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Webkit Use by Google Chrome, Apple Safari Could be Next IE6

As we are moving past IE6, the co-chairman of the W3C CSS Working Group, Daniel Glazman, is warning web designers that a similar pain in the neck is growing. Websites that are built entirely with Webkit browsers in mind are threatening to turn Webkit browsers into a "de facto standard" and create another monopoly.

According to StatCounter, Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari owned about 34 percent of the browser market in January. In February, that share will be climbing to nearly 36 percent and closely match the market share of IE. More significantly, Chrome 16 alone has accounted for more 26 percent of the HTML5 browser market this month and almost 30 percent if we include Safari 5.1, far ahead of IE9 with about 12 percent and Firefox 9 & 10 with a combined 16 percent. IE8 still has about 20 percent of the market, but does not support HTML5.

"Without your help, without a strong reaction, this can lead to one thing only and we're dangerously not far from there: other browsers will start supporting/implementing themselves the -webkit-* prefix, turning one single implementation into a new world-wide standard," Glazman wrote. "It will kill our standardization process. That's not a question of if, that's a question of when."

In a call to action, Glazman is asking web designers to stop designing websites for Webkit only, "in particular when adding support for other browsers is only a matter of adding a few extra prefixed CSS properties." He directly addressed Apple and Google to prevent Webkit from taking over the browser world and requested the submission of "complete technical proposals for the proprietary CSS-like properties" in Chrome and Safari to support the open web.