10 Reasons Why Microsoft's Internet Explorer Dominance is Ending

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-05-04 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

News Analysis: Internet Explorer still might be the leader in the browser market, but its dominance is coming to a close. Here are the reasons why and how that's happening.

The bad news just keeps coming for Microsoft's Internet Explorer platform. After being forced by the European Union to give Windows users the option of downloading other browsers besides its own, Microsoft has had to stand by and watch as the market share for Internet Explorer, once the overwhelmingly dominant browser in the market with more than 90 percent market share, dipped below 60 percent. If the trend continues, as is expected, it might only be a matter of time before a majority of people around the globe are using other browsers than Internet Explorer.

It's a sad reality for Redmond. For years, Internet Explorer has been the company's main grasp on Web dominance. By deciding how people access the Internet, Microsoft could have some influence over the search engines and start pages people originally used when they booted up the browser for the first time.

Those folks might have changed default settings, but many others did not. And it ensured that Microsoft would stay relevant online in the face of powerful competitors, such as Google and Yahoo. But those days are slowly coming to an end as Web users realize that there are other options out there that might satisfy their desire far more effectively than Microsoft's browser. Simply put, Internet Explorer's dominance is coming to a close. And here's why:

1. The European Union

If we can cite just one reason for why Internet Explorer is experiencing so much trouble right now, it's undoubtedly because of the European Union. For years, the continent's governing body has had its sights set on Microsoft and how it does business. But when it turned its attention to Internet Explorer and forced Redmond to offer Windows users browser options, it was the beginning of the end for the venerable software. Suddenly, those who didn't know where to find other browsers were given options. And those that were tired of using Internet Explorer were able to easily move on. The European Union almost single-handedly took down Internet Explorer.

2. Microsoft's complacency

At the same time, Microsoft has been far too complacent with Internet Explorer. Over the years, Microsoft has seemingly believed that its browser's success would only continue, never appreciating the effect Firefox or even Google Chrome could have on market share. It was a faulty belief. By being complacent, Microsoft didn't invest enough into Internet Explorer. It also failed to adequately determine what the changing consumer opinion meant for its market share. Over time, users have wanted new and useful features and Microsoft, unwilling to acquiesce to those demands, is feeling the negative result of that now.

3. Internet Explorer's security

For a while, Internet Explorer was one of the most worrisome Microsoft products available. The browser allowed in a slew of malicious bugs that wreaked havoc on Windows PCs. In recent years, Microsoft has done a better job of securing Internet Explorer, but the damage is already done. We also can't forget that the company's browser still isn't the most secure browser on the market. Realizing that, consumers might be opting for alternatives that, they believe, will offer more security. Although it's tough to say exactly what has caused users to opt for other browsers, Internet Explorer's security is surely not helping matters.

4. Rebounding from IE 6

Most of those security issues started with Internet Explorer 6. Microsoft's browser was supposed to be the next big thing in the browser market. And for a while, it was. Even today's it's still widely used by people around the world. But it was also one of the worst software products Microsoft has ever released. It was rife with security problems, poorly designed, and failed to deliver the features that users wanted. For many, they used Internet Explorer 6 out of necessity. But once more options were made available that offered the same level of productivity, they quickly jumped ship. Internet Explorer 6 could have been the beginning of the end for Microsoft's browser division.



 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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