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Is IE Usage Share Collapsing? 575

Posted by kdawson
from the war-rejoined dept.
je ne sais quoi writes "Net Applications normally releases its statistics for browser and operating system usage share on the first of every month. This month, however, the data has not shown up — only a cryptic message stating they are reviewing the data for inexplicable statistical variations and that it will be available soon. Larry Dignan at ZDNet has a blog post that might explain what is happening: Statcounter has released some data that shows a precipitous drop in IE browser use in North America, to the benefit of Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. At the end of May, StatCounter shows IE usage share (for versions 6, 7, and 8 combined) at around 64%; at the beginning of June it is now about 56% — an astounding 8% drop in one month. We should keep in mind the difficulties in estimating browser usage share: this could very well be a change in how browsers report themselves, or some other statistical anomaly. So it will probably be healthy to remain skeptical until trend this is confirmed by other organizations. Have any of you seen drops in IE usage share for Web-sites you administer?"
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Is IE Usage Share Collapsing?

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  • typo in summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:04PM (#28613949)
    Hi there, submitter here. I left a typographical error in the summary. "in the beginning of June" should read "in the beginning of July". Oops, sorry about that.
  • by MadFarmAnimalz (460972) * on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:06PM (#28613975) Homepage
    More interestingly, you can really see that the new key markets strategy the Spread Firefox campaign has kicked off is really paying off [statcounter.com].
  • by seramar (655396) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:06PM (#28613977) Homepage
    ...could explain this, at least partially. All things combined and considered I am not suprised that IE is accounting for only 56% of browsers reported. Were we limited to desktop only, that might be different.
    • by badasscat (563442) <`basscadet75' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:21PM (#28614233)

      My stats only count desktop browsers and I am at 52.4% for all versions of IE. And I don't run a tech-heavy site or anything, I run a site selling Japanese clothes. (http://www.tokyorebel.com)

      Firefox 3.0 is at 35.6%, 3.5 is at a surprising 0.6%, but then it's new. (And thank God, because some of my CSS is totally messed up in 3.5.)

      Actually now that I'm looking, I do have a stat that says "iPhone" which is at 0.2%.

      • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:29PM (#28614341)

        The perception of myself (and finally! lately!) my non-technical friends...

        is that using IE
        a) has a ton of obnoxious ads- some are loud- some take over the screen.
        b) is like walking around with a huge "kick me" sign on.
        c) is frustrating because of the lack of many useful plugins (where would I get all these glorious HD Videos-- FINALLY "Blues Travellor" without firefox).
        d) is frustrating because "they" own your browser-- not you. It's behavior serves "them", not you.

        But mainly the virus/kick me thing.

        After my bud clicked on a link (just a frikkin link!) on the yahoo message boards, he had to reinstall his entire computer!?!?!

        With Firefox, Flashblock and Noscript- you are pretty darn safe.

        Chrome got a lot of press- and to be honest, I've been looking at Safari myself. (once you break yourself of IE, you ask-- okay, but is there something else EVEN better than this?)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by IntlHarvester (11985) *

        The important number is not so much the current percentage, but what the rate of change is. I've seen sites where IE has held steady at 80% and sites where it was never over 30%.

        The story shows an 8% IE drop in a single month, which is so huge that it has to be a change in the sample size or methodology. Just as an example, at an old job we used the Omniture analytics service. They signed up Apple Computer to their service, and instantly the "internet" stats for OS X went from 3% to 12%.

      • by PaintyThePirate (682047) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:57PM (#28614739) Homepage
        You think that's something? I host a SpongeBob fansite, and even it has 40.38% for Firefox and 47.90% for IE from June 6th to July 6th.

        Looking at the data for the same period in previous years, I'm seeing:
        2008: 63.26% IE and 31.49% Firefox
        2007: 72.85% IE and 23.22% Firefox
        2006: 77.60% IE and 17.77% Firefox

        That's with 20,000+ visits in each period, so it's more than just noise.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by asa (33102)
      All mobile browsing combined probably doesn't break 1% of Web usage. The chances that any large-scale swing has anything to do with mobile browsing are very, very, very slim.
  • My statistics (Score:4, Informative)

    by GoNINzo (32266) <GoNINzo@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:11PM (#28614055) Journal
    I run a somewhat largish non-technology site, and I saw yesterday:
    40.91% MSIE 7.0
    27.11% MSIE 6.0
    14.60% Mozilla/5.0
    12.98% MSIE 8.0

    Everything else below .1%. So that's 81% MSIE, 14.6% Mozilla, and everything else in the remaining 4.4%.
    • Re:My statistics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by panaceaa (205396) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:14PM (#28614131) Homepage Journal

      Does your web site not work on Safari or are you reading your statistics wrong?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by spyka (1127127)
      I run a tech-related site, so Firefox does have an above average share but no major changes in share month to month:

      Firefox:
      June 6, 2009 - July 6, 2009 63.55%
      May 6, 2009 - June 5, 2009 63.77%

      Internet Explorer
      June 6, 2009 - July 6, 2009 20.83%
      May 6, 2009 - June 5, 2009 21.68%

      Opera
      June 6, 2009 - July 6, 2009 5.86%
      May 6, 2009 - June 5, 2009 6.48%

      Chrome
      June 6, 2009 - July 6, 2009 5.62%
      May 6, 2009 - June 5, 2009 5.07%

      Safari
      June 6, 2009 -
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Intron (870560)

        My stats show an increase in IE 7 at the expense of IE 6 but not much else. Also many spiders like msnbot.

        I wonder if some of the stats change is due to Bing? That might change the mix of browsers going to some sites.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Gospodin (547743)
        FWIW, my stats over the past 6 months (plus 5 days of July):

        Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul (partial)
        IE 82.2 80.7 79.6 77.2 78.1 77.3 75.3
        Firefox 11.9 13.4 14.3 15.8 14.0 14.6 15.5
        Safari
  • No drop off here (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:11PM (#28614057)

    We've seen no major drop off, just a steady and slow decline. We track over 15 million users a day across the sites we manage here in the UK (mainly council properties).

  • by timtux (1203162) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:12PM (#28614089) Homepage
    Couldn't it just be that all the geeks are running firefox/opera/chrome and everyone else is outside in the nice weather?
  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:13PM (#28614103)

    There are a few sites where IE 6.0 displays things badly because the web master stopped kludging for it.

    Slashdot.org
    some parts of Google.
    (Help me here!)

    Joe-six paks noticed this and has found out that he has options...

  • by asa (33102) <asa@mozilla.com> on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:13PM (#28614123) Homepage

    If you look at the longterm trends reported by Net Applcations, something that StatCounter doesn't offer, it's hard to conclude that anything dramatic has just happened.

    http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2009/06/historical_view.html

    These longer trends are steady and smooth and there's nothing that's happened in the last couple of months that would cause IE to fall off the cliff.

    That being said, there is a lot of churn in the various browser versions. IE is really a collection of browsers with measurable share, IE 6, IE 7, and IE 8. Looking at these versions, it's clear that a lot is happening.

    http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2009/07/a_browser_prediction.html

    It's likely that IE 7 and IE 6 will fall to under 10% global share by the end of this year and that IE 8 will grow to approximately 40%. That would give IE 60% overall, Firefox about 25%, Safari about 10%, and "other" would hold the remaining 5%.

  • Skeptical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:14PM (#28614127) Homepage Journal

    So it will probably be healthy to remain skeptical until trend this is confirmed by other organizations.

    Especially after all the breathless "Firefox is taking over" stories on Slashdot, submitted by fanboys every time there's a spike in downloads (like after a release!) or the browser's market share gains a tiny fraction of a percent.

    Mind you, I'm really glad to see that we're finally getting some serious competition in the browser marketplace. But before you congratulate yourselves too much, send a psychic "Thanks for Shooting Yourselves in the Foot!" to Steve and Bill. Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera all have real advantages, but none of these would have overcome IE's big advantage: being the default browser on the desktop OS that owns 90% of its market. The only thing that could have overcome that advantage is not the advantages of the competition, but the extreme crappiness of IE itself.

  • 1% maybe... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mwhahaha (172475) <mwhahaha@nospAm.vt.edu> on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:14PM (#28614135)

    On the two sites I have access to for this info IE dropped about 1% for May vs June. One site (~19M visitors a month) it was 57.91% vs 56.64%. The other (~132M visitors) it was 60.17% vs 59.40%. I always question these sort of numbers because browser usage is very closely tied with demographics, and I wonder just what sites are they using to get them...

  • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:21PM (#28614231) Journal

    Not only would this change be welcome, but it would force Microsoft to "play ball" with the standards for HTML rather than roll their own and mark all the bug reports "will not fix".

    Take a look at the history:

    1) Microsoft is all about selling stuff on CD-ROM with the marketing vision "Information at your fingertips".

    2) The Internet happens, and overnight, Netscape is a raving success because it actually PUT information at your fingertips.

    3) Billy boy issues a memo to the whole company to turn as fast as possible to support the Internetz.

    4) IE comes out - first a sucktacular mess, and finally almost livable around IE 5 or so.

    5) IE 6 comes out, Netscape crumbles.

    6) Netscape goes underground at AOL who throws a few developers at it while using it to negotiate a link on the Desktop. IE Dominates so tremendously that it's the platform of choice simply because it's installed everywhere.

    7) Microsoft stops doing anything for half a decade. (whistle whistle)

    8) Navigator continuously improves, finally re-emerging as Phoenix/Firefox. Suddenly, Microsoft's browser looks like a 5-year-old pile of cruft that's difficult to program for.

    Suddenly, Microsoft will give a shiat. They might finally fix the things that developers!developers!developers! have been whining, bitching, complaining, and screaming about all these years.

    Irony: "Free Internet Exporer 8" ad at the top while I type this message!

  • by kenh (9056) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:21PM (#28614243) Homepage Journal

    First, the MJ factor - these stats my be low, but I bet they will rise again once all the web-surfing born-again Michael Jackson fans are reflected in the stats for July.

    Also, the summer factor is huge - at $WORK (Public school district) we have over 1,000 windows boxes that are now sitting idle through August, their IE 7 and IE 8 browsers aren't flipping through the most popular websites anymore. There are likely MILLIONS and MILLIONS of idle Windows machines at Universities and public schools skewing the stats down for IE 6, 7, and 8.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nschubach (922175)

      Plenty of time to go install FF3.5 on all those machines so the students will enjoy working in the lab again... ;)

  • by Enleth (947766) <enleth@enleth.com> on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:32PM (#28614393) Homepage

    That's for a major Polish website devoted to a popular, long-running game series. The userbase is indeed a little more tech-conscious than the average Internet user around here, but not by much - just a few power gamers and techies, lots of "casuals". Nevertheless, IE was at ~70% in 2004, ~50% in 2005 and so on down to ~25% in the late 2008 and ~20% now. Right now it's kind of stabilizing (but still falling) and I don't forsee it falling below 15% anytime soon, but I'm starting to suspect that by the end of the year, Opera might overtake it (16% and rising, mostly ex-Firefox users right now).

    We're not actively doing anything anti-IE or pro-FF/Opera (well, maybe except that IE is getting all the CSS/JS bugfixes lats, but that's *because* it's so low in the stats - we can afford letting the IE support lag behind), so it's mostly an outside trend, I think.

    All the statistics I'm basing this post on were generated by Google Analytics, by the way.

  • Hmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by trifish (826353) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:37PM (#28614465)

    Or maybe NetApps just came up with a creative way to earn more money from ads by delaying the release and having people come back every day for one week to check if the data is already there...

    Well, why not. It's ok. But let's not misinterpret that.

  • by Xtifr (1323) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:42PM (#28614535) Homepage

    W3 Schools [w3schools.com] which has an admitted alternate-browser bias does not show any sort of abrupt drop-off for IE, and if anywhere were going to, I would think it would be this site. In fact, it shows Firefox dropping for the first time since September of last year (when Chrome was initially released), but only half a percentage point. IE7 is losing ground to IE8 rather quickly, but IE6 actually gained a half a percentage point since May. Chrome is also up another half a point, and nothing else really had enough movement to be worth mentioning (Safari up a tenth, Opera down a tenth).

  • My Stats Disagree (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bill Dimm (463823) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:43PM (#28614541) Homepage

    The stats for MagPortal.com [magportal.com] (should be fairly unbiased) are not showing a drop in MSIE of that magnitude. Here is a comparison going from the last week in May to the first week in July:

    MSIE: 66.10% -> 64.34%
    Firefox: 25.71% -> 27.41%
    Safari: 5.90% -> 5.61%
    Chrome: 2.29% -> 2.65%

  • by BlackCreek (1004083) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:52PM (#28614663)

    What I really would like to see is the browser share of the Slashdot logs.

    • by selven (1556643) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @05:41PM (#28615241)
      Internet Explorer: 0.37%
      Firefox: 13.45%
      Safari: 4.23%
      Chrome: 6.97%
      Lynx: 22.43%
      Self-created web browser: 23.12%
      No browser - reading HTML directly: 14.22%
      No browser - interpreting modem signals directly: 15.21%
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Eberlin (570874)
        CowboyNeal Reads Slashdot Stories To Me (and also does my math): 40.33%
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by salesgeek (263995)

        These numbers are faked. If your stats were accurate exactly 11.7% would be showing Emacs/w3m. Of course, you cold just be a jealous vi user who has no web browser or Rogue client built in to your text editor.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Eevee (535658)
        No browser - use wget to mail the page back: 0.00001%
  • by genghisjahn (1344927) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:57PM (#28614741) Homepage
    ...for my blog. 100% of all hits are Chrome, but that may be because I am the only person who reads it. I'm still doing analysis before I release a full report on the statistics....check my blog for more details.
  • So? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MikeURL (890801) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @08:42PM (#28616735) Journal
    I sometimes wonder why MS even needs a browser. The time when they could leverage that kind of thing into profits are long gone. If eveyone started to use Firefox tomorrow would MS even take a revenue hit? I tend not to think so given how puny their share of search is.
  • by number6x (626555) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @09:18PM (#28616953)

    The drop in IE use is probably inversely proportional to the rise in unemployment.

    With millions of people being laid off work, they are surfing at home and using sensible browsers.

    Only people surfing at work get stuck using IE. My current gig is still using IE6!

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