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Browser battle: Chrome vs. Firefox vs. IE vs. Opera

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After a long, quiet period of Microsoft dominance, the PC browser market has been broken wide-open again in recent years, with Firefox and Chrome challenging Internet Explorer, and Opera sniffing at the margins.

Earlier this year, in fact, Chrome overtook Internet Explorer in one major measurement of browser market share, in what was hailed as a watershed moment for the new browser wars.

However, for a number of reasons, it's difficult to say who's on top in this four-way scrap. For one thing, different methods of measuring market share often provide very different numbers - while data from shows IE in front with 54% of the market for October 2012, StatCounter gives a slight edge to Chrome, about 35% to 32%. W3Schools' information paints another picture again, showing a big lead for Chrome (44%) over about 32% for Firefox and just 16% for IE.

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