IE has just barely managed to hold on to its lead as the top browser in the world in 2012, but it won't be able to do the same in 2013, not unless there's a huge and unlikely shift in trends.
IE was responsible for 33.23 percent of traffic seen by the millions of sites monitored by StatCounter, while Chrome for just 32.78 percent.
It's not enough to allow Chrome to steal the title, but it's close enough for it to not matter. The fact is, in just four years, Chrome became the most popular browser in the world, this at a time when the browser competition is the strongest.
As for the year to come, Chrome, based on data from the first few days of the year, is already at 36.16 percent market share, while IE at 30.77 percent. That's hardly representative, but it continues the trend from last month.
Considering that Chrome went from 21.08 percent market share in 2011 to 32.78 percent last year and that growth has been pretty linear so far, you can expect Chrome to end the year with around 42 percent market share for the full 2013. Though, at this point, it's unlikely that Chrome will continue to grow as fast as it has so far.
Looking at the monthly data and following the same extrapolation, Chrome could end up with 46 to 47 percent market share in December 2013, roughly half the market, numbers only seen by IE several years back.
But all of this may be moot, these are desktop stats and, chances are, by the end of the year people, in the developed world anyway, will spend more time browsing from their phones or tablets than from their computers.
2013 may be the last year where desktop dominance matters. As people switch to mobile devices, the picture there is different and a lot more complicated.