Microsoft: IE6 Usage Down, IE9 Adoption Up

Microsoft officials welcome news that the usage of Internet Explorer 6 is on the decline as adoption of the latest version of the company's browser, the beta of IE9, is rising.

Microsoft officials have something to crow about with changes afoot for its Internet Explorer browser.

The changes are not so much in the way of new features added since the last release of the preview or beta of Internet Explorer 9, but in the news that Internet Explorer 6 usage is on the decline while adoption of IE9 is on the rise.

Indeed, in a November NetMarketshare report, Net Applications said:

""In September, we reported that IE6 share was dropping off in much of the world. In November, IE6 share dropped to 14.55% (including editions). Much of that share remains in China where IE6 usage share is 45.20%. With business users, IE6 share has dropped even more substantially as IE8 has the largest usage share of any browser in businesses with 34.1% usage share versus 10.3% for IE6 worldwide in November.""

Moreover, Microsoft said enterprises are adopting modern browsers even more quickly, as evidenced by only 10.3 percent of enterprises running IE6. And IE8 and IE9 continue to grow-current usage share for each browser version has increased this month to 32.75 percent and 0.38 percent, respectively. As of Dec. 1, Microsoft's IE team said they have seen more than 15 million downloads of the IE9 beta.

Microsoft has been a major proponent of moving users off of older versions of its browser, particularly IE6, so that users can take advantage of new standards and applications that are not supported by the older versions.

In a Dec. 1 blog post, Roger Capriotti, director of Internet Explorer product marketing at Microsoft, said:

""As we've mentioned previously, one of our main missions here on the IE team at Microsoft is to get people off of IE6 and onto a later version of IE as fast as humanly possible.So, we thought we'd take this month's new browser market share data to talk about a fact that many may find surprising. In the last six months, IE6 usage is now declining faster among enterprises than it is among worldwide consumers. We believe this reflects how organizations are recognizing the need to migrate to a modern browser. At the same time, the momentum of Internet Explorer 9 Beta continues at a healthy clip, reaching over 15M downloads through November and now equaling 0.38 percent of share worldwide.""

Capriotti also said small to medium-sized organizations lead the pack in moving off of IE6, but even the largest enterprises with over 50,000 seats show similar trends-just 12.1 percent of Web browsing in those organizations comes from IE6. Moreover, while XP usage contributes to IE6 usage, the vast majority of commercial XP machines have already upgraded to IE7 or IE8, he said. Less than 20 percent of Web browsing on commercial XP machines comes from IE6, he added.

In addition, Capriotti said he believes the wholesale migration of IE6 to IE8 is encouraging. "It reflects on the strong business value that IE8 provides over IE6. It shows that enterprises are upgrading to a current browser platform for their ongoing or future Windows 7 deployments," he said. "It means that we have a growing base of enterprises that will eventually be able to migrate to IE9 with relative ease. Most importantly, this progress indicates that many IT organizations have been able to successfully mitigate IE6 application dependencies and chose to move towards the benefits of a modern browser."