StatCounter: IE’s usage share fell under 50% last month

Microsoft may be trumpeting the rapid adoption of its Internet Explorer 9 beta, but according to the latest figures from StatCounter, that didn’t stop IE’s global usage share from falling below 50% last month. The line graph below, nabbed from the StatCounter Global Stats page, illustrates IE’s decline in popularity rather well:

IE was sitting pretty with a 58.4% usage share one year ago—a year before that, it was at 67.2%—but that number dropped to 49.9% last month. For reference, Firefox commanded 31.5% of the market in September, while Google Chrome had 11.5%, and Safari and Opera each captured less than 5%.

Having defected from Firefox to Chrome on my own PC a few months ago, and knowing others who’ve done the same, I’m a little surprised that Chrome’s rise in popularity hasn’t coincided with some shrinkage on the Firefox side. Firefox’s usage share has actually gone up ever so slightly, from 31.3% to 31.5%. Clearly, Chrome’s rapid growth is coming at the expense of IE.

Comments closed
    • jackbomb
    • 9 years ago

    Oh well. I’m still going to use IE on my home machines.

    I’ve tried Firefox. Don’t like it.
    I’ve tried Chrome. It’s better than Firefox.
    I haven’t tried Safari. Apple sucks.
    I’ve tried Opera. Great for older machines, but I prefer IE on machines faster than 1GHz.
    I’ve tried IE9 Beta. Is nice.

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 9 years ago

    Go Opera, gooooo!

    • kitsura
    • 9 years ago

    The only feature I like in Safari that has yet to appear in other browsers is the activity window. Very useful for getting urls of hidden flash content for downloading. But as it is I don’t really stick to 1 browser. I use Opera most of the times but since it chocks on almost all internet banking sites I have Chrome and FF as a backup.

    • kvndoom
    • 9 years ago

    I can’t stand Chrome’s non-existent interface. I get way too frustrated every time I use it. FF lets me put the buttons I use most at the top, in any order I choose. Who cares about Chrome being a few fractions of a second faster. In terms of being accessible and user-friendly, I consider it a dud. If the functions I use most aren’t a single mouse click away, then it’s useless.

    And I can’t remember the last time Firefox crashed on me. Maybe *years* ago? I wish the people crying “crash prone” all the time would provide some links to sites that crash the browser, so someone else could verify.

    Would I like sandboxed tabs? Absolutely. Optimized memory usage? Absolutely. But lacking those has not hurt my browsing experience one bit.

    I roll my eyes hearing people defend those retarded 16:9 monitors, then laud Chrome for freeing up vertical screen space.

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      16×9 for the wiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Skrying
      • 9 years ago

      Keyboard shortcuts. Virtually everything in the Chrome drop down menu has a keyboard shortcut. The same could be said for any browser. It’s just Chrome’s developers realized if there’s a way to quickly access any command already then get them off the screen. I seriously can’t stand when people claim they need/want quick access to something but don’t use keyboard shortcuts.

        • kvndoom
        • 9 years ago

        I seriously can’t stand anyone telling me I should reach for the keyboard when I do 95% of my non-typing web browsing only with a mouse.

        In fact, you can do almost everything in Windows with just the keyboard. Why not just throw YOUR mouse away and only use keyboard shortcuts from now on? 😉

          • flip-mode
          • 9 years ago

          I don’t use r[

    • Shining Arcanine
    • 9 years ago

    The reason Firefox is still going up is because IT departments are now deploying it in images that they are rolling out across their organizations. Getting new software onto systems can take time and what is being installed now is what they started evaluating a year or two ago, when Chrome was a relative newcomer. As far as I know, Chrome also lacks integration into Windows security policies, which Firefox has; that is likely keeping businesses from evaluating it en masse.

    That is my two cents.

    • Goty
    • 9 years ago

    I love these browser stories because you get to watch the Opera and Chrome internet hipsters duke it out. Very entertaining!

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      And then watch the Firefox stalwarts complain that the newfangled whipper-snappers don’t have “that much” over their ever-slowing browser. Or the IE casuals shrugging and looking confused. “Wut? Wut do I need another browser fo’? Extensions-wuts-it? Y’mean mah tabs not meant to be constantly crashin’ ‘n reloadin’?”

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        I like the accent of the stupid ie users. sounds almost southern US. are you saying southern US citizens are stupid….?

        • indeego
        • 9 years ago

        How about FF users that recognize the finesse in Opera and Chrom[ium], but still refuse to use them due to lacking features in certain key areas?

        I would hop right on Chromium if the plug-in situation was resolved.

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    You know, I’m still quite surprised so many people don’t use Opera. Besides a few peculiarities with compatability, it’s vastly superior to Firefox. Chrome having it’s own little niche for minimalistic browsing, hands down Opera is the best.

    It’s really quite a shame that it doesn’t see more light. If it did I’m sure it would catch on a lot more. It has a ridiculous amount of built in features, support, and just has a very nice feel to it.

      • Voldenuit
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, it’s a shame about Opera. FF and Chrome just have much more marketing and mindshare, which is also the reason IE stays on top despite being the worst browser on the market.

      RMB+scrollwheel FTW.

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      “Besides some peculiarities with compatibility” and “minimalism,” Opera just has more features, eh?

      Curious thing then that so many wish for browsers that have less and you add it back later plus less of those “peculiarities with compatibility,” which has always been Opera’s biggest flaw.

      Opera’s just not as compatible in my experience. I’d say I don’t need those extra features you’re talking about because I can add most of them back through extensions, but then you never really gave any indication of what features you’re actually talking about.

      So I guess I don’t have to, either. Go, lazy me!

        • Voldenuit
        • 9 years ago

        In my experience, Opera is much faster than FF and less crash-prone, even with its extra features. It’s been doing very well in benchmarks as well, even against the new FF4 beta.

        The best part about Opera is that I don’t need any extensions to get it to my usability level, whereas I used to run FF with 3-6 extensions. The only addon I have on Opera is Flashblock on the laptop (my desktop doesn’t need it).

        A few sites still require IE, but FF doesn’t work on all of them, either. I uninstalled FF a few months ago and never missed it. As for Chrome, I’m still waiting for its feature set to catch up – the dev team keeps adding things I don’t care about while the usability hasn’t caught up to Opera or Firefox (with extensions). But I’m a bit behind on Chrome, since I don’t use (or follow) it regularly. One thing I’d like to see is an Exposé style shortcut on these browsers so I can find the page I want quickly. I’m sure there’s already an extension for that for FF somewhere (one real advantage of FF is the developer community).

    • Madman
    • 9 years ago

    Firefox is still the best!

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    Why is this news?

    Only web developers care about browsers usage.

    For the rest of us, it is just epenis wankery.

    Browsers are already ubiquitous and homogenized to the point that you are just using a different brand name. (a.l.a Coke versus Pepsi).

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 9 years ago

    l[

    • WaltC
    • 9 years ago

    I can’t imagine why these statistics are important to some people. It’s exactly like running statistics on which 3d game was played most last month, or which word processor was used most last month–bo-o-o-o-o-oring!

    The one redeeming factor in all of this, for me, is that these numbers continue to prove conclusively that the DoJ (specifically, know-nothing Judge Jackson) was dead wrong in its conclusion about Microsoft several years ago, most especially in its twisted notions that Microsoft ought to be broken up simply because it dared to ship a browser to compete with Netscape’s offerings. It should forever seal in disgrace the notion that if Microsoft ships a browser with its OS then nobody has a prayer of competing with them in the browser market. Case closed.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 9 years ago

      Microsoft did very bad things, long ago.

      Microsoft basically told OEMs: hey guys, if you put ANY brother on the user’s desktop that ISN’T Internet Explorer, you cannot use the OEM license. What’s an OEM to do given those circumstances? There were financial reasons to potentially put competing browsers on the desktop (Netscape, Opera), but you couldn’t use them at all! In the world of desktop computers, this is HUGE.

      Netscape died its own death, but it didn’t help that they couldn’t get on the desktop OS that a huge amount of people were using.

        • WaltC
        • 9 years ago

        Yes, but I have to point out that in those days I ran Communicator right alongside IE–and of course I had Nav/Communicator installed first as it took Microsoft (in my opinion) until IE5.x to achieve a rough parity/superiority to Communicator. I had Communicator and IE installed side by side, and it was years after IE 1.x shipped until I found that IE had eclipsed Communicator in usefulness and I finally uninstalled Netscape’s browsers.

        In those days it was difficult to buy a hard drive, a printer, a computer, even a monitor, that did not come with a free copy of Nav/Communicator on a disk. I must of procured dozens of free licenses/copies that way. This doesn’t count the dozens of free versions of Nav/Communicator that I downloaded free of charge direct from Netscape’s website during those years–they all had six-month time outs, but as it only took Netscape 3-4 months to put up a new version, it hardly mattered. So there was simply no way that Microsoft’s OEM policies of the day did anything at all to circumvent Netscape’s browser ubiquity. (Were these facts a part of Jackson’s decisions? As far as I can remember, they were not.) Remember as well that the millions of people using the Internet at that time were already used to installing Netscape’s browsers and using them, and visiting the Netscape web site to download newer versions, before Microsoft got IE 1.x out of the door.

        I think what Microsoft was trying to do with its OEM policies was just to create a consistent desktop for its OS. For some reason, people often pretend that the way an OEM ships a machine is immutable, set in stone, and cannot be changed. Of course, you and I know this is nonsense. Back in the days when I used to buy OEM machines (which I haven’t done since 1995–I prefer to build my own), one of the first things I did was to remove all of the OEM’s junk software and install the OS from a fresh copy of a retail version of Windows–I did this through the vehicle of format/install. Then, I’d install whatever I wanted. Back in those days, OEMs used to install so much junk software on a box that the Windows GUI was nearly inaccessible. I don’t blame Microsoft for trying to enforce a policy against junk software–not at all. In fact, I applaud them for it. As usual, though, the DoJ took this simple policy and in sinister fashion tried to make something nefarious out of it.

        Again, Windows still ships with IE, but the success of all of these other browsers proves conclusively that end users know they can install other browsers, and do so, just like they know very well that the games that come with Windows don’t forbid them from buying other games and installing them, just like they know that Word Pad doesn’t keep them from buying a better WP and installing it, etc. The DoJ tried mightily to take this simple OEM policy and turn it into something mean and nasty–but as they were wrong in their entire proceedings against Microsoft–they were wrong about this desktop policy, too.

          • StashTheVampede
          • 9 years ago

          You and I roll our own builds/installs — plenty of freebie Netscape going on there. *We* are not the target audience (per se), we are a tiny fraction of the computing buyers.

          What Microsoft did was target every where else! I’d put the rest of the buying population at 98-99% of the market and Microsoft targeted the OEMs right at their throats: you buy from us and not put a competitor on the desktop or we’ll charge you 3x this price. What are OEMs going to do? None of the tier 1 OEMs bucket Microsoft’s demands (their shareholders would have their heads), so how could any smaller/regional player even fight? It’s a simple equation and Microsoft wins.

          Anyone putting up funds to put Opera and Netscape on the desktop isn’t worth the additional cost compared to full priced OEM licenses from Microsoft.

          The issue with Microsoft and DoJ certain’t wasn’t on the merit of the browsers, it was how IE (specifically) was pushed on the consumers. Bloatware was plentiful back then (as it is now), but Microsoft specifically pushed that one simple icon and I believe they did it in a poor way. Would I call their actions against the law or the punitive damages with merit?

          Not sure.

            • WaltC
            • 9 years ago

            /[http://www.netscape.com<]§ (that URL is still active today, and takes you to an AOL "Netscape" site), and the rest of it. The Microsoft browser came later and was a brand-new entity. The real irony for me is that Microsoft was the first company to actually offer the consumer a *mainstream* competitive browser choice apart from Netscape--and the government prosecuted Microsoft for doing so, instead of praising them...;) Irony doesn't get any richer than that. Really, though, the DoJ trial came about principally because of Jim Barksdale and Scott Mcnealy, and the years of anti-Microsoft lobbying they had done into the ears of an egregiously "computer-illiterate" Congress. Talk about OEM front-end GUIs to these guys and their eyes would glaze over. Know the difference between a ram chip and a mouse these Congressmen did not, and they were spoon fed a litany of biased and prejudiced complaints by Microsoft's competitors, who were so envious of Gates and Microsoft that they could not see straight. So you tell me--how do computer-illiterate judges and Congressmen pass fair judgment on a situation like that? Answer: they don't...

            • eitje
            • 9 years ago

            q [ ] q, dude.

            • WaltC
            • 9 years ago

            I know, I fixed it…;) Sometimes I forget which site I’m on. Heh.

            • StashTheVampede
            • 9 years ago

            We can both go back to 1995-1997, WaltC. For either of us, we knew where to get a decent browser (had to, IE on NT4 was horrible). 99% of the population (back then) didn’t. Surfing the web was very new and Microsoft pushed their browser as the defacto way to get on (let’s not pick on AOL consumers, this time).

            Microsoft used its position to keep people on the Microsoft eco-system and threatened anyone that would compete with the desktop. They used their power by threatening OEMs a higher cost of Windows licenses if they put a competitor’s browser on there. You were fine with AOL (and a few others), but touch Netscape? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Microsoft also threatened OEMs that if they ship ANY computer that wasn’t running a Microsoft OS, they would lose their valued prices. It was a financial bullying that they were punished for. Intel went down a similar path against AMD and they were also punished.

            Quality of Netscape (in 1997) doesn’t matter. Quantity of browser didn’t matter in 1997. This *was* the birthplace of consumers getting onto the Internet and many thought Internet Explorer was the only option — Microsoft made sure of that.

            Microsoft *was* right to fear Netscape so long ago — their predictions were right.

            • WaltC
            • 9 years ago

            /[

            • StashTheVampede
            • 9 years ago

            “Honestly, how can you say that? Netscape was literally a household word before Microsoft ever shipped the first version of IE.”
            Respectfully disagree that Netscape was a household word by 1997. I’d say “Internet” and “browser” were household world by 1997, but I disagree Netscape was known as a browser. I used it (with no other choice) and my friends did, but plenty of people starting clicking on the IE icon on their Windows 95 OSR2 (not R6, didn’t have it).

            “I know—I know…that’s the way the DoJ characterized things and that’s the way you see it. Fair enough. I see it differently. I see Microsoft offering a financial incentive to OEMs to ship Windows on all their machines, and in a certain *way* that precluded all of these horrid GUI front ends they’d all been installing on their Windows boxes.”
            Again, we’ll agree to disagree. OEMs didn’t make huge amounts of money on the hardware sold, so they had no choice but to make money on the OS sales and deals that came with it. These are razor thin margins, Microsoft knew it and went right to the bottom line. No matter how sweet the deal was from any competitor, it wasn’t worth NOT getting Windows at a bargain.

            “Realistically, what else were they going to ship? Mac OS? Hardly. Steve Jobs or Apple would have sued them into oblivion for even asking the question…;) Some distro of Linux? Maybe that would be feasible today–but it wasn’t then.”
            Exactly. Bingo. There *was* no other choice. Microsoft forced the third party GUI guys out by requiring MS-DOS to run Windows. You couldn’t run PC-DOS, DR-DOS, etc. Enter Windows 95 and all those third party GUIs were dead (not immediately, but soon thereafter).

            Dell/Micron/Compaq/Sony couldn’t afford the wrath of more expensive Windows license costs, at the rate they were barely making on each machine. Even Microsoft bullied IBM to the point where IBM either take the deal (with all strings attached) or buy licenses on software shelves.

            “It’s kind of like when the EU mandated that Microsoft offer a version of Windows sans IE.”
            Europe was late to looking at anything and I don’t agree with the EU punishment at all. Few things I state EU are late about and this is it.

            “No–Navigator shipped into the markets and was being used by literally *millions* of people before IE ever shipped. How many times must I say this? Do you want links? I’ll be glad to provide them.”
            Netscape wasn’t first (Mosaic was before it, I used it). Netscape *was* further along than anything MS had, no doubt. Millions *were* using it, I’m not arguing it. What I’m arguing is: hundreds of millions (even billions) were exposed to IE as their first browser when they booted their shiny new computer. Microsoft prevent any competitor using money as leverage. They didn’t force netscape.exe to crash on start, but they did slow down the use of any other browser because it was there by default.

            “Why would that be? When Netscape started whining to Congress about the “unfair competition from Microsoft”, Netscape stopped releasing product! Netscape simply stopped dead in its tracks. ”
            Netscape stopped selling anything because people weren’t buying their superior product. IE had an army of dedicated developers, a built in update system and plenty of face time on the desktop OS with hundreds of millions of users. IE was free, Netscape wasn’t (yes, it was easily obtainable for free). Netscape, as a company, complained and didn’t innovate. Netscape died because of poor management.

            New browsers are able to compete because everyone knows you can get online with any myriad of operating systems and devices. Microsoft feared Netscape because they felt (rightly so, since it came true) that the browser would level the playing field for OSes and they had to protect their best interests (the gold mine that is Windows). Once people understood that you could get online, use a myriad of different browsing devices, the cat was out of the bag and nothing Microsoft can do.

            TL;DR: I fully believe Microsoft used leverage to prevent competitors on the desktop. They used that leverage at a very specific time that gave them a heavy advantage over anyone else. The playing field is not the same today.

          • tay
          • 9 years ago

          Hello, my name is WaltC and I like to write useless essays to support my biases on tech forums.

            • WaltC
            • 9 years ago

            Sorry, but your name is Tay and you haven’t written anything…;)

            • Meadows
            • 9 years ago

            That’s why we like him more.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            I don’t have anything against tay, but gentlemen, the is a tech forum. If you disagree with walt, fine, but he IS on topic. Lay off. I won’t say it again. Next time i’ll get my bff scott to bring the banhammer. Let’s keep it civil.

            • flip-mode
            • 9 years ago

            WHAAAAATTTT? I thought I was BFF? Cheating bastard geek!

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            nooo. you misunderstood. Scott’s a Bad friend forever, you’re best friend forever.

            In fact, scott’s such a bad friend, he has never EVEN ONCE acknowledged a post i’ve made. I’ve replied to many of his, and he’ll reply to others, and just skip right past my post. Geoff will go out of his way to pick on me, and cyril, who used to be cool, goes out of his way now to keep me from winning contests, even though I SHOULD WIN THEM.

            No flip, you’re my bff…. forever…. and ever…. (my hand is out of my pants, i promise…)

        • PeterD
        • 9 years ago

        Netscape lives on in Firefox in some way.

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      It’s funny how we re-interpret the way things played out to suit our own biases. For example, your interpretation is one that I can see how someone might make. Or another interpretation is that IE is still far and away ahead of the other browsers on the market despite an extreme feature and performance gap.

      Proof enough that it’s taken …what? A decade? A decade for FF to even get halfway toward supplanting IE despite the fact that IE has been far, far behind in any metric you’d like to use.

      The only reason IE didn’t hold onto its marketshare is not a reason caused by competition. In fact, the reason IE’s losing marketshare is because of the lack of browser progress by Microsoft for many years. Their own shortsightedness is what made IE begin to lose and look how long it took for the competition to make any traction against IE.

      That’s why I’d argue that the more accurate interpretation is that MS’s treatment of the IE product has proven that their including it in Windows is the reason it has not been replaced more quickly despite the presence of superior alternatives for many years. And, amusingly, I believe it also negates the argument MS made so many years ago that browsers were an essential part of an OS. The current way their OS treats browsers and uses them to display content–regardless of who makes said browser–is exactly what they said they couldn’t do years ago. Suddenly, what they said could never be done… is being done on a daily basis. Moreover, they’ve managed to replicate that with Security Essentials, Windows Movie Maker, an upcoming Firewall integration into MSE, an upgraded Photo manager, and the upgrade to IE 9 of course.

      In fact, MS’s anti-competitive behavior has kept them dominant in browsers when they shouldn’t have been and their punishment years ago is what has allowed competition to finally gain traction, even if the advantage MS gave themselves has given them plenty of time to waste and then finally develop a semi-competitive alternative.

      • sschaem
      • 9 years ago

      Not only that , but a study show that 80% of statistics are just made up…

      But seriously, only Chrome is showing a healthy state. all other browsers are stagnant or going down…
      If I was on the Chrome team I would be happy knowing i’m doing things right.

      Just being a ‘user’ , a Chrome user, IE9 might give them a reason so return the champagne and hire a few more local engineer to get an accelerated renderer.

      Cant blame Google, but since OSX and Vista anyone ignoring the GPU is missing the big accelerated picture…

    • wira020
    • 9 years ago

    I stick with firefox because of the add-ons.. I use flashgot to download videos quite often and it’s pretty reliable.. I dont think any Chrome add-on can do that so far… I also cant see much differences in page loading times between browser.. I dont really browse with a stopwatch tho..

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    l[

    • UberGerbil
    • 9 years ago

    How much penetration of alternate (to Safari) browsers is there among Mac users? TechReport mac users are hardly a representative sample, so I’m asking more about behavior of the larger mass of beret-and-turtleneck-wearing Apple dilettantes, which (from my observation) seem to stick to the browser god (aka Jobs) gave them.

    Of course, all of this is a sideshow to the real growth in browser share, which is among handheld devices.

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    Chrome’s upward trajectory is well deserved.

    [/chrome-fanboy]

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 9 years ago

    What happens when you have firefox, chrome, and IE installed at the same time, and use all of them from time to time?

      • StuG
      • 9 years ago

      I imagine what they are doing is taking major traffic websites and calculating the statistics for what type of browser has accessed them. In this sense, I suppose your vote would come down to which one you end up using the most.

        • UberGerbil
        • 9 years ago

        Well, your vote would amount to a blended percentage — so if you use FF half the time, and split the other half between IE and Chrome, your contribution to the FF share would be twice what it is to each of the others, but all of it is counted. Assuming you’re visiting sites that are tracked by statcounter, of course, which is the limitation of all analytics of this kind. It would be interesting for the major ISPs to report the clients in use on their networks, but they probably don’t want their customers thinking they’re looking at their packets.

          • WaltC
          • 9 years ago

          Precisely. Millions of people have more than one browser installed, and use more than one browser every day. I do. The very idea that people are constrained to using only one browser is as flawed as the notion that people are constrained from installing and playing more than one 3d game at a time, or using more than one word processor regularly. We would scoff at the latter notions, but we seem enamored of the former notion–that people cannot use more than one browser on a regular basis. Stupid statistics 101, is what I call it…;)

          I’m currently using FF and IE9b every day.

          • Stargazer
          • 9 years ago

          q[

      • ew
      • 9 years ago

      Your usage would get spread out amongst all three proportionally to how much you actually use each one.

    • StuG
    • 9 years ago

    I feel that Chrome is having a hard time taking people off Firefox because many of the extremely useful things on FF has not been ported over. One huge thing I have heard time and time again has been Firebug support isn’t great on Chrome. Also FF 4 is showing great potential, and I have come to like it better than Chrome. I will adopt that for my main whenever it goes live.

    Also, I do know a few people who don’t like tabs ontop, myself included 😛

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      FF 4b6 user, it’s ready for primetime, s’far as I’m concerned. Only one of my frequent sites doesn’t render properly (leaves bits of youtube embeds in the page).

      Still have issues with java plug-in on some of our corp mandated sites, but that has *[

        • tay
        • 9 years ago

        I really like the FF4 betas as well. Tab panorama is great as well.

      • PeterD
      • 9 years ago

      Most people who ran to FF, did it to avoid Big Brother MS. Those people won’t run to Google now, because that’s just another Big Brother.

        • ew
        • 9 years ago

        Bingo

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