Microsoft Internet Explorer Share Still Shrinking

Despite an explosion of interest from users when it first shipped earlier this year, Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) has not reversed — or even slowed for long — the decline of Microsoft’s browser from its once near monopoly dominance.

Web analytics firm Net Applications’ latest numbers show that, if current trends continue, Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) IE will soon have less than 50 percent market share for desktop browsers.

Although that will still leave IE with a daunting lead over its nearest desktop competitor — Mozilla Firefox — it’s still an important psychological milestone.

According to Net Applications’ latest browser figures, IE held 52.63 percent market share on the desktop in October, a ways ahead of Firefox, which holds 22.51 percent share. Third place is brought up by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Chrome with 17.62 percent, and fourth by Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) Safari at 5.43 percent.

However, IE’s October numbers were a slippage of 1.76 percentage points over September’s 54.39 percent share, which in turn was a decrease of 0.92 percent points from August’s 55.31 percent.

In fact, IE’s share has slid 7.72 percentage points over the past 12 months. Granted that Firefox lost a percentage point of share over the same period — Chrome was the main beneficiary of those redistributed points.

During the past year, Chrome went from 9.57 percent to October’s 17.62 percent, a gain of 8 percentage points.

If IE’s decline continues at something similar to the recent pace, it may fall below that tough psychological barrier of 50 percent market share by the end of the year.

That’s a far cry from mid-March, when some 2.3 million users downloaded IE9 during the first 24 hours it was available.

Additionally, there is no help in sight. IE10 is still an unknown spot on the calendar, although Microsoft demoed it in March — so it may have to wait until as late as the launch of Windows 8 near the end of next year.

Meanwhile, Microsoft can’t count on IE9 on Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) to help. In the mobile browser sweepstakes, IE doesn’t even rate an entry a year after that operating system went on sale.

Safari is currently the runaway leader of the browser pack on mobile phones with 62.17 percent share, followed by Chrome’s mobile cousin Google Android at 18.65 percent.


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

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