Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 and 7 continue to lose popularity in the U.S. Web browser market, something the Windows maker claims it wants, while IE 8's market share continues to rise. According to analytics company StatCounter, adoption of Firefox, Google Chrome and other rival browsers is continuing. Other analytics companies have reported similar statistics for Internet Explorer and other browsers.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 and 7 continued to see their shares of the U.S.
browser market decline in May, according to data from analytics company
StatCounter, even as pickup continues for the newer Internet Explorer 8. Although
IE 6 and 7 were market-share stalwarts a year ago, both browser versions have
seen their usage dwindle in thanks to IE 8 and rival browsers such as Google
Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox.
In May 2009, according
IE 6 occupied about 11.47 percent of the market, while IE 7
had 43.45 percent and IE 8 had 8.5 percent.
In May 2010, the numbers showed radical change: IE 6 claimed 4.47 percent of
the browser market, IE 7 had 16.64 percent and IE 8 had 30.49.
Some of Microsoft's newer competitors saw substantial gains during the
period, with Firefox 3.6 rising to take a 19.85 percent market share. In
StatCounter's reckoning, Google Chrome 4.0 occupies about 6.53 percent of the
market and Safari 4.0 owns 8.46 percent.
The market declines for both IE 6 and 7 could easily reflect those browsers'
increased age. Microsoft claims, in fact, that the market-share falls are by
"The fall of both these versions was expected, and in fact we wish to
accelerate," Ryan Gavin, senior director of Internet Explorer, said in a
June 1 statement. "Internet Explorer 8 is encouraging more and more people
to move off of Internet Explorer 6 onto a modern browser-meaning developers can
spend more time innovating and less time replicating workarounds."
For some Websites, IE
8 needs a feature called Compatibility View
to render all elements properly;
Microsoft has been working to reduce the list of Websites that need that
feature. As of March, only about 19 percent of high-traffic Websites rendered
in IE 8 standards, a number the company seemed highly intent on increasing.
Microsoft previously pledged to continue support of IE 6 through April 2014,
from some quarters to phase out the browser.
In July 2009, a brief furor
erupted after Digg, a content-sharing Website, said it would stop supporting IE
6 "soon," followed by destinations such as YouTube asking their users
"We committed to supporting the IE included with Windows for the
lifespan of the product," Dean Hachamovitch, a member of Microsoft's
Internet Explorer team, wrote in an Aug. 10 post on Microsoft's official
Internet Explorer blog. "As engineers, we want people to upgrade to the
latest version. We make it as easy as possible for them to upgrade. Ultimately,
the choice to upgrade belongs to the person responsible for the PC."
Whether or not users choose to upgrade to a newer version of Internet
Explorer, the overall browser market continues to be dynamic.
The latest figures from analysis company Net Applications showed that the Chrome
Web browser had made steady gains
in market share through May. Between
April and May, Chrome's share rose from 6.7 to 7.05 percent of the market.
By contrast, Microsoft's Internet Explorer franchise held a 59.7 percent
share of the market, a slight dip from 60 percent, while Firefox declined
slightly from 24.59 to 24.35 percent.
Apple's Safari browser experienced a slight gain, increasing from 4.72 to
4.77 percent in May.
Chrome's rise could be due in large part to Google's decision to
aggressively push the browser through advertising aimed at a mainstream
audience, including banner ads on such Websites as ESPN.com and The New York
Times' site. The browser also received a boost in early December, when a beta
version was launched for Mac and Linux.