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History of Web Browser Engines from 1990 until today

Many tried, few remain...

Last updated: January 2023

The loss of browser diversity since the rise of Chromium has been greatly lamented. Below you can find a graph that shows the historical and present browser engines (not browsers, but the HTML rendering engines), as well as from when to when they were developed. For the bigger engines, the market share is indicated by a coloured shape (see legend).

We're now well into the "fourth era of dominance". NCSA Mosaic dominated at the beginning (first dominance), but it was dethroned by Netscape which briefly held the majority of the market share (second dominance), both of which then were overtaken by Internet Explorer (originally using the engine from Spyglass Mosaic, and later Trident) (third dominance), which then was weakened first by Firefox (Gecko engine) but finally dethroned by Chromium (Blink engine) (fourth dominance). In terms of active and relevant engines there's now only Blink (Chrome, Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, Samsung Internet, UC Browser and many more), WebKit (Safari and all iOS browsers), and Gecko (Firefox and its forks).

But see for yourself:

List of Browser Engines and their historical market shares

Click here to open the picture in a new tab

Today's surviving engines can be divided into three groups:

1. Active engines, including experimental ones

2. Zombie engines

3. Text browsers

4. Embedded rendering

Question Marks

Some questions remain and if anyone can help with information this will be greatly appreciated.

For reference (e.g. if the picture doesn't display), the engines included above are: