RealTime IT News

Users Go Download Crazy for Internet Explorer 9

Enthusiasm for Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) is running so high that IE9 was downloaded more than 2.3 million times in the first 24 hours it was available, according to a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) blog post.

"[That] is over double the 1 million downloads we saw of the IE9 Beta and four times that of the IE9 RC [release candidate] over the same time period," Ryan Gavin, senior director of Internet Explorer, said in a post to the Exploring IE blog.

Additionally, when Microsoft rolled out IE9, it made the new browser available in 39 languages at once, which may have increased interest in it globally, thus helping to beef up the numbers.

Interestingly, IE8 shipped the same week two years ago.

At the time, Microsoft had not upgraded its aging browser since 2001. IE8, while better accepted than IE7, primarily only stemmed the company's shrinking browser share vis-à-vis competitors like Firefox and Safari, among others. In short, it was not a groundbreaking update.

With IE9, however, Microsoft did conduct a major revision, including addition of a new JavaScript engine, support for hardware-accelerated graphics, and do-not-track technology, as well as HTML5 support.

User and customer interest in IE9 has been soaring since even before Microsoft began its beta test in mid-September. The beta alone garnered 40 million downloads during its roughly six month test cycle.

Despite its availability in beta form for half a year, IE9 still has a long way to go. Web analytics firm Net Applications shows IE9 with a total of 0.59 percent market share of all the browsers it tracks.

For comparison, IE8 currently has some 34.95 percent share after two years in the marketplace. Right behind IE8, Net Applications puts Firefox 3.6 with 17.82 percent.

The big question that remains, though, is whether IE9 will ultimately enable Microsoft to retain, or even win back, lagging browser share -- and that could take some time. Meanwhile, users who want to try IE9 can download it here.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.