IE gains in latest browser war results

IE gains in latest browser war results

Summary: Microsoft's Internet Explorer, after being knocked around for ages, is re-gaining Web browser market share from Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox.

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NetMarketShareOct2012
Internet Explorer is continuing to make Web browser marketplace gains.

It seemed like a predictable trend: Watch Internet Explorer’s (IE's) market share drop. For the longest time, you could count on IE losing Web browser market share and either Chrome or Firefox picking up users. However, the latest October 2012 numbers from NetMarketShare show that IE is continuing to regain lost ground, thus ensuring its rule as the most popular desktop Web browser, with 54 percent of the market worldwide.

IE’s still-above-the-halfway mark is followed by Mozilla's Firefox with 20 percent and with Google's Chrome nipping at its heels with 19 percent. The other "popular" Web browsers remain mired in the single digits. Apple's Safari comes in fourth with 5 percent and Opera takes fifth, hitting 2 percent only because we round up the percentages.

IE has gained half-a-percentage point since September. This came mostly at the expense of Chrome, which dropped 0.31 percent while Firefox lost .09 percent. Those numbers are small enough that formal market researchers would say there’s essentially no change. However, a little more variance is evident if you poke around in the numbers. If you included Chrome pre-rendering, a technique Chrome uses to pre-load Web pages for better effective performance, into the rankings, Chrome would take second place from Firefox, 30 percent to 20 percent, but Chrome's overall market share would still be slightly declining.

Why is this happening? No doubt, it's in part because of Microsoft's IE 9 TV ad campaign. Mozilla, though, has another explanation: Mozilla claims that by Microsoft not giving users the legally required browser choice menu in Windows 7 SP 1 in the European Union (EU), this kept users from picking an alternative browser.

Harvey Anderson, Mozilla VP of business affairs and general counsel, claims that Microsoft's failure to include the "browser choice" screen for Windows users in the EU for more than a year and a half lost Mozilla between 6-9 million downloads, which Microsoft has admitted to as a "technical error." It's an error that doubtlessly has helped IE browser share. It may also be an issue in the EU's resulting anti-trust legal actions, which cost Microsoft as much as 5.6-billion euros, that is US$7.3-billion. It's expected, however, that Microsoft will settle with the EU for far less.

All that taken into consideration, it didn't help Firefox's cause that the latest version, Firefox 16, had to be pulled from the Firefox download site immediately after its early October release. This was because Firefox 16 proved to have a major security problem. This has since been fixed and Firefox 16 is now available.

Back to the browser market share: NetMarketShare reports that Microsoft has been successful in getting Windows 7 users to switch to IE 9. "With a gain of 1.9 percent last month, Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7 surpassed 50 percent usage share in the United States – reaching 51.7 percent. Worldwide, it gained 1.3 percent on Windows 7 reaching 40.3 percent usage share for the month of October." IE 9 is only available on Windows 7. IE 8 is the latest version for Windows XP users and IE 10, of course, comes only on Windows 8.

IE is obviously tied to Windows, but Windows users do make other choices. Chrome was Windows users' second favorite browser, followed by IE 8 and Firefox. 

That's all well and good, but winning the desktop browser battles is beginning to mean less than it once did.

NetMarketShare also reports, "For the first time in our sample, browsing on mobile devices has exceeded 10 percent of all browsing. This actually underestimates the total amount of browsing share on mobile devices, since our sample does not contain data on apps, like maps." In the smartphone and tablet market, Safari rules, thanks to Apple's iPhones and iPads, with 60 percent of the market, followed by the Android native browser with 26 percent, Opera Mini at 8 percent, and the BlackBerry browser with 1 percent. The other mobile browsers, including IE, are lost in the noise below the 1 percent market share level. 

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Topics: Browser, Apple, PCs, Tablets, Smartphones, Networking, Mobility, Microsoft, Google, Windows

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43 comments
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  • IE gains in latest browser war results

    Microsoft is on top of their game! IE9 is nice, loads pages fast, and doesn't lock up. Best of all it doesn't contain spyware which is the most likely reason why chrome has dropped. People don't want to send their data to Google so they make the profit and the user doesn't. I still support Firefox too even though I don't agree with their claims about the browser ballot. People know how to download their browsers so the ballot should never have been included in the first place.

    "That's all well and good, but winning the desktop browser battles is beginning to mean less than it once did."
    It means less now because Microsoft gained and Google dropped but if it were reverse you would never have made that statement.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Many people are tired of Chrome spying

      ... and sending their private data to CIA so they switch back to IE.
      LBiege
      • Must be a bug in Microsoft Security Essentials

        Loverock or Lbiege, who do I speak with at Microsoft there software is not doing its job?

        I have Chrome installed and was not given any warning about spyware from Microsoft Security Essentials.

        “Best of all it doesn't contain spyware”


        Hooah!
        RickLively
        • ...

          Try monitor this spy.. ekhm, browser (chrome) in Process Monitor, what this think do, also check packets in Network Monitor, Message Analyzer or Wireshark, any other browser don't list your libraries, installed software and this kind of stuff, list and send to BigG.

          BTW I see this smoke if Microsoft some day decide to block this bloody thing.
          Mr.SV
          • typo

            Of course it should be: "what this thing do"
            Mr.SV
      • Maybe thats the reason so many people choose Chrome?

        No one gives any attention to the poor things, and by using Chrome they at least may hope to get some CIA guy attention.
        nitekatt
    • IE9 is a big improvement

      And I confess I take it seriously as a browser I will use. HTML5 support is pretty good, and in standards mode, it renders faithfully even some pretty tricky SVG stuff. It is the first serious Microsoft browser effort in a long time, and I am glad they are seeing some reward for that.

      However it has a long way to go, and I would not switch back full time at this time.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
  • 9 is ok

    But IE 10 is significant improvement.
    Sam Wagner
    • I can't agree more

      IE 9 was certainly a drastic improvement from other versions of IE but with using IE 10 for the past several months, it is fantastic. I ran the SunSpider javascript rendering test and it finished the rendering before Google Chrome did and I ran them both side by side giving Google Chrome a head start.

      IE9 is okay but IE 10 is where it's at. That being said, IE 10 still has a lot of fixes to undergo. Sometimes it just lags for no reason but that is becoming more rare as I use it.
      Jabe124
    • IE 10 is currently the best browser

      And despite all the tile phobic rants we've had lately, I'm starting to prefer the IE from the Start page in Windows 8 even on my PC.
      Tony_McS
  • I don't beleive it!!

    "Mozilla VP of business affairs and general counsel, claims that Microsoft's failure to include the "browser choice" screen for Windows users in the EU for more than a year and a half lost Mozilla between 6-9 million downloads"

    I don't believe it...I'm sure that if you live in Europe and you want Firefox you're perfectly capable of downloading it without a "browser ballot"
    MustangGTX
    • Only if you know about alternatives, and can find it...

      And MS doesn't make either of those easy.
      jessepollard
      • They do?

        How so? Does IE block access to Google search? Does it block access to mozilla.org?

        On the other hand, you get people writing sites like Google's utility sites (Calendar for example) which put a huge banner at the top if you're running IE9 saying that it won't work well with IE9 and that you should switch to a 'better' browser. How does that make it easy to use IE?

        Or blog sites with such script heavy comment systems that barely test with IE running those systems into the ground or just not working reliabley. How does that make using IE easy?

        Sorry - you have it backwards. Microsoft does very little to make it hard to use someone else's browser other than not handholding you through the process of finding one and installing it. And in Europe - they even did that for you (and then screwed up and didn't... and for that, they're going to get potentially a seriously slap).
        TheWerewolf
      • wow,,, just,,,wow

        So if you walking to a BMW dealership, would the dealership offer to pay for your cab so that you can get to an Audi dealership? Or do you get an ad for all the dealerships in your area? I just cannot believe this election screen nonsense!
        pupkin_z
      • it's called advertisement

        So its another company's fault if you don't want to advertise your product. Last time I check, MS does not own the TV networks and the Web was still open for users to search.
        Yax_to_the_Max
  • Updating

    I know this seems silly, but it bugged my wife that Firefox was updating so much, so she went back to IE9. I know it is a quiet upgrade now, but she noticed that it would take a long time to reboot when it was updating and it really bugged her.
    Shmythey
    • Reboot?

      You don't have to reboot on a Firefox upgrade.
      benched42
    • thats exactly my problem with Chrome and Firefox

      But I'm on a Mac but still agree 100% with you. I hate that every week a new version is installed when I click on the browser icon. I'm tired of Chrome and Firefox!
      samunplugged
  • Tried FF for a while and it crashed my facebook games all to often..

    So I switched back to IE9.. (10 soon on my Win8 machine).. don't talk to me about chrome.. that thing ain't touching my hard drives :)
    DJK2
  • Why do we still care about browser market share?

    It's not like MS makes any more money from having more people use IE, or is any longer in a position to "encourage" webmasters to optimize their sites for IE.

    Use whatever browser suits you; the developers no longer have the ability to handicap you because you made the "wrong choice" and aren't likely to get it back.
    John L. Ries