Microsoft's IE loses largest share in two years
Chrome reaches 10% milestone nine months earlier than Google expected
Computerworld - Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) lost 1.4 percentage points of usage share in December, the largest one-month decline in more than two years, a Web metrics company said Saturday.
Chrome was again the prime beneficiary of IE's slide, as Google's browser reached the 10% milestone nine months ahead of a schedule set by the search firm in 2009.
According to Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Net Applications, IE's total share fell to 57.1%, another record low for the Microsoft-made browser. IE has lost 5.6 percentage points in the last 12 months, and 10.7 points since IE8 was introduced in March 2009.
Meanwhile, Chrome and Apple's Safari again made the sharpest gains, boosting their shares to 10% and 5.9%, respectively, both records.
IE typically loses a greater-than-average share in December, with the fall credited by most experts to an increase in browsing time at home during the holidays. Home computers are thought to have a higher percentage of non-Microsoft browsers than at-work systems, where IE dominates.
But rather than dwell on IE's overall decline, Microsoft touted the increase of IE8's share at the expense of the older IE6 and IE7, a claim it's made before.
In the past year, the combined share of IE6 and IE7 has fallen by about 40%, shedding almost 16 percentage points, said Roger Capriotti, IE's director of marketing, in a Jan. 1 blog post. At the same time, IE8 and IE9 -- the latter remains in beta, with a final release slated for the first quarter of this year -- posted a gain of nearly 10 points.
Capriotti also said that IE9's preview has been downloaded about 20 million times since its mid-September 2010 introduction. In December, IE9 accounted for about half a percentage point of the global usage share, a slight increase from the month before and nearly equal to IE8's share five months before that browser's launch.
Recent chatter on the Web has pegged Jan. 28 as the likely launch date for IE9's release candidate, or RC, the final build before the company greenlights the browser.
Although both IE6 and IE7 lost ground last month -- Microsoft has been especially aggressive in pushing customers to ditch the nine-and-a-half-year-0ld IE6 -- the oldest browser returned to its usual decline of almost seven-tenths of a percentage point in December, about half the drop of the month before.
Capriotti did not speculate on why IE6's slide slowed last month.
If IE6 continues to lose share at the pace it's set over the last three months, it will drop under the 10% mark sometime in April. Microsoft has promised to support the aged browser until 2014.
Firefox and Opera Software's Opera both gained small amounts of share last month to finish the year at 22.8% and 2.2%, respectively. Firefox lost 1.8 points during 2010, while Opera slipped by two-tenths of a point in the same period.
Meanwhile, Chrome's share grew by seven-tenths of a point in December, more than doubling its share during the year to reach 10% for the first time. In 2009, Chrome's chief engineer set goals for the browser of 5% by September 2010 and 10% for September 2011, both which it easily met. Unless Chrome stalls, Google's browser should own a 16% share by September.
Net Applications calculates usage share from data acquired from the 160 million unique visitors who browse the 40,000 Web sites it monitors for clients. The company's December browser data is available on its site.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
- IE6: Retired but not dead yet
- Chrome users won't give up, keep pressing Google to restore old-style new tab page
- Google quashes 31 vulnerabilities, restores Metro mode 'steppers' with Chrome 34
- Firefox's UI face-lift on track for April debut
- Ex-Mozilla engineer blames Microsoft's rules for Metro Firefox's death
- Mozilla patches 20 Firefox flaws, plugs Pwn2Own holes
- Google reverses field, promises to restore Chrome's scrollbar arrows
- Update: Google ships Chrome 33, patches 28 bugs
- Mozilla's top exec defends in-Firefox ads, revenue search
- Mozilla taps in-Firefox ads as it searches for more revenue
Read more about Desktop Apps in Computerworld's Desktop Apps Topic Center.
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools The client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency.
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Desktop Apps White Papers | Webcasts