allows you to see that FireFox’s future may rely heavily on how Google behaves as it starts to make waves in this market.