IE9 can't stop Microsoft's browser slump

Safari posts record one-month share gain, Chrome grows and Firefox falls

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As it has done before, Microsoft again ignored IE's overall decline to focus instead on talking up IE9's progress on Windows 7. On that edition of Windows, the new browser averaged a 7.5% share for April -- double the month before -- and neared a 10% share by the end of April.

"Just six weeks after the launch of Internet Explorer 9 we are about to reach a new milestone, as of the last day in April, IE9 is at 9.95% usage share worldwide on Windows 7," said Ryan Gavin, senior director of IE, in a Sunday blog post.

Gavin also reiterated Microsoft's assertion that IE9 was the best browser for Windows 7, an argument based on the company's belief that other browser makers "dilute their engineering investments" because they support older versions of Windows as well as Mac OS X and Linux.

But users clearly disagree with Microsoft, at least for now.

According to Net Applications, Chrome 10, Firefox 3.6 and Firefox 4 all had larger shares on Windows 7 last month. Chrome 10, which Google began pushing to current Chrome users via the browser's silent update mechanism in early March, accounted for 14.8% of Windows 7 browsers in April. Mozilla's Firefox 3.6 owned a 14.1% share on Windows 7, and even Firefox 4 outpaced IE9 with 8.4%.

Nor did IE9's full month of availability in April improve Microsoft's overall share on Windows 7. IE's total share on the new OS stayed flat last month, while Firefox's grew by one-tenth of a point and Chrome's jumped six-tenths of a point.

Net Applications calculates browser usage share with data obtained from the 160 million unique visitors who browse the 40,000 Web sites the company monitors for its clients. Its April browser statistics can be found on the Net Applications 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 gkeizer@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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