IE continues to lose market share as Firefox, Safari and Chrome gain

By Justin Mann on January 2, 2009, 1:26 PM
Internet Explorer, including the latest IE8 betas and the existing stable IE7, are still losing market share to its “alternative” competitors. Microsoft has been eager to push IE7 and more recently IE8, trying to convince people to use the beta browser in an obvious attempt to keep their dominance from slipping further. It's not working that well for the software giant as December saw the overall IE share dip down to below 70%, which is still a big majority nonetheless.

Some of the recent losses are being attributed to the diminished usage of Internet Explorer in the workplace. While we've been calling IE to be broken for years now, typically businesses and institutions adopt new software more slowly.

The losses IE has suffered amount to around 10% for the whole year and represent gains across the board for others, namely Firefox, Safari and Chrome. All three of these browsers have gained in December with Firefox exceeding 21% and Chrome coming in above 1%. These aren't localized figures, and we've seen statistics in the past that show actual usage of browsers can vary wildly by what region of the world people are in. Another very worthy competitor Opera seems to be flat in terms of market growth.

For now it's clear that IE keeps falling and only a drastic move from Microsoft will keep this trend from continuing. So far we've seen none.

User Comments: 14

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DarkCobra said:
MS certainly is starting to slip more and more with I.E. Somethings are improving but others are lagging behind. I build web sites and it's a total pain to now get animations, applets and scripts to run correctly on I.E. anymore. I tell my clients to use ANYTHING but I.E. and I mean ANYTHING. The king has to be Firefox with Opera and Chrome next in my opinion. Safari is fine if your using an Apple. I wish Opera had more advertising because it really is an excellent alternative to I.E. but few outside of the computer knowledgeable really know about it.
yukka said:
I wonder what the state of affairs will be when the more popular alternative browsers are targeted by malware writers instead of the more healthy 70% that Internet Explorer has now.I love my Firefox and all its flash removing, script silencing add-ons but they have yet to be put to the sword in the same way as IE has. For now I will be continuing in my use of Firefox.
DarkCobra said:
"Yukka" makes an excellent point. MS has been the prime target of most hackers and malware attacks and consequently MS had to super-armor plate its operating system and browser to the point of literally having to cripple it themselves from so many attackers. In other words, their tremendous success soon became their double edge curse. Their rising need to play defense crippled their ability to go on offense and provide lots of kewl bells and whistles as Firefox was able to do.Firefox has tremendous stability and security, yet they have managed to provide a much "richer" browser experience. Probably because I.E. was the main target of hackers & malware and not them. One does have to wonder if Firefox could have sustained the same level of hacker/malware attack that MS had to endure over the years and still provide all the bells and whistles that they have provided. We may never know but I do know one thing . . . Firefox rules for right now.
slickricky said:
Being a website designer myself I could only wish for the complete demise of Internet Explorer all together. What a time waster. Just think of the money Google or anyone else for that matter could save by not supporting Internet Explorer at all. World wide I would bet we're talking 100's of millions of dollars per year (if not more) wasted on custom programming just so that your website works with Internet Explorer. With numbers like that, you've got to wonder at what market share percentage is the break point for the death of Internet Explorer. At some percentage (my wild guess is 25% market share) is when everyone will realize they money they make from supporting IE is less than the money spent supporting IE. At that point we can all do a happy dance, because when someone major stops supporting IE, we'll all be better off.
captain828 said:
@yukka & DarkCobra:malware, adware & viruses are taken just as easily with Firefox, Opera, Chrome can have the most secure and efficient AV & anti spyware/adware software out there, but if someone is dum enough (read: n00b) to download a warez crack that's an exe and execute it is sure to get the royal f treatmentI have used IE in the past (for ~4 years) and had no issues with viruses... as long as I didn't do anything dum myself; sure there were a crap load more pop-ups than with FF, but that's another storyand the same thing goes for the OSIE, Opera, FF, Chrome, Safari are all good at something:IE (while I agree it sucks) comes default with the OS and is something 80% of the people at work useOpera is an elegant browser with a lot more features than IEFF is well known for its huge customization options (read: add-ons)Chrome for its rendering speed (and because it's made by google ;))Safari comes default with OS-X (and the iPhone) and is similar with Operathis comes from a IE user for 4 years, Opera user for 2 months, FF user for 4 years and Chrome user for 1 day ( ;) ); WinXP user for 7 years and Vista user for 2.5 years
DarkCobra said:
Hi Captain828! Well I don't even know where to begin to respond. As a user of Windows dating all the way back to Windows 3.1 (nearly 20 years) with my recent last several years with FF and sporadic use of Chrome & Opera, I can honestly tell you that I've had more virus/malware issues with IE browsers than anything else hands down. I run very clean machines with great protection software and still I've found the I.E. browsers to be the MOST vulnerable despite all the millions MS threw at them to protect them. As Yukka and I stated this may be greatly because I.E. is where many of the attackers are aiming. Still, I.E. at least for us (and I'm sure many others) has been particularly problematic. As far as INTENTIONALLY introducing poison (virus) into your computer per your above scenario, if you do that on purpose it is indeed most likely going to get sick. However, I would bet that a great many others are going to agree with Yukka and myself that we've found the I.E. browsers to be especially vulnerable to such poison . . . more so than FF, Chrome, etc. There's a good reason why they are growing in popularity and this is one of the reasons. I'm glad your experience has been different. I do mean that. Let's see what some others says on this.
windmill007 said:
I think the reason IE is more vulnerable is because MS won't lock it down as much because they are being paid by advertisers and that's what unfortunately lets the spyware in. The damn ads are everywhere in IE. Like any normal person would every buy from the garbage.
captain828 said:
[b]Originally posted by DarkCobra:[/b][quote]There's a good reason why they are growing in popularity and this is one of the reasons. I'm glad your experience has been different. I do mean that. Let's see what some others says on this.[/quote]that was my opinion... I wasn't saying that it's universal truthimo, IE has lost heavily in popularity because of its stability issues, poor rendering speed, closed source nature and a ton of pop-ups (mostly adds, if not links to malware)
JDoors said:
I still use IE (Sorry programmers!). It works, add-ons eliminate ads and popups, and updates eliminate most malware. I don't do anything problematic so, however long IE has been in existence, I have (touch wood) had few problems, and the few problems I have had are easily remedied (I recall having difficult problems maybe twice in all that time). I rarely have rendering problems with IE (Thank you programmers!). I also have FireFox and like a few features, but not enough to make it my default browser. Actually, it's MISSING a few features I use every day in IE.
DarkCobra said:
Hi again Captain828! Looks like we're on the same page. I kind of feel bad for MS here because the more code they have to write to fend off attackers the larger their defensive wall code gets and consequently the more points of vulnerability to enter that wall arises. It's like the great wall of China. Impressive by all means but almost impossible to defend at every single point due to its massive size. As much as so many of us like the other browsers it would be good if MS remains a major player as well.I would like to see them do what Google just did and toss out the old aging architecture rather than continuously bloating it further in order to salvage it. Reconstructing a totally new fresh platform that is faster, leaner and meaner and designed for a smooth rich multimedia experience should be their focus . . . not trying to salvage an aging code architecture. I know code writers and web designers like myself and slickricky (above) would love to see this happen and I'm sure the end user would as well. Good chatting with ya Captain!
yukka said:
Drive-by-malware is usually associated with IE issues and this is the sort of issue I am more interested in avoiding, being clever enough not to play with executables unless I can identify their origin and purpose. Internet Explorers Protected mode on Vista goes some way to making me feel more confident about using IE (at work I use IE as some of our older web applications dislike Firefox) but at home its Firefox all the way, except for certain sites that aren't compatible.
tengeta said:
Microsoft needs to drop out of the market and choose which one they want to start distributing with their OS by default, its really that simple. It would actually save them pain and effort, IE has always been a security issue as ActiveX just has too many flaws.
oinari said:
I have to agree with Yukka, but then again, to disagree with slickricky, if it weren't for IE, other browsers (namely Firefox) wouldn't be what they are today. So to go so far as to wish its demise would only really hurt the development of other browsers. As, in my opinion, the greatest weakness of Firefox gave rise to what we see in Chrome, and the same for IE and Firefox.I've never used Opera, but I've been getting curious lately. Though, I gotta say, the combination of Firefox and Chrome provides the greatest browsing experience yet. Especially with the 'open in chrome' firefox extension. Magic.
captain828 said:
[b]Originally posted by oinari:[/b][quoteAs, in my opinion, the greatest weakness of Firefox gave rise to what we see in Chrome, and the same for IE and Firefox.[/quote]and that is... ?
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