Internet Explorer posts largest loss since '08; Firefox, Chrome, Safari gain

Internet Explorer posts largest loss since '08; Firefox, Chrome, Safari gain

Summary: Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser posted its largest market share loss last month since 2008, Web metrics company Net Applications said on Tuesday.Meanwhile, Google's Chrome continues to gain on Apple's Safari, closing within 1.


Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser posted its largest market share loss last month since 2008, Web metrics company Net Applications said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Google's Chrome continues to gain on Apple's Safari, closing within 1.25 percentage points. At its current pace, Chrome will replace Safari as the No. 3 browser in less than a year.

Internet Explorer dropped 1.1 percentage points last month, to 66.6 percent. The slide was the browser's steepest since last November, when it dropped by 2 percentage points, according to Net Applications.

In the last 12 months, IE has lost 8.6 points of browser share.

Of that lost market share, Mozilla's Firefox stood to benefit the most, taking about half that lost share to claim 23.3 percent of the market, nearly matching its record 23.8 percent set in April.

Here's the breakdown of last month:

  • Internet Explorer: 66.6%
  • Mozilla Firefox: 23.3%
  • Apple Safari: 4.1%
  • Google Chrome: 2.9%
  • Opera: 2.1%

The takeaway here? IE continues to lose dominance without much to support it. Since these statistics were taken last month, there's no Windows 7 to consider, no Snow Leopard, and a lot of netbooks -- mostly running Windows XP -- flooding the market.

So we're really just seeing more of the same trend that's been accelerating in recent months: people opting out of using IE because:

  1. It's too slow to run satisfyingly on a netbook (+1 Firefox, Chrome, Opera)
  2. Slight increase in Macs on the market (+1 Safari)
  3. No Windows 7 at this time to drive default use (-1 IE)

Still, the figures show just how much of an incredible grip IE has on the general public.

But the game's going to get very interesting right around January 2010. Why? Because Windows 7 will be on the market, the Q4 2009 holiday sales rush will move Windows 7 computers (notebooks and netbooks) off shelves, Apple's recently released Snow Leopard will be adopted by more users, and Google's distribution strategy to get Chrome on PCs will start paying off.

Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Browser, Google, Microsoft

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • This is going to get very bloody and it does not look good for IE. If all

    Microsoft has to look forward to is a kick from
    Windows Seven defaulting to IE to help slow the
    slide of IE, this does not bode well for MS.

    Further, if the OEMs start to smell blood, and
    sign deals with Google to bundle Chrome, Chrome
    could easily go over 10%, and IE UNDER 50% by the
    end of next year.
    • Internet Exploer is not that bad

      what I found from using other browsers is that at least you can access almost 100& of websites with Internet Explorer and with the others it seems like your always installing something IT NEVER ENDS
      • I'd agree with you, but...

        Firefox renders many pages badly. I keep IE on my computer for that very reason. However, IE8 has just killed my computer (a FAST machine.) It isn't really that IE8 is fat, something is plain wrong with the way it is working. When I open multiple tabs, it often hangs (program is not responding) for up to 15-20 seconds and then seems to load the page and start working. I am afraid to use IE8 for multiple sessions and now only use it for single sessions with important things like credit card payments and bill paying.

        Otherwise I use Firefox. If Firefox renders the page poorly I will use IE8, but I dread doing so...

        Not sure what is wrong, but I don't have time to deal with it. MS should have found out ahead of time. I even went in and turned off EVERYTHING (accelerators, add-ons, etc...) and that didn't help.

        I'm going to finally download Chrome and give it a try...

        -Tom Steele
        • Browsers?

          If you want some bad rendering and crashes, go ahead and use Firefox. Opera or IE8. If you want inept security, use Chrome or Safari. Do your research and pick what's best for you. Most "experts" choose Firefox!
          • please tell me what you mean

            Because I fail to see how your message relates to internet "standards"
          • They all have problems

            I have four browsers on my home machine. If one fails I try the next. At home I mostly use firefox. At work I tend to use IE and it does run on machines with statistics similar to a net book in fact it does okay on my netbook.

            I think what it comes down to is people have options and they aren't all taking the same option. Better is in the eye of the user. I'm fine with that. I like options.
          • What - bad rendering and crashes

            I use FF all day long. I can remember that yes, it crashed once or twice but it is so rare I can't even remember it.

            Rendering? I go to some very intensive sites and can't think of rendering problems.
          • Rendering problems occasionally with FF

            I use FF 90% of the time but when I look at sites created by my company, I tend to use IE. My company's IT are dedicated MS clones and must use MS tools to generate their web sites. They probably do not consider any other Web browser worth checking since, of course, these sites are for internal use only. So rendering can occasionally be a problem with FF but I will stay with FF for most of my browsing needs.
          • What on Earth are you on about?

            'Bad Rendering' is actually a page built for
            IE6/7 (which means you have to write it non-
            standards-compliant, hence why FF, Opera,
            Safari and IE8 don't get it right).

            As for inept security, I know of numerous
            hacker contests where people failed or didn't
            even try to attack Chrome because of its
            security! Safari failed in seconds but Chrome
            outlasted all of its peers!

            If you want speed, security, large-page-
            area/minimal UI, standards-compliant browsing,
            use Chrome and get to know what you're talking
            about before you post...
        • Did you try the killall command? Oh, wait a minute.

          You are a windows user, and you don't get all those useful utilities we linux users do. Here is a possible excuse to trying linux: Make that PPC mac that you were going to send to Goodwill useful again. I got an eMac at goodwill for $10! I wiped OS X 10.2 and put fedora 10 on it. Using it now!
      • did you mean 'internet exploder'? (nt)

      • IE / Firefox - simple test

        OK...I hear how bad IE8 is and how good Firefox (and others) are. I've done this before, and unloaded Firefox after a short trial.

        I downloaded / installed Firefox 3.5.2, then selected a web page from a site to open in a new tab (here's the site -

        Immediately I had to download a flash player for Firefox (that's ok, you needed to do that for IE as well over the years) before a video on that page would load. The page linked me straight to Adobe with the correct version to install. I did that with no effort what so ever. The problem is, the video still doesn't work, even after restarting Firefox and going back to that page (which was automatic by the way) Same message "Cannot play media. You do not have the correct version of the flash player. Download the correct version".

        I opened a tab in IE8 and went to that same page...the video works fine.

        It's that simple people...things work in IE8.

        I have no desire to 'work' on my browser to get the 'best' experience (or in this case, any experience).

        IE8 works for me, it hasn't crashed for 'no reason'. I've yet to find a page that said I was using the wrong browser, and IE has never hosed the OS.

        These disgruntled people must be the same ones that interchange the words 'then' and 'than'.
        • Same problem - vice-versa

          I had the same problem about three builds back for Adobe Flash, but in my case it worked for Firefox and not for IE.

          In that case, I learned that the problem was related to my not having all my other IE browsers closed during installation.

          Perhaps something similar happened in your case. The installations appear to impact the structure of the browser and if your browser was on at the time of the installation, it might have caused a bug. I'd suggest you uninstall the Flash add-on from within Mozilla (btw, if you don't find it, then you know you didn't install it), go back to the Adobe site using Firefox (this is essential) and reinitiate the installation. Adobe will walk you through it; make sure you accept their recommendations because they will recognize the browser and give you the appropriate one for it.
        • Simple test?

          Just bad luck that's all. Never had a problem installing flash with Firefox the many times I did it for myself or other people. In fact, dozens of my students have switched over to Firefox after trying it and with IE tab, they have no need for IE 99.99% of time. I opened up the complete IE browser less than 5 times in the past year in Windows.

          By the way, I'm using Ubuntu Linux 95% of the time on my PC (using it right now) and I have no problems with Firefox either in Ubuntu with flash and watching online videos.
        • IE / Firefox - simple test

          I did the test out of curiosity and guess what,

          It worked well from the first time with Firefox 3.5. I also tried Opera and Chrome and they also worked fine. IE8 on the other hand crashed on my PC. But IE7 worked fine. So go figure....
        • Simple Test - Response

          I appreciate all the responses...absolutely no slams to my character either...that's appreciated as well...I take back anything I may have said in the past that would offend.

          I've been doing this stuff quite a while and can hold my own, though I do let some things slip by (depending on my interest at the time). I'm at an age now that if it's not ready for me to use the way I'm used to using it, then it's a bother. I've no desire to work on things that should already work.

          These things still peak my interest sometimes (like the new Firefox) and I give'em a try.

          I did a couple of benchmarks on IE and Chrome and indeed, Chrome appears to be faster than's too young right now though.

          Firefox has been around a while, and I will give it another try. If it'll make things 'better' for me, I'll use far the first attempt at using the new Firefox failed my immediate expectations. That's enough to turn me away. I didn't do anything 'wrong' in letting Adobe try to install Flash on just didn't work.

          You won't find me slamming any company that puts one of these browsers out...They've put in more time than I would care to in developing them. So good luck to all of them.

          Again, I appreciate the reponses and I will give Firefox (and others)a more robust try-out soon.
        • Mac test

          Tried your test website with MacBook/Safari 4.
          No problem, video plays fine, page renders 100% correct.
      • catch-22

        People design web sites for IE users, because it's what most people
        use. Most people use IE, 'cos they run Windows and most web sites
        work with IE .... Until, companies stop writing sites which only display
        correctly in IE, I can't see the end to the dominance of IE as a browser.

        I've been working in IT for over 20 years and I still can't get over it
        when I work for a company who only tests their web site with IE, and
        their e-mail is only tested sending to Exchange users and the likes of

        I find myself accessing sites often with my iPhone now, yet people like
        Monster have just changed over the design to a 'less friendly' site,
        forcing me to use a computer to view pages - to me that's a step

        I find myself wanting to go back a few years to when you had web
        sites with high bandwidth and 'other' access. At least then just about
        anything would work with the non-high bandwidth sites.
      • IE is not that bad it is worse

        While I have to use IE on one or two sites I visit I notice it sucks up strange cookies, spy/ad/mal ware. I clean my system one bad item at a time. You cannot delete individual cookie in IE, you can in FF and Opera, I have all the major browsers and despite some flaws I like FF. I have been using Opera 10 recently and it is fast.
        Remember sites where you have to use IE are that way because they were coded that way it is not a fault in the browser.
        • Download Karen's (free) cookie viewer


          and you can handle your cookies any way you like.

          Lots of other free goodies there too.

          I am not affiliated with that site in any way. But I have been using her tools for many years, with nary a problem.
          Ole Man