Internet Explorer 9 Is Climbing Fast...On Windows 7

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The browser market share stats for June are out from Net Applications. Overall, the news is not all that rosy for Microsoft as Internet Explorer usage overall continues to erode. But, if you view the data through Redmond-colored glasses the news is actually pretty positive.

First, let's look at the raw data. The bottom line is that Internet Explorer dropped almost six tenths of a percentage point to 53.68 percent. Firefox also dropped slightly. Meanwhile, Chrome and Safari continue to climb. Chrome went up by the exact same amount that Internet Explorer went down, and now has 13.11 percent market share. Safari climbed two tenths of a percent--I assume based on iOS devices more than the desktop browser.

Internet Explorer continues to lose market share, but IE9 offers a silver lining for Microsoft.
If we dig a little deeper into the version specifics, we can see that IE8, IE7, and IE6 all declined this month--by 1.21 percentage points, 0.46 percentage points, and 0.18 percentage points respectively. Firefox 4 bumped up 0.38 percentage points to 10.46 percent--but that will plummet this month thanks to Firefox 4 already being made obsolete by Firefox 5.

The silver lining for Microsoft is that Internet Explorer 9 gained 1.44 percentage points to climb to 5.63 percent market share. Granted, that is only half of the market share enjoyed by Firefox 4, and it is only about two-thirds of the market share of Chrome 12, but keep in mind that Internet Explorer only works with Windows, and the audience for IE9 is limited to Windows Vista and Windows 7, while these rivals have a potential audience that includes all of Windows, plus Mac OS X, and Linux.

Taking that silver lining a step farther, IE9 is even more impressive when viewed strictly through a Windows 7 lens. Roger Capriotti analyzed the data in an Exploring IE post. "IE9 has now become the most popular modern browser on Windows 7 in the US. IE9 is now just second overall in the US behind IE8 with 21.8 percent usage share as of the last day of June. Worldwide, IE9 usage share on Windows 7 is exiting the month with 17.0 percent usage share for June."

Meanwhile, Microsoft is pushing ahead with Internet Explorer 10. Microsoft launched Platform Preview 2 for IE10 this week.

So, Microsoft is definitely continuing to erode influence overall--thanks in some part to its commitment to IE9 and limiting the audience to a mere fraction of the PCs in the world. Depending on your perspective, there is some good news in there somewhere for Internet Explorer, though.

Fortunately for Microsoft, these tenths of a percentage point shifts one way or the other have a very slow impact. Based on the trend lines, Chrome will eventually be number one, and Internet Explorer could be third or fourth (Firefox will just keep spinning its wheels recycling the same users). But, that could be a decade from now because the market share moves like watching a glacial ice flow.

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