Internet Explorer: Usage Dips to All Time Low

Dennis Faas's picture

Just 7 years ago (2004), Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) peaked at 95% of the browser market share. Today, that usage has dropped below 50%.

According to NetApplications, which offers a monthly tracking of browser market shares, Internet Explorer (IE) has lost more than eight percent of the browser market in the last year. In fact, it slipped by more than 1.75 points just in the last month, and by six points in the last six months.

In a Nutshell: The Decline of Internet Explorer

Before the turn of the 21st century, Internet Explorer was the leading browser by far. It earned that position in part because Microsoft bundled it with Windows, and most users had insufficient savvy to replace it with an alternative, or even to know that replacement was a possibility.

Years later, Microsoft lost a big anti-trust with its operating system and browser pre-bundling, and thus was forced to leave the Internet door open for its browser's competitors.

Mobile Use of Internet Explorer Almost Non-Existent

Fast-forward to October 2011, and fewer than 53% of desktop computers used Internet Explorer. To add insult to injury, only 0.39% of mobile devices use Internet Explorer to see what's on the web. (Source:

Mobile users are an extremely fast growing segment of the computer market, and overwhelmingly prefer Apple's Safari Browser, and Google's Android Browser, according to statistics.

Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome Increase Browser Share

Internet Explorer's dominance began to erode as Firefox -- and later other competitors, primarily Google's Chrome -- began offering features and conveniences that outpaced IE's ability to perform.

In the past three years Google's Chrome has captured nearly 18% of the browser market, and will soon eclipse Firefox, which owns a relatively stagnant 22% of the market.

Falling below 50% of market share for the first time is a major negative milestone for IE, of course. But with IE's total lack of presence in the mobile segment, the handwriting is now on the wall.

Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of Internet Explorer. Critics suggest that mobile devices will soon be driving the majority of the computer market, and software will succeed or fail on the basis of mobile user acceptance. IE therefore appears to be on a downward track that may never be reversed.

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