Microsoft's Internet Explorer just turned three years old.
Released on March 19, 2009, it has turned into the browser that is largely ignored by its developer. According to StatCounter, IE8 holds almost 17 percent of market share, only second to Chrome 17 with 27.12 percent. IE8 still has the lead over IE9 (14 percent), which was released a little over a year ago and is only available for Windows Vista SP2, and Windows 7.
IE8 is likely to turn into another IE6 problem even as Microsoft is updating IE8 with a silent update feature around the world. IE8 has no hardware acceleration or HTML5 capabilities and therefore not important to Microsoft from platform point of view. In its browser reports, Microsoft only refers to IE9 as its browser and will only talk about the success it has under Windows 7.
What has made IE8 a fascinating browser from a statistics point of view is the fact that Microsoft has cut off its users from an upgrade path. Those who still use Windows XP will need to upgrade to Chrome or Firefox (or Opera or Safari) to enjoy HTML5 features. It almost seems as if IE8 has been accepted by Microsoft as a painful, but decisive cut that transitions its users to an HTML5-only user base for Windows 7 and Windows 8 applications.
According to its own website, IE6 is still at about 7.1 percent market share globally. IE was released in 2001 and replaced with IE7 in 2006. IE8 has been replaced in March of 2011 by IE9. How long will IE8 be with us until its market share becomes insignificant?