Internet Explorer usage falls below 50%

By David Goldman, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- For more than a decade, Microsoft's Internet Explorer has been the predominant tool the world uses to connect to the Web, but that's no longer true, according to a Web analytics firm.

StatCounter, which tracks Internet data, said that IE's share of the browser market fell to 49.9% in September. More people still use IE than any other single browser, but the combined market share of non-Microsoft browsers now outpaces IE.

Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) once commanded more than 90% of the browser market, rising to dominance by preloading IE on Windows computers. That sent Netscape, the browser king of the 1990s, tumbling into irrelevancy. It also prompted antitrust suits against Microsoft in both the United States and the European Union, the latter of which forced the company to offer Windows users a list of browsers to choose from when they set up the operating system.

That, along with the fact that other browsers have outpaced IE's innovations, has led Mozilla's Firefox, Google's (GOOG, Fortune 500) Chrome and Apple's (AAPL, Fortune 500) Safari browser to eat away at Microsoft's market share. Internet Explorer's use has been falling steadily over the past several years.

"This is certainly a milestone in the Internet browser wars," said Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter's CEO. "Just two years ago IE dominated the worldwide market with 67%."

Still, online data tracking is a tricky science, with various methods returning different results. Some trackers record browser information based on clicks to a network of client Web sites, which is the main method StatCounter uses. Others use toolbars, ISP data or even surveys to collect the information.

Though the trend is clear across the board, other data trackers show that Internet Explorer is still firmly on top of the browser world. For instance, Net Applications -- which is frequently cited by the browser makers themselves -- shows that IE's market share sits much more comfortably at 59.7%.

Microsoft did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Recognizing that its market share was falling fast, Microsoft recently made the decision to embrace many of the changes and innovations that its rivals produced. Internet Explorer 9, which is currently in public test mode, adds support for an emerging Web standard called HTML5, along with a handful of other advances that will help it keep pace with its fast-improving rivals. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,952.08 147.28 0.83%
Nasdaq 4,778.38 13.00 0.27%
S&P 500 2,077.72 7.07 0.34%
Treasuries 2.16 -0.01 -0.64%
Data as of 3:51pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Gilead Sciences Inc 93.37 -15.08 -13.90%
Bank of America Corp... 17.70 0.08 0.45%
Apple Inc 113.07 1.29 1.15%
Facebook Inc 81.48 1.60 2.00%
General Electric Co 25.74 0.12 0.47%
Data as of 3:37pm ET

Sections

Private equity titan CEO David Rubenstein drops some rhymes in a holiday message to investors. More

Sure you could spend more this holiday, but your better bet is to put the money you save in your 401(k). More

Unilever sued Hampton Creek over its egg-free mayonnaise spread Just Mayo. But the company behind Best Foods and Hellman's mayonnaise has now dropped the lawsuit. More

Retired union workers could see their pensions cut under a controversial new law, but many say they're not sure how they'll make ends meet if big cuts go through. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.