Report: IE market share slips below 60%

Internet Explorer’s popularity is continuing to dwindle, even with Firefox’s usage share largely sitting steady. So suggest the folks at ConceivablyTech, who compiled NetApplications figures for the month of April and compared them with data for previous months, all the way back to January 2009.

Internet Explorer snagged a usage share of 59.95% in April, down 0.69 points from March. That’s reportedly the first time Microsoft’s browser has sunk below 60% in the past decade. The same month, Firefox climbed only 0.07 points in popularity to 24.59%, Safari went up 0.06 points to 4.7%, and Opera actually declined by about the same amount, reaching 2.30%. Google’s Chrome web browser, meanwhile, rose by 0.6 points to 6.73%.

You don’t need a math degree to figure out why IE’s share has continued to shrink these past few months. As ConceivablyTech points out, NetApplications data show Chrome had a usage share of only 1.79% back in April of 2009. The five or so points it’s snagged seem to have come largely from IE users, not alternative browser aficionados.

Chrome’s success might not seem entirely surprising in light of Google’s advertising efforts. The company doesn’t just pimp Chrome on its search engine; YouTube, too, invites users to try "a new web browser," and ads all over the web—sometimes on major sites like CNN.com—also trumpet Chrome’s merits. Even non-tech-savvy users are bound to succumb to temptation and click those links, and it looks like they’re in no hurry to switch back to IE.

Comments closed
    • burntham77
    • 12 years ago

    Yeah, wild stuff.

    • conlusio
    • 12 years ago

    Or you’re in an environment that is required to be certified to handle classified or sensitive information (read – the government, health care, certain portions of the financial industry) and the certification process is incredibly long, painful and expensive. In which case you’re going to see standardization on platforms for a long period of time. The fact that IE jumped from 7 to 8 and 9 in such a short period (relative to the length of a certification test) hasn’t helped the migration. And open source projects like Mozilla aren’t as ‘accountable’ as something that’s developed by a corporation. You’re far more likely to see Chrome replace IE than Firefox for that reason alone.

    And in most of those environments that require that level of certification installing an unapproved product is one of the fastest ways to find yourself frogmarched to the security office for a long involved debriefing before you’re escorted to the front gate with a reciept for all of your office belongings that will be released to you ‘when they are available’.

    Hell the government alone could account for a large portion of that 17% on IE6.

    • srilumpa
    • 12 years ago

    I bet the billboard ads I occasionally see in town (I live in the UK) help spreading awareness of it too.

    • My Johnson
    • 12 years ago

    You get to plug in a USB stick?

    Scary. I bet you check external e-mail accounts too.

    • insulin_junkie72
    • 12 years ago

    Perhaps it depends on usage patterns (I have few add-ons installed, and rarely have more than 5 tabs open), but my experiences on Win7 64 are the complete opposite.

    Firefox feels far more slow and bloated compared to Chrome and IE.

    I’ve finally dumped Firefox as my everyday browser, and I had been using it as such since the early, early Phoenix/Firebird days. For me, it’s getting worse rather than better, and there’s better alternatives.

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 12 years ago

    Firefox just loads pages waaaay faster for me than any of the other browsers, I’ve tried them all. That’s why I’m sticking with FF. Excellence need not require perfection.

    It’s always been very stable for me and I really like the way I have it customized. IE was never as reliable and still isn’t.

    • Trymor
    • 12 years ago

    Just goes to show that the public is getting smarter. I still have a ton of people that have no idea what a web browser is, but obviously there are now plenty of people out there who do.

    Try

    • BenBasson
    • 12 years ago

    Mozilla make no secret of the fact that they get a ton of money from Google for the default homepage and search engine placement. Their motives might be ideological, but they make business sense too.

    Clearly, Google want people to keep using their search engine and other products, so their motives are obvious.

    Microsoft want people to use their shitty services, so defaults matter here as well.

    • axeman
    • 12 years ago

    But IE makes up for it with so many extra features, that, do, uh, nothing interesting. *cough* webslice.

    • axeman
    • 12 years ago

    Yes, it is the bane of some around here who think they can control everything. 🙂

    • geekl33tgamer
    • 12 years ago

    Everyone forgot about Safari (It’s market share is a little pathetic!)…

    I’m using it as default for the time being. It appears to render sites accurately (better than IE8) and quickly. The thing that I really like tho is the 3D Top Sites window you get – Would be good if this was in FF or something.

    I don’t rate Chrome all that highly tho (sorry), but like the way the next release of FF is going visually. Fingers crossed, but for now Safari does me…

    Edit: Safari still has inline auto-complete too. A feature MS decided was no longer useful in IE8. I actually find it pretty handy.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 12 years ago

    It is just politics… It takes 6 months of meetings to get anything started.

    • Vrock
    • 12 years ago

    My IT department has better things to do than worry about me running a third party browser from a USB stick on my work laptop during my personal time.

    • djgandy
    • 12 years ago

    Your IT dept are really going to find out if they are the kind of idiots running IE6.

    • BlackStar
    • 12 years ago

    Yeah, because subverting IT policy is *such* a bright idea.

    • albundy
    • 12 years ago

    yeah, isnt activeX great?

    • SNM
    • 12 years ago

    And doesn’t Chrome install and run with just standard user permissions? It goes in your own personal directory for a reason…

    • Vrock
    • 12 years ago

    Mobile Firefox works.

    • battleRabbit
    • 12 years ago

    Things look normal to me.

    • RickyTick
    • 12 years ago

    No, that’s not what I was implying at all. I’m saying you can’t blame the browser for the viruses and hackers. The blame falls solely on the turds writting the virus code and such. That’s all.

    • SNM
    • 12 years ago

    Everything looks right to me…

    • internetsandman
    • 12 years ago

    I’m not sure what you’re reffering to, but I have colored boxes around the comments, and the colored backgrounds, nothing seems to be wrong for me, and I know cause I was using Safari and Firefox previously, and nothing seems to have changed since I switched to chrome, ‘cept that everything is faster =P

    • BlackStar
    • 12 years ago

    You don’t get to choose your browser in corporate environments.

    Sucks, but IE6 is still at ~17% because of this.

    • pogsnet
    • 12 years ago
    • MadManOriginal
    • 12 years ago

    So, special web programming needed for Chrome?!? Cracks me up…

    • AlvinTheNerd
    • 12 years ago

    Ok, now that Chrome’s share is decent, can the techreport team work on making the comments in Chrome look the same? Now I only get one colored background, not the darker boxes around the comments, and it makes looking through comments horrible.

    Thanks!

    • Da_Boss
    • 12 years ago

    To be honest, all browsers are relatively lacking in security features, compared to the OSs they reside on. However, plugins like Flash are usually the weakspot as far as vulnerabilities go.

    That being said, IE6 is still pretty much trash.

    • DaveJB
    • 12 years ago

    IE 7 as well. Most of the changes in that version were to the front-end; it still had about 90% of the security flaws that IE 6 did.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    More importantly, IE6 is continuing to drop and has now been outright overtaken by IE8 on every major stat site. I never thought I’d see this. :0

    For years, I have hoped and prayed for a day when IE6 compatability is no longer a necessary consideration in web design, and we may finally see that this year.

    It’s possible that the “browser wars” are finally having an impact on the business side of things. Our company is supposed to switch to IE8 in a few months, even though they make no point of keeping up with the times. We recently moved to a browser-based database and everyone complains about it being slow. There’s such a stark difference between the internets on work computers and peoples’ own computers that even people who aren’t tecnologically inclined notice something is off now.

    • RickyTick
    • 12 years ago

    That’s like blaming a lake for someone drowning in it.

    • BlackStar
    • 12 years ago

    They do. Scary, isn’t it?

    The beast that wouldn’t die!

    • codedivine
    • 12 years ago

    Well, Google wants web browsers to mature to a point where their performance and features enable them to push out more complex web apps that work on multiple platforms with richer UIs without writing a Windows desktop app. Chrome’s number one goal therefore is to be fast and to accelerate the deployment of HTML5 and things like WebGL.

    • jdaven
    • 12 years ago

    This is just one source for web browser usage statistics. Other sources had IE below 60% a long time ago.

    §[<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers<]§ The current running average of all sources together buts IE at 54%.

    • Shining Arcanine
    • 12 years ago

    Actually, people running Internet Explorer 6 could still be updating. I believe that Microsoft still releases patches for it.

    • BlackStar
    • 12 years ago

    A cynic’s view but true nonetheless. Google wants the web as a platform, because they are confident of their competitive advantage there.

    They don’t give a flying crap about Chrome. They want the money that will come once other browsers reach feature parity with Chrome.

    • BlackStar
    • 12 years ago

    It’s more than that actually. Free browsers do make money through search engine deals (e.g. Firefox had $70M revenue last year and Opera is hugely profitable despite the 2% marketshare).

    It’s also about control and politics: Microsoft has undoubtedly controlled the desktop for more than a decade and many would like to see that change. Including Google: Google wishes to turn the web into the dominant application platform and the only way to do that is to ensure all browsers implement a roughly similar set of functionality (crystallized into web standards).

    They don’t really wish to enter the OS business and I don’t fault them: between Windows, OS X and Linux that space is saturated. So they leave those intact and create a new platform that works reliably no everywhere – and for that they need a catalyst to overcome the inertia of IE and the like: Chrome.

    Microsoft, seeing their usage share shrinking rapidly, will have no choice but to cooperate – as they do! IE9 implements parts CSS3, HTML5, GPU acceleration (don’t know about WebGL). Opera 10.5x eliminated the gap in Javascript performance (and also brought parts CSS3, HTML5). Firefox n+1 is bringing GPU acceleration, WebGL and parts of CSS3 and HTML5.

    Which is alright by Google: they are only interested in the platform(*), not the actual implementation(**). Once the usage numbers stabilize, the building blocks will be in place for them to deliver their applications, regardless of operating systems and devices. And then they’ll be at their home turf where they are confident they can dominate.

    (*) Adobe has actually managed to achieved that dominance but they are a traditional desktop software vendor that didn’t manage to see what this meant until it (almost surely) became too late: had they openend up flash (either as source or as a real standard) they would have been immensely more popular and more profitable in the long term. However, they thought the platform was all that mattered and the bell is tolling for them now.

    It is *not* the platform that matters: it is what you can do with it. Flash remained in the domain of (annoying) ads, (annoying) video players, (annoying) web sites and (mostly crappy) games. They won’t be missed.

    (**) Imagine how much easier it would be for Google to distribute Google Earth as a WebGL app instead of producing installers and testing on each and every platform and graphics card. If browsers actually adhere to web standards, this is what will happen (and sooner rather than later).

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    There is a lot more to it than that. Google does not give a flying carp on a stick if you really use Chrome or not. What they want is for you to use a browser that was manipulated into complying with what they want the internets to be.

    The “browser wars” that they have going all over again, where everyone is trying to beat everyone else in the seemingly most inane things, guarantees that Google will be able to push HTML5 things like Wave that no one else is really going to be prepared to compete with.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    “I am honestly not sure what Firefox’s motivation is now since MS is no longer hugely dominant”

    They aren’t doing jack crap to change anything on the business side of things. That’s where someone really needs to tear the walls down now.

    • BlackStar
    • 12 years ago

    That’s the most likely outcome. 3 or 4 browsers sharing roughly equal usage numbers (+/- 10% or so) and the rest remaining where they are now.

    If that happens, Google will have won the war: there won’t be a clear leader to set the terms, as Microsoft/IE did for nearly a decade, and all browsers will be forced to implement a common baseline of functionality or face obsolescence. IE won’t be able to say, for instance, “I won’t implement WebGL, suck it” or “yeah, sorry, you’ll have to use WebD3D instead.” They’ll have to implement the same standards as everyone else, furthering the reach of Google applications in the process!

    Google is well aware that it’s impossible to attack Microsoft’s platform dominance directly (where platform = Windows/Office/Visual Studio), so they settle for the next best thing: create a new platform that will make old platforms irrelevant (where new platform = web standards).

    • MadManOriginal
    • 12 years ago

    Back in the days of IE versus Netscape I imagine MS was scared pooless that someone else would define the way the web worked for end-users and that would translate in to the business world too which is the most important for them. Perhaps this is why MS went ahead and did all the proprietary or non-standard stuff once it crushed netscape – to keep others from defining the web.

    Now with Firefox I’m not so sure. Backlash against MS non-standardness I guess? (I stab at thee etc.) Firefox wasn’t ever perfect, especially long ago, contrary to proponents’ views. Memory hogging leak issues and crashes, of course IE6 wasn’t necessarily any better and had major security faults but that’s what happens when you’re the market leader. I am honestly not sure what Firefox’s motivation is now since MS is no longer hugely dominant although it is still #1, perhaps it’s momentum, and after all Mozilla is largely funded by Google so before Chrome Firefox was Google’s anti-IE proxy.

    Chrome is obvious – it’s all about advertising and knowing everything you do on the web. This is why I’ll not use any of Google’s ‘cloud’ products unless they are opt-IN for such data gathering and as long as preventing data gathering doesn’t get in the way of my convenience. (I also switched to Bing a while ago and have been doing fine with it.) In this aspect I trust MS much more than Google.

    • Vrock
    • 12 years ago

    There’s got to be more to it than that? I’m no businessman, to be sure, but the whole browser wars thing has always confused me.

    • wira020
    • 12 years ago

    Browser search box and some address bar also collect data… unless we use private browsing mode…

    • ManAtVista
    • 12 years ago

    That’s due to a large installed base and a lot of people not updating, can hardly be blamed on IE…The latest versions of IE are as secure if not more so than the competition (chrome may be the exception, it seems more secure than all the others at least if you use ‘–safe-plugins’ option…)

    • Corrado
    • 12 years ago

    Not gonna be a real winner, but since Chrome and Safari both use modified webkit, their general rendering should be about the same. Firefox needs to step it up. I notice less people talking about it, and more people using Chrome lately. On my Mac I use Chrome. I tried to use Safari on PC and Mac so I could be uniform across all my devices (Desktop, work laptop, iPad and iPhone) but the lack of an option to open all new windows in a new tab made using Safari impossible for me on the PC.

    • Corrado
    • 12 years ago

    When you install Chrome, it asks you if you want to send any data to Google. I’d imagine most people just next their way through and do. This gives Google your browsing habits so they can better hone their search and ad tools.

    • Vrock
    • 12 years ago

    IE 6’s fault, maybe. Things have changed since then.

    • Vrock
    • 12 years ago

    So, can someone explain to me why companies care about who uses a free browser? What does Google get out of the deal? What does MS get out of it? (We all know the open source hippies don’t get anything out of it, so no need to ask that).

    • sweatshopking
    • 12 years ago

    I LOVE CHORME!!

    • pogsnet
    • 12 years ago
    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 12 years ago

    Why MS does not ditch IE’s entirely is beyond me. Developing anything for those is just a pain in the bottom.

    • PeterD
    • 12 years ago

    —————-

    • PeterD
    • 12 years ago

    What do you think of this: 25 to 33% browser market share for the big ones (FF, IE, Chorme), and figures lower than 5% for the smaller ones?
    I don’t think there will be a real “winner” dominating like IE has done. Those days are past.

    • PeterD
    • 12 years ago

    Well, all in all MS did farely well. I expected them do ditch under 60% in December 2009.

    • BlackStar
    • 12 years ago

    Yeah, the advertising effort is humongous. Makes sense, too: this 6.73% number translates to something like 110 million users that can use Google’s more advanced online applications.

    Google is working steadily to erode the concept of the traditional desktop operating system (and Microsoft’s dominance in the area). So far they seem to be succeeding in a way that Apple and Linux haven’t yet managed to.

    Microsoft is on the defensive now: they will try to stem that blood loss through IE9 and their own suite of online applications but it is far too early to see how this effort will work out. For what’s worth, most online apps from Microsoft seem to be (more or less) pale imitations of Google applications.

    One way or another, the next few years will show who will come out on top. In a couple of decades we’ll be reading about this battle in history books.

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