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Nobody ever got fired for downloading Chrome. Hmm

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Prepare yourself. It's a new month, and that can only mean a tsunami of articles on the popularity of Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox will flood the globe's news aggregators.

For non-mobile computers, March followed the trend emerging over the past 12 months: growth for Chrome, a drop in use of IE and Firefox stuck in a rut. Opera isn't doing great, either.

Microsoft has long fretted and sweated the significance of its web browser: it crushed Netscape back in the day, and welded IE to the Windows operating system, to achieve near total domination of the market in the 1990s.

Since that high-water mark, though, IE's slice of the pie has done nothing but shrink month after month.

But that's not the end of the world to Redmond: IE's still got businesses locked down, right? That's the place where companies run Windows and corporate apps run in Internet Explorer, even versions as old as IE6.

Not for much longer. Google's Chrome is also breaking IE's stranglehold on workplace browsing, and the web advertising giant is touting its browser to businesses using Google Apps.

Startup Browsium helps shift businesses from legacy browsers to newer ones; its Catalyst package allows employees to use tried-and-tested web apps hardwired for IE6 and more recent builds of IE alongside its rivals - allowing workers to use modern web features without losing access to software critical to the business.

Browsium said every discussion it's had in the last six months with its customers has been about using Catalyst with Chrome in addition to IE. Not one discussion involved Firefox. The small biz, run by ex-Microsoft bods, told The Reg no one it has spoken to has made Chrome the primary office web browser - that honour still rests with IE - but plenty are rolling out two browser brands on corporate desktops.

Some Catalyst customers, for instance, are now running Internet Explorer 6 and Chrome - using the former for internal apps and the latter to go beyond the outer firewall.

It's happening so much that Browsium is now working closely with Google, we're told. As a startup with a Windows heritage, the small company initially concentrated its resources on businesses stuck with insecure and out-dated versions of Microsoft's browser. It takes a lot for a startup to divide its efforts.

Where Internet Explorer 6 staggers on, Windows XP gropes through the darkness not far behind

IE6 is glued to Windows XP; it won't work on more recent versions of Microsoft's desktop operating system - and after 8 April, 2014 Microsoft won't provide any more support for XP. Yet, a hard core of customers still don't know what's coming, and are unprepared for the platform change or the rewriting of corporate software that'll accompany it.

Companies could use the upheaval to seize Chrome and Google's suite of services: Gmail, in-browser apps and online storage space on Google Drive. British broadcaster ITV is one such new user. Google tells its clients to ditch IE and go Chrome. And the web advertising behemoth is forcing the pace: since the arrival of IE 10, Google Apps no longer supports IE 8.

"They've decided getting Chrome adopted in the enterprise is very important to Google," Browsium president and chief operating officer Gary Schare told The Reg. "They are telling enterprise customers: we want you to run Google apps, but we want you do it in Chrome."

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