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 16,424.85 162.29 1.00%
Nasdaq 4,086.23 52.07 1.29%
S&P 500 1,862.31 19.33 1.05%
Treasuries 2.64 0.01 0.34%
Data as of 11:00pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.13 -0.26 -1.59%
Facebook Inc 59.72 0.63 1.07%
Yahoo! Inc 36.35 2.14 6.26%
Intel Corp 26.93 0.16 0.60%
Alcoa Inc 13.42 0.37 2.84%
Data as of 4:02pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

The company continues to struggle with convincing marketers to pay as much for mobile ads as they do for desktop ads. More

Indian markets are riding high as investors bet that an election and new administration will cure some of the country's economic ills. More

The company continues to struggle with convincing marketers to pay as much for mobile ads as they do for desktop ads. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

Pamela Knighton, a 51-year-old social worker from Cuthbert, Ga. who earns less than $25,000 a year, had been really looking forward to her $4,300 tax refund last year. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.