IE10 doubles share in April; Chrome continues decline as Firefox leads in second

Internet Explorer 10 has seen a recent bump in users, thanks to Microsoft's move to make the browser available on Windows 7. Meanwhile, when will Chrome gets its mojo back?

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10 has doubled in market share in the past month to more than 6 percent, according to latest figures by Net Applications.

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IE10 has been intensely watched due to the connection between the latest browser version and Windows 8. Up until recently, IE10 was only available on Windows 8 machines and Windows RT devices, such as the Surface. As Windows 8 sales figures have been rough on the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant and as a result, IE10 market share figures have also been poor.

But in late February, Microsoft opened up IE10 to Windows 7 machines , giving its largest slice of users on the operating system the opportunity to use the latest browser with better standards and security.

Since then, IE10 has now seen double market share growth in April, the latest figures suggest. But it's still a far cry away from IE9's 18 percent and IE8's 23 percent. By porting the latest browser to the most popular version of Windows, Microsoft is hoping that it can shift the balance to reduce browser fragmentation overall and reduce the scope of Web-based attacks.

Between March and April, Internet Explorer's overall usage dipped by a fraction — 0.02 percentage points to be exact — while Firefox gained 0.09 percentage points. Chrome dipped slightly by 0.10 percentage points, and Safari (desktop only, not including iPhone and iPads) grew by 0.07 percentage points.

Image: Net Applications

Looking at IE10's browser market share by percentage, you can see that from March's share of 2.93 percent, it has grown by more than half to 6.02 percent in the 30-day period. If the trend line continues, Microsoft could be looking at hitting double figures with its latest browser in May.

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Image: Net Applications

Looking at the rest of the browser market — a hotly contested and bitter market to be engaged in — Firefox remains on top of the second place spot with 20.3 percent, while Chrome stands in a good third place with 16.35 percent.

Also, while these figures related to global standings, Chrome takes the top spot in a number of geographic areas, with many countries in Europe being prolific Chrome users.

Image: Net Applications

The browser market is returning to some level of normality following Microsoft's repeated abuse of the browser market, even if it was considered an unfortunate mistake.

Microsoft was  dinged with a $731 million fine by European antitrust authorities  in March as a result of failing to abide by its settlement commitments relating to its abuse of its dominant position in the browser market.

By failing to include the "browser ballot" choice screen of various different browsers, Internet Explorer included, this led to a shift in overall Internet Explorer users. Mozilla argued that it lost  as many as nine million Firefox downloads  during the time Microsoft failed to issue the screen to European users.

It's worth noting as it would have had an impact on the rest of the browser market, but the results will become increasingly apparent in the coming months. Also, Windows 7 sales have slowed and it might be that the browser ballot will only be visible to new users or new installs of the operating system. The EU wasn't clear on how Microsoft should amend its browser ballot practices following its recent slap on the wrist.