Microsoft claims Internet Explorer 9 was downloaded 2.3 million times in its first 24 hours. Nonetheless, the browser faces some challenges ahead.
claims more than 2.35 million downloads of Internet Explorer 9 in the new
browser's first 24 hours of release.
"That is over
27 downloads every second," Ryan Gavin, senior director for Internet Explorer,
wrote in a March 16 posting on The Windows Blog
, "or over 240 downloads every
nine seconds." The number of IE9 downloads in 24 hours, apparently, is double
that of the IE9 Beta and "four times that of the IE9 RC."
In its bid to
compete against Google Chrome, Firefox and other next-stage browsers, Microsoft
not only focused on making IE9 speedy and secure, but also stripped down the
actual browser interface to a translucent frame with a few minimalist buttons-the
better, apparently, to bring the Web experience front and center.
exception of Windows Phone 7, for which consumer-sales figures remain scarce,
Microsoft has a habit of touting the early adoption rates of its various
products. Considering the company's massive footprint across a broad swath of
devices and services, the fact that a new release would attract millions of
downloads seems unsurprising; the bigger question is whether that early momentum
can be maintained in the longer-term.
that's a key question. According to New Applications, the Internet Explorer
franchise's share of the browser market stands at 56.77 percent, followed by
Firefox at 21.74 percent, Google Chrome at 10.93 percent and Safari at 6.36
percent. While that market share represents a comfortable lead over its rivals,
it also represents a significant decline from the 68.46 percent that Internet
Explorer held in March 2009.
In its bid to
halt and reverse that erosion, Microsoft faces two challenges. The first is
persuading current Internet Explorer users to upgrade to the latest Microsoft
browser, as opposed to leaping to a competing product. As part of that effort,
Microsoft recently launched a Website, "The Internet Explorer 6 Countdown,"
draw users of that antiquated (and increasingly unsecure) browser to a newer
centers on IE9's incompatibility with Windows XP, another legacy product Microsoft
wants users to mothball in favor of Windows 7. Despite the company's efforts on
that front, and Windows 7's healthy sell-through rate, some 55.09 percent of
PCs continue to run XP. That effectively shuts off IE9 from a substantial
portion of personal computers that are nonetheless still capable of running
Firefox and Chrome.
Windows 7 for some of its most eye-popping features, including the ability to
drag-and-drop a Website tab to the Windows 7 taskbar, transforming it into an
icon that can, when right-clicked, open up a "jump list" full of one-click
links to that Website's most vital content. Windows 7 users can also "Aero
Snap" their browser windows to the left or right of the screen, which comes in
particularly handy when comparing two Web pages side-by-side.
In light of
all that, Microsoft can only hope that people continue to migrate from XP to
Windows 7 at a steady rate-not necessarily a bad assumption, considering that
Windows still controls a lion's share of the market. Another big question,
though, is how quickly Microsoft can deliver Internet Explorer 9 in mobile
form-because even as the company fights for the traditional browser market,
there's also the burgeoning smartphone and tablet market with which to contend.