Internet Explorer Continues To Bleed Market Share; Chrome Picking It Up

My, how the mighty have fallen. It wasn't long ago that Internet Explorer simply dominated the Internet. Everyone used it be default, and no other browser came close in terms of market share. IE was so powerful that the European Union banded together and forced Microsoft to insert a Browser Selection Screen on all new copies of Windows 7, and we wouldn't be surprised if other nations followed suit.

Since then, a number of worthy competitors have not only hit the market, but gained serious steam. Mozilla's Firefox has become a huge player, and Google's Chrome has grown faster than pretty much any other unconventional Web browser in the history of the space. The newest data from Net Applications is rather shocking, particularly for those who felt that IE8 would turn things around for Microsoft. In the browser arena, it seems that ground is lost very quickly once competition rolls into town and people start leaving. It's much like a mass exodus.

Since IE8's launch in March of 2009, the browser has lost nearly 9 points of market share, most of which was gained by Google's Chrome. As of last month, Internet explorer held just 59.95% of the overall browser market share, which is 0.69 points less than the month before. Firefox gained 0.07 points during April 2010 (rising to 24.59% overall), while Chrome rose 0.6 points (rising to 6.73% overall). Apple's Safari browser inched up 0.06 points to 4.72% overall, while Opera lost 0.07 points and had an estimated share of just 2.30%.

StatCounter's numbers for the same month are somewhat different (showing IE’s market share at 51.42%, Firefox at 32.62%, Chrome at 8.82%, Safari at 4.27% and Opera at 1.99%), but one thing syncs between the two: IE is losing market share fast, while Chrome is gaining it quickly. The numbers also show that Firefox users tend to be quite loyal, with very little churn between one version to the next.

Still, Microsoft is playing for keeps with the impending release of IE9, and if Apple continues their rampage against Flash, IE9's HTML5 capabilities might just help it to see the very uptick in usage in quite some time. So, how do you feel about this? Are you still hanging onto IE? Can't turn away from the plug-ins available for Firefox? It'll be interesting to revisit this topic in 3-5 years; we're guessing that Microsoft will continue to lose, while Chrome and Firefox continue to gain, making it more of a 3-horse race rather than a 1-horse race. Hopefully we won't have to eat too much crow.