| By Woody Leonhard |
In spite of Microsoft’s built-in advantage — outside of Europe, every new copy of Windows comes with Internet Explorer set as the default browser — IE’s market share continues to fall.
I’ll show you what’s happening and offer some explanations. I’ll also leave you with a few recommendations that may surprise you.
Watching IE’s market share start to drop
Market-research firm Net Applications publishes monthly Web-browser market-share statistics. You have to take the numbers with a grain of salt — nobody can say with any certainty which browser is the most popular or how often each browser is used.
Net Applications, though, is in a better position than many because this company has counters installed with their web-analytics packages: webmasters use its web-analytics software to analyze their sites. Net Applications collects and aggregates information on about 160,000,000 site hits per month. The statistics may not be accurate in an overall sense — Billy Joe Bob’s Best Browser may well be used on a zillion sites that don’t run Net Applications monitors — but the numbers are replicable, month to month.
Many people who pore over the Net Applications numbers start sounding like diviners debating the details of chicken entrails. Personally, I don’t give market variations of less than one-tenth of a percent any credence, and hundredths of a percent merit no consideration at all. That said, in the past year, we’ve witnessed a substantial downswing in Internet Explorer market share, as you can see in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Internet Explorer’s total market share shows a substantial, sustained decline over the past year.