Is Internet Explorer Dying?

Is Internet Explorer Dying?

Summary: October's Web browser numbers are in and Internet Explorer numbers are plummeting, while Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari continues to gain.

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TOPICS: Browser, Microsoft
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IE drops below 50% of the Web browser market

IE drops below 50% of the Web browser market

Sometime in 1998 or 1999, Internet Explorer (IE) became the number one Web browser in the world. It did so thanks to Microsoft illegally bundling IE with Windows. But, while Microsoft lost the anti-trust case, instead of being broken up as it was first ruled, Microsoft only had its hands slapped and Internet Explorer's main competitor, Netscape, was destroyed. By 2004, Microsoft's IE owned 95%+ of the Web browser marker. That was then. This is now.

In that same year, Firefox started taking market-share from IE. At first IE lost ground, ironically enough, because of its de facto victory over Netscape. For years, Microsoft neglected improving IE 6, and Firefox was able to quickly establish itself as the better option. Then, when Chrome was introduced in 2008, it made the Web browser races far more competitive.

In October 2011, according to NetMarketShare, IE is barely above the 50% mark of desktop browsers with 52.63%. That only tells part of the story though.

On the smartphone/tablet market, IE is a total non-player with IE and Microsoft Pocket IE combined having only 0.17% of the market. Put the total Web browser markets together, and you'll see IE has finally dropped below the 50% mark. IE now has only 49.58% of the total market.

While Microsoft continues to try to make the best of IE's decline by focusing on IE 9's growth on Windows 7, the simple truth is that IE isn't just declining, its fall is accelerating.

On the desktop alone, IE's strong point, IE lost 1.8%. Over the last three months, IE has lost 6% of its desktop Web browser users.

Firefox, once IE's greatest rival and still the number two--for now-Web browser--can't take credit for IE's fall. Firefox, with 21.20% of the market, has been hovering around the 21% mark since February.

No, the credit for cutting IE down to size must go to Chrome, which increased its market share by 1.42% to 16.59% and Apple's Safari, which now has a 8.54% market share. Both numbers are all-time highs.

Safari's increase isn't just a matter that it's the dominant, with 62.17%, browser on smartphones and tablets. Mac OS X, where Safari is the default Web browser, has now reached 7.18%, also a new high, on the desktop according to StatCounter.

A closer look at IE's numbers reveals that much of IE's customer base, 7.49%, are using the hopelessly obsolete IE 6. Thus, the percentage of users working with current versions of IE--8 for XP and 9 for Vista and 7--is actually about 42%.

In short, IE is a dead browser walking. Not only is IE's declining on desktops, it doesn't have any presence on smartphones and tablets. Even if you buy into Windows 8 being Microsoft's savior for tablets and smartphone, Windows 8 won't show up until at least 2012.

Were I a Web developer, I wouldn't waste any more of my time building for IE. WebKit, which is the open-source, Web-browser engine behind both Chrome and Safari, is the smart choice for Web developers. The users, with the way they're abandoning IE are already speaking. The day of IE as the dominant Web browser are numbered.

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Topics: Browser, Microsoft

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149 comments
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  • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

    SJVN, stop you stupid FUD againt MS. If you so don't like any MS products why blogging about it???. What a shame....
    owlnet
    • Why does it matter? Google's making no money from Chrome

      @owlnet
      as people look to be using Bing with Chrome (looking at the numbers it makes sense: Bing is growing while Chrome is too, so two and two must be obvious, even to SJVN)

      Is Microsoft the real winner here? They invest no money working on Chrome, yet get the money through Bing search(ads)

      Looks to me that Google is becoming yet another cash cow for Microsoft! :)
      William Farrell
      • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

        @William Farrell
        +1
        :)
        John Zern
      • IE = RIP

        Don't use, don't like, avoid it.

        Only place I FORCED to use it is at some companies.

        IE is useless.
        Uralbas
    • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

      @owlnet
      that's no FUD dude. That's the truth!
      The Linux Geek
    • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

      @owlnet
      All he has done is to repeat a very well known history of MS.
      Wakemewhentrollsgone
    • Is Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols Dying?

      @owlnet <br>Is Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (AKA Steven Hawking) Dying?<br><br>He might as well with all of this crap that he constantly writes.......
      mikroland2.0
      • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

        @mikroland2.0

        This is a SJVN money pit. As long as he can goad you to reply, he's made his money this week or didn't you know ZDNet pays by number of posts, which of course engenders this type of click baiting.

        Hope you enjoy my monetary contribution SJVN.

        The world uses Windows and to virtually all those users, a browser IS IE. Those obsessive enough to download other browsers from an advertising company and a garage developer are thankfully few and far between.

        Wishing just won't make it so though, will it SJVN ;-)
        tonymcs@...
      • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

        [i]This is a SJVN money pit. As long as he can goad you to reply, he's made his money this week or didn't you know ZDNet pays by number of posts, which of course engenders this type of click baiting.[/i]

        Which you yourself engage in.

        [i]Hope you enjoy my monetary contribution SJVN.[/i]

        Then don't complain.

        [i]The world uses Windows and to virtually all those users, a browser IS IE. Those obsessive enough to download other browsers from an advertising company and a garage developer are thankfully few and far between.[/i]

        LOL....you really are full of yourself, now aren't you?

        more lol...
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

        @tonymcs@

        Desktop Windows OS days are numbered outside the enterprise, and perhaps even within the enterprise, unless MSFT is able to successfully execute Windows 8, but honestly, I find Windows 8 to be clunky, and not very user friendly. From the Developer Preview it is going to be difficult if not impossible to get my users to accept Windows 8.

        And as cloud computing continues, why should I manage desktops, when I can give an easy to use slate such as the iPad or Xoom or Tab to my users that has the apps they need to connect to the data center through and authentication portal. The user authenticates through the app, there is no Desktops to join to a domain, no Anti-virus to run. Desktop Technology will be gone in the decade.

        Best get with the program or you are going to have an outdated skill set standing in the unemployment line.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • Wow!!! The really hurts, doesn't it.....

      @owlnet

      Now if the Windows monopoly would also follow the demise of IE, the world would be a MUCH better place.

      Great and truthful article, Steven!!!
      linux for me
      • It does not hurt.

        @linux for me
        And many take pride in the fact that they are not the less fortuneate 1% that uses Linux.

        And yes, many Windows users enjoy the postition of superiority.

        Was that what you were looking for with your off topic post? My guess is that you now wish you had stayed silent.
        :)
        John Zern
    • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

      @owlnet no I don't thin that and hope you are all also don't think that this engine will ever die there it is: http://www.technologyfazer.com/google.html
      nomikhokher
  • How about in 1 or 2 years

    when IE is only used by old MS fanboys holding onto Vista!
    @swmace
    GoPower
    • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

      @GoPower
      Sure, if by "old MS fanboys" you mean virtually every business computer in the world. And if by "holding onto Vista!", you mean those same business customers running Windows 7 (and/or 8 on tablets/workstations), then sure. Again, once any single one of those "other" browsers attains anything near IE marketshare, wake me up. It's been predicted for decades that IE was going down the tubes. Every new browser was going to lead to the destruction of IE. Still hasn't happened.
      swmace
    • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

      @swmace. You sound like one of those circa late-90s IT guys who has based his entire existence on Microsoft and are now coming to terms with the possibility that you may have to learn new things. Stop being so provincial in your thinking. There's more to the world than IE and Microsoft and plenty of businesses are migrating away from MS lately. Denying that it's happening won't change it and you're only going to cause yourself problems in the future.
      Andre Richards
    • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

      @Andre Richards,<br>"There's more to the world than IE and Microsoft and plenty of businesses are migrating away from MS lately."<br><br>And there are plenty of businesses migrating to MS solutions. It's a two party system right now in the enterprise, Oracle or Microsoft. Both of them can't wait to lock you in and take your money. So what? That being said, "Is Internet Explorer dying" is a bit dramatic. It's also par for the course with SJVN. Most of the posters are complaining about his continued lack of objectivity.
      bmonsterman
    • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

      @Andre Richards
      Nope, sorry, I'm a modern IT guy who works mostly with the Cisco platform. However, at my company, we are an entirely Windows shop as far as workstations/servers go and I'm a Winders guys, myself in my personal life. For my experiences, IE is the best browser out there and I've used Chrome, FF and Safari (though I've only ever used Safari on mobile platforms).
      swmace
    • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

      [i]@swmace. You sound like one of those circa late-90s IT guys who has based his entire existence on Microsoft and are now coming to terms with the possibility that you may have to learn new things. Stop being so provincial in your thinking. There's more to the world than IE and Microsoft and plenty of businesses are migrating away from MS lately. Denying that it's happening won't change it and you're only going to cause yourself problems in the future.[/i]

      @Andre Richards

      + 1

      Good observation!
      ScorpioBlue
  • RE: Is Internet Explorer Dying?

    @swmace
    IE has dropped around 1 percent every month since Dec 2010 when it was 57 percent and now Oct 2011 at 49 percent. Firefox dropped less than 2 percent. Chrome gained 6.5 percent.

    Yes IE has dropped, some might say dying. Its always that market share ploy to make it sound better than it really is.
    daikon