Despite Threats, Internet Explorer Still Dominates

Brandon Dimmel's picture

Microsoft is planning to release a slew of security fixes for Internet Explorer (IE) -- suggesting the web browser continues to face a torrent of security threats. Nevertheless, a recent study shows that Internet Explorer maintains a vice-like grip on the web browser market.

Yesterday, Microsoft released a Security Bulletin Advance Notification for July 2014, with plans to ship a total of six security updates to customers next Tuesday (July 8, 2014). The updates will patch security vulnerabilities present in every version of Internet Explorer and all supported editions of the Windows operating system (not including Windows XP).

Internet Explorer Receives Plenty of Security Fixes in June, July

The Internet Explorer update -- which is labeled "critical," Microsoft's most serious security rating -- is getting the most attention. It affects every version of IE since Internet Explorer 6, including the most recent version of the browser, Internet Explorer 11.

It's not yet clear what could happen to Internet Explorer users should they fail to download and install the new fix, though based on previous history, most Internet Explorer bugs marked 'critical' usually result in remote code execution. In other words: if your PC becomes infected, you run the risk of identity theft and/or fraud and extortion.

It's the second straight month that Internet Explorer users have been told their browser is vulnerable to attack. Last month Microsoft used a single update designed to fix an incredible sixty bugs found in the web browser. (Source:

Despite Threats, Internet Explorer Controls Browser Market

Given these threats, it seems surprising that market research firm Net Applications recently discovered that Internet Explorer maintains a stranglehold on the browser market. In fact, Net Applications found that just under sixty per cent of all web users employ some version of Microsoft's browser.

Specifically, more than one in five users employ Internet Explorer 8; almost one in ten use Internet Explorer 9; and one in fifteen use Internet Explorer 10. Seventeen per cent of users employ the newest version of Microsoft's browser, Internet Explorer 11.

Of Internet Explorer's rivals, only the latest version of Google's Chrome browser broke into double digits, holding 12.5 per cent of the market. Meanwhile, the last two versions of Mozilla's Firefox browser each hold just over five per cent market share.

Other browsers like Opera Mini, Safari, Maxthon, and Torch together account for 22.46 per cent of the total. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Do you use Internet Explorer? If so, have you considered switching to another web browser due to recent threats? Do you think Microsoft is doing enough to keep Internet Explorer users safe? Are you surprised that Internet Explorer continues to hold as much of the browser market as it does?

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Dennis Faas's picture

Based on Google Analytics and on the number of people visiting this site in the past 6 months, the top 3 web browsers being used are as follows:

Chrome - 31.18%
Firefox - 28.67%
Internet Explorer - 25.71%

In that respect, I'm surprised to see Internet Explorer holding 60% of the browser market share according to the study. On the other hand: Windows dominates the PC market, and IE comes installed with Windows by default, so in that case a 60% market share makes sense. What doesn't make sense is that people still continue to use it, despite all the negative headlines floating around the Internet.

andrew_sea's picture

I don't see any separation in this article of IE usage in countries where IE is no longer bundled with the Windows OS. MS lost its battle with the EU Commission a few years back, when It was forced to unbundle IE from the OS installed on all new computers.

Moreover, in view of this case, many more European Users dropped their use of IE in favor of a less proprietary browser.

Leaves me wondering if this article isn't an MS press-release to draw attention to its upcoming new updates???

doulosg's picture

I actively use IE (8), Firefox, and Chrome on a daily basis. However, I only use IE for sites that require it (and that's a crime). But each browser has its own strengths and weaknesses, so I'm unlikely to give up any one of them.

One place I use IE is with Google Maps, since the new version of maps works so much poorly than the old. At least it doesn't run on IE 8, so I still have access to a Street View that works.

And while I'm complaining, I am considering knocking Firefox down to my 3rd choice browser, because it has become more of a nuisance than a benefit. It really seems to me to be going downhill.

Wagashigrrl's picture

People generally surfing this site and other tech sites will not be the typical population of 'default system browser' users, using whatever version of IE is installed on their machine.

I sometimes do repairs for friends, family and associates and find that their copy of IE has half a dozen browser helpers objects cluttering the screen, and if they are asked if they ever wanted to use a different browser, the response is often, "What is a browser?"

This population sample of IE users seem to far outnumber the ones who do make deliberate choices in browser set up. Many are using IE because they don't know that they can have a choice. I do administration for various active forums, and many users really haven't much clue about the machines and devices they use.

So website population statistics with raw numbers for 'page hit' stats reflect the types of visitor that make rounds at a given site. On this site, it's more likely that persons have have made a deliberate browser choice.


PERSHON's picture

I do not use IE unless I am setting up a new system. Once I have used IE to access the internet I download the browser choice of the owner of the new system. No matter what they choose I try to talk them out of IE. It is just too problematic with all the attacks aimed at IE.

Personally I have used five different browsers and have come down to Firefox with a slight nod to Chrome. I find FF to be well secured once you install the appropriate ADD ONs. It is also easy to use and is fast.

The question of what people choose when they do not get IE with their system is important. The answer would tell you more about people's choices. It still might be slanted towards IE since they dominated the market for so long, but it would be informative.

spiras's picture

My default browser is IE, for the following reasons:

1. I'm just so darn used to it
2. Many important websites (such as government or banks) refuse to work with any other browser.
3. All in all, IE isn't such a bad browser, and I like its "feel". I have Windows Update set to automatically install updates, and so far it's done a pretty good job of preventing attacks.

With that said, I find myself using other browsers (FF and Chrome) more and more often these days because certain other websites don't work at all well with IE!

So I end up having to use a mix of all three.

In a perfect world, we would all be using one perfect browser...

chuck's picture

I use Google Chrome most of the time. Since I like MSN Premium email format, I have to use IE with it.