After many months of slow decline at the hands of Firefox and Chrome, Internet Explorer might be starting to gain popularity again. The latest numbers from Net Applications, which now include usage share data for March, certainly suggest so.
The web analytics firm says Internet Explorer's usage share climbed from 51.9% in December to 53.8% in March. Over the same time period, Firefox's share inched down from 21.8% to 20.6%, and Chrome saw shrinkage from 19.1% to 18.6%. Safari was the only other major browser to see any gain at all, and that didn't amount to much: only a minuscule rise from 4.97% to 5.07%.
Now, to be fair, Internet Explorer is actually worse off than in previous years. It was sitting pretty with a 58.4% usage share in March 2011, and it was over the 60% mark in April 2010. (That's as far back as Net Applications' publicly available numbers go.) Looking at the progression, IE seems to have hit its lowest point in December of last year, having lost much of its previous ground to Google Chrome.
I haven't used IE as my primary browser since June 2002, when Mozilla 1.0 came out, but I think it's definitely come a long way since then. IE9 has a slick user interface, decent standards support, reasonably fast rendering, and much-improved security compared to previous versions. I'm still more partial to Chrome—and, failing that, Firefox—but I wouldn't be surprised if some folks were migrating back to IE. Nothing wrong with that, just so long as competition stays healthy in the browser arena.