Many sites reported today that Internet Explorer's overall market share fell below 50% for the very first time. When it comes to statistics, it always pays to ask for the source so that you can verify what is been claimed by yourself.
All websites who have reported on this have been using StatCounter exclusively (likely one site started it and every other site took "inspiration" from the article and used the same source).
That's fine, but does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that Internet Explorer market's share dropped below 50%. Especially not if you take a look at other web browser market share statistics.
Now, if you take into account other statistics you may come to a different conclusion. Lets take a closer look, shall we.
If you look at the three services that provide web browser market share statistics you notice big differences. W3C for instance recorded the lowest Internet Explorer market share with only 31.1%, and the highest Firefox and Google Chrome market share with 45.1% and 17.3% respectively.
The highest Internet Explorer market share was recorded by NetMarketShare with 59.56%. There is a difference of 28.55% here.
Even if you remove the W3C data you end up with a difference of nearly 10%. If you take a look at individual browser versions you notice that Internet Explorer 8 tops the statistics. Surprisingly, both StatCounter and NetMarketShare see the market share of Internet Explorer 8 around 29% followed by Firefox 3.6.
So what can we take from the statistics? Internet Explorer's market share is still dropping, affecting Internet Explorer 6 and 7. Internet Explorer 8 on the other hand increases its market share. Firefox appears to be very stagnant showing virtually no movement at all in one way or the other while Chrome is the only browser with an overall upwards trend.
Both Opera and Safari do not seem to be able to get any momentum going. Then again, those statistics are only interesting for webmasters, marketing people and some companies.
They do raise some interesting questions though. Will Internet Explorer's market share drop further, and can Microsoft stop the downwards trend with the release of Internet Explorer 9? Can Mozilla break the stagnation with Firefox 4, or will it divide the Firefox community? Will Chrome continue to rise, or will it reach stagnation at one point as well. And what about the contenders Opera and Safari, what can they do to increase their market share?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.