End of an era as IE6 usage freefalls

End of an era as IE6 usage freefalls

Summary: In 2007, IE6 will almost certainly lose its crown as the most popular Web browser.

TOPICS: Browser

In 2007, Internet Explorer 6 will almost certainly lose its crown as the most popular Web browser after holding the title for many, many years.

Since IE6 was launched in 2001, its leadership has not seriously been challenged. The release of Firefox two years ago certainly gave Microsoft a much needed kick in the pants because it brought some real competition to the market.

Despite Firefox's challenge, IE7 looks set to take the top spot from its predecessor. Since its launch earlier this year, it seems to have become the browser of choice for ZDNet Australia readers upgrading from IE6.

Below are some figures for browsers used by Australians visiting this site during November 2006. The numbers are not supposed to represent the whole industry but they do make interesting reading. They show that while IE6 is definitely on its way out, Firefox has taken a huge chunk of the market and cannot be ignored when developing Web sites and browser-based applications.

In November 2006, just 54 percent of ZDNet Australia visitors used IE6 while 14.5 percent used IE7, which had already become the second most popular browser. Third and fourth places were taken by Firefox 1.5 and Firefox 2.0, with 13 percent and 11 percent respectively.

This means, of all visitors to ZDNet Australia last month, around 68.5 percent were using a recent version of IE while 24 percent used Firefox.

Safari was fifth most popular with around 2.5 percent of site visitors using the Mac browser.

Two years ago, then MD of Microsoft Australia Steve Vamos told me that Microsoft's customers did not want tabbed browsing and Firefox would not threaten IE's market share.

For some reason Vamos has since been promoted and will soon head off to Microsoft HQ in Seattle. I can only assume Bill wanted some help with his next big prediction.

Topic: Browser

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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  • choice and upgrade?

    You said that IE "seems to have become the browser of choice for ZDNet Australia readers upgrading from IE6."

    Do you realy think that this was a "choice" and that users did the upgrading? I think that sentence would more appropriately read "Microsoft seems to have upgraded users from IE6 to IE7."
  • not a choice if you dont know

    IE7 is a critical update via Windows Update. So if you are like most users and are told to install all updates, as they do not have the knowledge to review and choose their updates, IE 7 of course will be the new leader.
    So far have heard only negative feedback from IT people of IE7, lots of bugs related to tabs, like failing to load and having to close and reopen IE7, as refresh does not work, or the worst case scenario - upgrade from XP Home to XP Pro failed due to IE7 being installed. IE will continue to be market leaders as the media fail report accuratly what is happening.

    Dont be proud of theis news article it falls short of anything useful other than trying to stay on the good side of Microsoft.
  • IE7

    ..."did not want tabbed browsing" and I am reading this in a tabbed browser and not IE7. The IT department where I work will not permit IE7 on any system coming behind the firewall. There must be a good reason for this.
  • IE7 is going nowhere

    IE, irrespective of it's version, is going down. As somebody commented rightly, that upgrading to IE7 from IE 6 is more of an auto update thing than a conscious decision.

    I won't recommend anyone to go for this browser.

    Firefox is the browser to go for.
  • IE7

    I hate the fact that my computer insists that I 'upgrade' to IE7. I have used IE7 and found the layout frustrating. Most people like me would 'upgrade' as this is what most systems are set to do automaticly. Luckaly it IE7 was on another computer - not mine. Firefox does have a good reputation and may get my business soon.
  • IE7

    The only reason that people would use IE7 is that they have never used Firefox (any version). IE7 is a waste of time.
  • How to configure Windows...

    Click start -> Set program access and defaults

    Check Custom
    Uncheck enable access to this program for IE, OE, Messenger, and Microsoft UnJava VM
    Set Firefox as default browser.
    Whatever for media player, all the choices suck if you ask me.

    Click ok, and after the usual grinding, you'll be a bit better off.

    I was less than impressed with IE7 'upgrade' as an automatic, or near automatic process on a computer without enough ram to adequately run it (256M), and would be interested if it still tries to upgrade if you disable it in the abovementioned way.
  • How to the stats look?

    Znet should check at what time these IE hits are happeneing on their site. It would be interesting to see what proportion hit during normal business hours and after hours. For instance, I only use IE when I have to, at work it is the only browser I am supplied!
  • IE 7 / firefox

    I don't know why you (IE6 or IE7 users) are waiting to move to firefox.
    If you need IE for anything for whatever reason, then get IETab extension for firefox.
  • ???

    who the hell uses IE these days. it's filled with viruses, and the only people that are too dumb to see that shouldn't be using a computer
  • Yay!

    Yay - the world is waking up! MS is not the only software company and thier software is not always the best....!
  • Your Browser and Windows Vista

    Now that Windows Vista has already been released, would there be a shift back to Internet Explorer? I know that there's a growing sentiment against IE. However, people are now beginning to ask if their favorite third-party browser is fully compatible with the new OS?

    I'm planning on shifting to the new Windows. I would've wanted to join the Jan. 30 rush, but I decided to delay the shift for a few days to gauge consumer sentiments. So far my fears regarding incompatibility and the lack of appropriate device drivers have been largely unfounded. A friend of mine who immediately upgraded to Vista used a Web-based service (http://www.radarsync.com/vista) to take care of his Vista driver needs or problems. I'm quite confident now that non-Microsoft applications would encounter no compatibility problem with the new OS.
  • Ha!

    Here we are nearing the end of 2007 and from what I'm seeing in statistics, IE6 is still the #1 browser and that's sad.

    I'm trying a bit of a grassroots thing to try and stop that though at www.end6.org