While Microsoft’s Windows may have a good portion of the world’s desktop and notebook PC users under its belt, the same cannot be said for its web browser business. In what must be the first time in almost a decade, the software giant’s global browser share has managed to dip below the 50% mark, while its competitors are seeing some impressive growth at its expense.
Once again, we have given away the entire story with just that title of ours. However, for the benefit of those who may not be familiar with Microsoft Internet Explorer (unlikely as it may be), here is a little explanation of what is currently going on in the current web browser competition.
According to the latest data from StatCounter, Internet Explorer’s market share has steadily fallen from 52.68% in July to its current 49.87% for the month of September. Of course, StatCounter’s accuracy in collecting such statistics is debatable, but if we were to take the results at face value, that is a staggering 2.81% fall in just a couple of months.
But what actually caused the fall? Well, it might be easy to cast the blame at Microsoft for simply not making a browser that is good enough to meet its customer’s expectations. But the real cause can probably be attributed to the fact that IE7 and IE6 have both seen some significant drops in usage share while adoption of IE8 has ceased to increase and remained stable.
What is interesting, though, is that the market share of most other competing browsers have also remained relatively stable over the past few months. That is, with the sole exception of Google’s Chrome, which achieved a huge overall gain as can be seen in the first graph.
So what does this mean for Internet Explorer? At the very least, it appears that Microsoft needs to get its stuff right with Internet Explorer 9 if it wants to continue remaining relevant in the browser wars. For now, it appears that Microsoft is on the right track with the current IE9 beta.
But in the end, what really matters is whether Microsoft can actually deliver a decent browser which people wants while ‘staying on the right track’. And we can only wait for the official release of IE9 to tell whether Microsoft managed to pull it off.