Internet Explorer Nibbles Away at Firefox

I know that there are many Firefox devotees out there, but their numbers are dwindling with each passing month. According to the latest browser market share data from Net Applications, Firefox dropped a little more than one percentage point last month--and Internet Explorer ate up the majority of that share.

Taken as a whole, Internet Explorer increased its market share by 0.77 percentage points during February. The rest of the declining Firefox share was gobbled up by Google's Chrome Web browser, which saw an increase of 0.23 percentage points.

IE9 is only a small chunk of the IE makret share right now, but will probably skyrocket when officially launched.
Digging a little deeper, the Internet Explorer numbers are even more promising for IE8 and IE9. Why? Because IE6 declined by 0.1 percentage points, and IE7 went down nearly a quarter of a percentage point. That means that IE8 and IE9 combined to make up those losses and then some in order to realize the 0.77 percentage point gain for the Microsoft browser overall.

One factor that should be considered when looking at the market share of Internet Explorer is that the Microsoft browser is only available for the Windows operating system. Granted, Windows comprises almost 90 percent of the total market, but that is still 10 percent of the pool that Chrome, Firefox, and Safari can carve between themselves, and that IE will never touch.

According to an Exploring IE blog post from Microsoft's Roger Capriotti, the increase for IE when viewed only through the Windows lens was 0.86 percentage points rather than 0.77. He also points out that while IE9 has only 0.59 percent of the total browser market, it has captured 0.66 percent of the Windows browser market, and that number jumps to 2.09 percent if you consider only Windows 7.

When Microsoft officially releases IE9--relatively soon most likely since the RC is out--IE9 will quickly climb the chart. Capriotti notes, "Since its release on February 10th, the IE9 RC has already been downloaded over 11 million times. Together with the IE9 Beta, IE9 has been downloaded over 36 million times since its initial availability on September 15, 2010."

It is also interesting to note the mass exodus from Chrome 8 to Chrome 9. Chrome 8 plummeted more than seven percentage points, but that loss was snatched up by Chrome 9, which jumped up to the number five slot with 7.56 percent of the overall browser market.

The month over month changes are small--almost trivial--but the trends tell a story. To sum it all up: Firefox seems to be on a pretty steady decline, with its browser market share losses being eaten up primarily by Google Chrome. Since April of last year, Firefox has dropped 2.85 percentage points while Chrome has climbed 4.2. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer has gone down 3.18 percentage points, but after six straight months of losses IE looks to be rebounding.

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