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Internet Explorer Slips below 40% Market Share in 2011

By - Source: StatCounter | B 29 comments

IE has ended another year with a huge slide in market share. Google's Chrome posted record growth.

According to StatCounter, IE had a huge drop in usage and fell 1.98 points from 40.63 percent to 38.65 percent share. At first sight that is dramatic, but at a closer look, the drop fits nicely into the average, slightly slowing drop of IE share over the past year. In November, IE's share was somewhat inflated, likely due to a massive advertising campaign. That campaign ran out in December and IE continued to drop. Microsoft sees it differently and ignores IE share overall, but focuses on Windows 7, where IE9 is the most popular browser globally and in the U.S. Across all operating systems, however, we know that Chrome leads the charge.

Chrome, making a huge jump in December, was up 1.58 points or 6.15 percent to 27.27 percent, which gives it a 2 point lead over Firefox. December was the strongest month of growth for Chrome ever and concluded a year in which Google gained a staggering 42.5 percent of market share (11.59 points). Firefox halted its declined and gained 0.04 points to 25.27 percent. there were only two months in 2011 in which Firefox gained market share. Overall, Firefox dropped by 5.41 points and gave up 21.4 percent of its usage share.

The 6-month trend of browser market share indicates that IE losses are accelerating (IE lost 3.82 points in H2 versus 3.53 points in H2), while Mozilla's losses are somewhat stable (2.68 points in H2 versus 2.73 points in H1). The introduction of silent updates for IE in H1 of 2012 and the launch Windows 8 will be critical events for Microsoft and largely determine how low IE's share can sink. Google will more and more rely on advertising campaigns to support Chrome growth and could gain substantially more share if Chrome OS shows signs of success. Mozilla's future is unclear, but we know that it will receive about $1 billion from Google in royalties funding that it can use to invest in its browsers and fix problem areas such as its current rapid release cycle implementation as well as feature delays.

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    BlackHawk91 , January 3, 2012 6:12 PM
    [insert comment about why the browser I use is better than the others]
  • 13 Hide
    spookyman , January 3, 2012 6:50 PM
    ta152hIt looks like Safari will be the only one standing besides Chrome the way things are going. Stable market share loss isn't a good thing, even if Microsoft's situation is worse. With Apple continuing to eat into Microsoft's OS market share, Safari should keep gaining market share, but Firefox and IE might be joining Opera soon if they don't find a way to reverse things.


    I doubt you will see Apple ever eat into the Microsoft's 95% of OS share on the PC market. Microsoft's biggest buyer of their products happens to be corporations.
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    clonazepam , January 3, 2012 5:23 PM
    I used to use IE. Then I switched to Firefox for the ad blocking. I still had a lot of problems with a large percentage of pages not rendering properly. Now Im using the latest version of Chrome with all the same add-ons like adblock plus and better popup blocker. I'm never going back.
  • 0 Hide
    Dyseman , January 3, 2012 5:30 PM
    ^^^ Ditto
  • 2 Hide
    Intel_Hydralisk , January 3, 2012 5:33 PM
    I use chrome for personal use at home.

    I have to use IE for work related stuff, but I always have chrome open as well at work for browsing the web.

    IE9 really isn't that bad though.
  • 0 Hide
    kcorp2003 , January 3, 2012 5:49 PM
    It was tomshardware that convince me to use chrome before that i used opera. (still my personal favorite)
  • 16 Hide
    BlackHawk91 , January 3, 2012 6:12 PM
    [insert comment about why the browser I use is better than the others]
  • 4 Hide
    zenmaster , January 3, 2012 6:22 PM
    While some Windows Users are switching from IE, I suspect the largest reason for Chrome's large increase are Android Devices, which I believe will report themselves as Chrome. I would find the article far more informative if it included OS Market Share for Web Browsing as well as Browser share for different Operating Systems. Such data would most likely indicate that browsing on Mobile/Tablet devices has Skyrocketed vs Windows Laptop/Desktop usage to a far greater degree than users migrating from IE to other browsers. This would indicate that the issue for IE and Microsoft is far less a "Browser War" than it is a need for Microsoft to succeed on the upcoming Web Platforms of Mobile Devices and Tablet Devices.
  • 2 Hide
    asiaprime , January 3, 2012 6:27 PM
    I'm a little curious as to the breakdown of versions of ie. especially since xp is stuck with ie8.
  • 1 Hide
    igot1forya , January 3, 2012 6:27 PM
    "They have the internet on computers now?" - Homer Simpson
  • 2 Hide
    aznjoka , January 3, 2012 6:45 PM
    despite the 2% range my Opera does me good every day.
  • 13 Hide
    spookyman , January 3, 2012 6:50 PM
    ta152hIt looks like Safari will be the only one standing besides Chrome the way things are going. Stable market share loss isn't a good thing, even if Microsoft's situation is worse. With Apple continuing to eat into Microsoft's OS market share, Safari should keep gaining market share, but Firefox and IE might be joining Opera soon if they don't find a way to reverse things.


    I doubt you will see Apple ever eat into the Microsoft's 95% of OS share on the PC market. Microsoft's biggest buyer of their products happens to be corporations.
  • 4 Hide
    house70 , January 3, 2012 7:02 PM
    ta152hIt looks like Safari will be the only one standing besides Chrome the way things are going. Stable market share loss isn't a good thing, even if Microsoft's situation is worse. With Apple continuing to eat into Microsoft's OS market share, Safari should keep gaining market share, but Firefox and IE might be joining Opera soon if they don't find a way to reverse things.

    It seems you're looking at that graphic wrong (Job's legacy, maybe)... One can only see Safari flat-lining along Opera at the bottom. If you see that as market gain, then I have a bridge to sell you.
  • 5 Hide
    rawful , January 3, 2012 7:10 PM
    Naturally, as one browser rises, another one will have to fall. Firefox is dropping, but the majority of shares that chrome is gaining is from IE. If anything, Firefox is amazingly stable in this situation.
  • 2 Hide
    mrdoubleb , January 3, 2012 9:13 PM
    zenmasterWhile some Windows Users are switching from IE, I suspect the largest reason for Chrome's large increase are Android Devices, which I believe will report themselves as Chrome. I would find the article far more informative if it included OS Market Share for Web Browsing as well as Browser share for different Operating Systems. Such data would most likely indicate that browsing on Mobile/Tablet devices has Skyrocketed vs Windows Laptop/Desktop usage to a far greater degree than users migrating from IE to other browsers. This would indicate that the issue for IE and Microsoft is far less a "Browser War" than it is a need for Microsoft to succeed on the upcoming Web Platforms of Mobile Devices and Tablet Devices.


    Zenmaster is raising an interesting point there! Could be true!

    Also, what about those applications which install Chrome by default, unless you go for a custom install? Have you updated Adobe Flash player recently? Guess what, it does that too! Wonder how many people have Chrome because of these bundles. (Of course, they have to keep using it once it's installed, to get into these statistics. Still, I find these sneaky bundles repulsive).
  • 0 Hide
    Ninja Pants , January 3, 2012 9:18 PM
    Unfortunately you still need to use IE to download Chrome otherwise there would be no use for it in the personal world. However IE is unlikely to continue to drop at that rate due to its saturation in the business world and there are good reasons for this, as such one would expect Firefox to continue to fall.

    All I care about is some standardisation! Or secretly hoping one takes full control of the market so we don't need to be designing for 4 different (sorry Opera) browsers every time we want to develop an application for the web.
  • 0 Hide
    RogueKitsune , January 3, 2012 10:05 PM
    Ninja PantsUnfortunately you still need to use IE to download Chrome otherwise there would be no use for it in the personal world.


    This is why we have USB drives with Firefox/Chrome/Opera installers on them so we never should have to touch the vile-ness that is IE :p 

    But in all seriousness I haven't really used IE since IE 6/7. So there may have been lots of improvement since then, but the early days left a bitter taste so I doubt I will willing use IE ever again. Chrome is nice but there is no x64 build of it that i can find. So I am sticking to firefox x64 for the foreseeable future. ^_^
  • 1 Hide
    killabanks , January 3, 2012 10:44 PM
    i love chrome but i love my privacy even more firefox for life :D 
  • -4 Hide
    ta152h , January 3, 2012 11:07 PM
    house70It seems you're looking at that graphic wrong (Job's legacy, maybe)... One can only see Safari flat-lining along Opera at the bottom. If you see that as market gain, then I have a bridge to sell you.


    You know, you're absolutely right! That is, if you think increasing market share by 50% (from 4 to 6) in less than 18 months is flat-lining.

    Apple keeps creeping up, like that fungus on your back.
  • 4 Hide
    xerroz , January 3, 2012 11:10 PM
    I guess you gotta hand it to Google for pushing their browser...just about every free piece of software out on the internet asks you to install and since 90% of people just click next next next finish, I can see how Chrome is on the top.
  • -3 Hide
    ta152h , January 3, 2012 11:17 PM
    spookymanI doubt you will see Apple ever eat into the Microsoft's 95% of OS share on the PC market. Microsoft's biggest buyer of their products happens to be corporations.


    I hate to tell you this, but Apple is, and has been taking market share from Microsoft for quite some time. There was a time they were less than 2%, but year after year they keep eating Microsoft alive. My guess is they will keep doing it for a few more percentages, because Apple never wants a big market share (because it implies a price that would allow that), but even the 4% or so Apple has taken from Microsoft hurts, bad. That's 4% of a HUGE market, and the trend keeps continuing, even as the PC becomes a smaller component (with tablets and smart phones taking up a greater portion the last few years) of the market.

    I would expect Apple's top market share to be around 10%, maybe less. But, with smart phones and tablets, a place Microsoft can't compete in, it's clear Apple is gaining in a lot of directions.

    Without Jobs though, it might reverse. Tablets might fade like netbooks. iPhone is probably safe for a while, but without Jobs it may lose what makes it special, and lose market share. The Mac seems the safest, since it's very reliable (wins year after year), very attractive (I saw a server today, and thought how attractive it was, and then saw the Apple logo. They just get that part right), and also has huge "chic" appeal to hipsters.

    Microsoft has nowhere to go but down. In processors, we have excellence. In OS's, we have Microsoft's pathetic, bloated, buggy rubbish, or Apple's overpriced, Unix-based, also bloated, rubbish. We need a third party. It's hard to enter, but the competition is really weak.
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