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Animation: The Rise and Fall of Popular Web Browsers Since 1994

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Animation: The Rise and Fall of Popular Web Browsers Since 1994

In its early stages, the internet was a highly technical interface that most people had difficulty navigating. But that all changed when the Mosaic web browser entered the scene in 1993.

Mosaic was one of the first “user-friendly” internet portals—although by today’s standards, the browser was actually quite difficult to access. Comparatively, modern browsers in high use today have changed exponentially.

This animated graphic by James Eagle chronicles the evolution of the web browser market, showing the rise and fall of various internet portals from January 1994 to March 2022.

The 1990s: From Mosaic to Netscape

In the early 90s, Mosaic was by far the most dominant web browser. At the time, about 97% of all internet searches were done through this popular web portal.

Web browser% Share (January 1994)
Mosaic97.0%
Other3.0%

Mosaic was the first web browser to display images directly on a page in line with text. Earlier browsers loaded pictures as separate files, which meant users have to click, download, and open a new file in order to view them.

The pioneering portal was created by a team of university undergrads at the University of Illinois, led by 21-year-old Marc Andreessen. When Andreessen graduated, he went on to be the co-founder of Mosaic Communications Corporation, which evolved into Netscape Communications Corporation, the company that created Netscape Navigator.

Netscape was essentially a new and improved version of Mosaic, but since the University of Illinois owned the rights to Mosaic, Andreessen’s new company couldn’t actually use any of the original code.

Netscape became a nearly instant success, and as a result, Mosaic’s market share began to fall. By the late 90s, Netscape had captured 89% of the web browser market.

Web browser% Share (April 1996)
Netscape88.9%
Mosaic7.2%
Internet Explorer3.9%

Netscape dominated the market for a few more years. However, in the new millennium, a new tech giant started to take over—Internet Explorer.

The 2000s: Internet Explorer Enters the Chat, Followed by Firefox

In 1995, Microsoft launched Internet Explorer as part of an add-on package for its operating system, Microsoft Windows 95.

Given the popularity of the Windows franchise at the time, Internet Explorer was quickly adopted. By the early 2000s, it had captured over 90% of the market, reflecting Microsoft’s hold on the personal computing market.

Web browser% Share (January 2000)
Internet Explorer76.6%
Netscape18.4%
Opera0.7%
Other4.3%

Netscape was mostly phased out of the market by then, which meant Internet Explorer didn’t have much competition until Mozilla entered the arena.

Founded by members of Netscape, Mozilla began in 1998 as a project for fostering innovation in the web browser market. They shared Netscape’s source code with the public, and over time built a community of programmers around the world that helped make the product even better.

By 2004, Mozilla launched Firefox, and by 2006, the free, open-source browser had captured nearly 30% of the market. Firefox and Internet Explorer battled it out for a few more years, but by the mid-2010s, both browsers started to get leapfrogged by Google Chrome.

Present Day: Google Chrome is King of the Web Browsers

When Google’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin pitched the idea of starting a Google web browser to CEO Larry Schmidt in 2003, he was worried that they couldn’t keep up with the fierce competition. Eventually, the co-founders convinced Schmidt, and in 2008, Google Chrome was released to the public.

One of Chrome’s distinguishing features was (and still is) the fact that each tab operated separately. This meant that if one tab froze, it wouldn’t stall or crash the others, at the cost of higher memory and CPU usage.

By 2013, Chrome had swallowed up half the market. And with Android emerging as the most popular mobile OS on the global market, there were even more Chrome installations (and of course, searches on Google) as a result.

Notes on Data and Methodology

It’s important to note that the dataset in this animation uses visitor log files from web development site and resource W3Schools from 1999 onwards. Despite getting more than 60 million monthly visits, its userbase is likely slanted towards PC over mobile users.

Further, though Google’s Android platform has a sizable lead over Apple’s iOS in the global mobile sector, this likely slant also impacts the representation of iOS and therefore Safari browsers in the animation and dataset.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Chart: The Price of Entertainment Subscription Services

From Netflix to Google Play Pass, we compare the cost of subscription services across a range of entertainment platforms.

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This bar chart shows the price of entertainment subscription services per month.

The Price of Entertainment Subscription Services

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Subscription models have become ubiquitous in the entertainment sector, providing a recurring stream of revenue to a host of platforms.

While inattentive customers using subscription models can increase revenue by as much as 200%, many entertainment platforms struggle to make a profit. In fact, Netflix and Disney are the only two profitable streaming services in the market.

This graphic shows the cost of entertainment subscription services, based on data compiled by Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research and the providers of entertainment subscriptions.

Comparing Monthly Entertainment Subscription Costs

Here are the monthly subscription cost of various entertainment platforms as of April 2024:

SubscriptionMonthly Price (USD)Category
Spotify$10.99Music
YouTube Music$10.99Music
Apple Music$10.99Music
Audible$15.00Books
Scribd$11.99Books
Kindle Unlimited$11.99Books
Netflix$15.49Video
Sling TV$40.00Video
Disney+$13.99Video
Hulu+$17.99Video
Paramount+$11.99Video
Apple TV+$9.99Video
HBO Max$15.99Video
Amazon Prime Video$11.98Video
YouTube Premium$13.99Video
Apple Arcade$6.99Gaming
Google Play Pass$4.99Gaming
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate$16.99Gaming
Playstation Plus Premium$17.99Gaming
Nintendo Switch Online$3.99Gaming
NY Times (Digital)$4.00/month first six months,
$25 thereafter
News
Apple News+$12.99News
Wall Street Journal Digital$19.49/month first six months,
$38.99 thereafter
News

Prices represent standard individual plans with no ads excluding promotional periods/prices less than two months. YouTube Premium Video subscription includes YouTube Music which can be purchased seperately.

As we can see, the price of major music subscription services remains lower than many other forms of entertainment—with standard subscriptions costing 35% lower than Netflix in America.

Since late 2022, several music streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple, and YouTube, have increased their subscription price, marking the first increase in more than 10 years. In June, Spotify raised its price again, charging $11.99 per month for an individual plan.

Across video platforms, Amazon Prime Video makes up the largest share of the U.S. video-on-demand market, at 22% as of Q1 2024. Netflix falls closely behind, with a 21% share. Over the last two years, Netflix’s revenue has jumped following a password-sharing crackdown, integrating ads, and slowing content expenditures.

Often, streaming services add content to replace lost customers. This is because viewers will switch to providers that offer the shows they want to watch. Due to this churn, streaming providers lose on average 35% of their customers each year. To combat this, some providers are bundling content offerings to retain their customer base, such as Disney+, Hulu, and Max or Paramount+ and Showtime.

As an outlier from the pack, Sling TV offers live TV and sports broadcasting along with on-demand movies and shows, charging $40 per month.

When it comes to news subscriptions, major outlets charge among the highest in the dataset. With a monthly subscription price of $25 after the first six months, The New York Times has 9.7 million digital-only subscribers, roughly three times as many as The Wall Street Journal. These subscriptions are the biggest source of revenue for the publication, rising by more than eightfold over the last decade.

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