Microsoft losing browser share as IE9 gains traction

New data from Net Applications suggests that while Microsoft’s overall share of the worldwide Web browser market continues to shrink, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users are increasingly embracing Internet Explorer 9. According to Net Applications, Internet Explorer 9 accounted for some 7.46 percent of all Internet Explorer users during the month of April—and for the last day of April that share measured almost 10 percent. The figure is more than double Internet Explorer 9’s usage during March, which measured some 3.6 percent.

Net Applications browser share (April 2011)

However, at the same time, Microsoft’s overall share of the browser market continues to slip, dropping from 55.9 percent in March to 55.1 percent in April across all versions of Internet Explorer. Overall, Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari browser outpaced the overall growth in the Web, with Chrome stepping up from an 11.6 percent share in March to 11.9 percent in April, and Apple’ Safari growing from 6.6 percent to 7.2 percent in the same time period. Mozilla Firefox dropped a bit from 21.8 percent to 21.6 percent—despite the introduction of Firefox 4—but continues to have a commanding lead on the number-two position behind Internet Explorer. Overall, Firefox accounted for 5.4 percent of the Web browser market.

Collectively across all versions, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer continues to dominate the browser market, and while over 33 percent of Internet users in April were using IE8, nearly 11 percent worldwide were still using Internet Explorer 6, a decade-old version of the browser notorious for poor standards support and security loopholes. Although Microsoft is outright pleading with users to upgrade to a more-modern browser, Internet Explorer 6 remains a significant impediment to new Web standards and developing modern Web services—even though an increasing number of high-profile sites and services are no longer supporting IE6. Microsoft itself isn’t help matters in some ways: Internet Explorer 9 does not support Windows XP.