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StatCounter Blasts Microsoft's Claim About IE Still Being the Number 1 Browser 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the browser-election-recount dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Do you remember when Microsoft tried to claim that Internet Explorer was still the most-used browser by accusing StatCounter of using a flawed methodology? Well, StatCounter has just posted a response that walks through a number of errors and omissions in Microsoft's reasoning. They (rather politely) explain the importance of sample size, discuss the value of page view counts versus unique visitor counts, and explain the difference between their methodology and that of Net Applications."
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StatCounter Blasts Microsoft's Claim About IE Still Being the Number 1 Browser

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  • Ok... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So if we're going to defend their browser stas then we're also going to stop denying their stats at show Linux has about 1-2% marketshare, right?

    • Re:Ok... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @04:04PM (#40375081)

      That seems about right for linux desktop market share. Who is claiming it is not?

      Now claiming that includes all the servers out there can't be right.

      • Slashdot. [slashdot.org]

        • Slashdot. [slashdot.org]

          "Microsoft Sees Linux As Bigger Competitor Than Apple"

          "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed a slide showing, from Microsoft's internal analysis, that Linux client use is clearly ahead of Apple's."

          When the fuck did Slashdot become exactly equivalent to Microsoft? I thought this was still a second-hand tech article aggregator and instant DDoS machine.

      • by Flytrap (939609)
        For every Intel server sold (irrespective of operating system) there are simply thousands of PCs sold. It further doesn't help that the vast majority of servers are generally not used to surf the web, while most PCs are... which will further deflate the number or Linux servers counted by services such as StatCounter.

        So, from a unit count perspective, I hardly doubt that including the number of servers running Linux in the count is going to make a noticeable dent in the Linux market share statistic.

        Ser
        • Re:Ok... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @05:37PM (#40376829) Journal

          Well, if you want to be pedantic, for ever PC sold these days, there are simply thousands of embedded devices sold - a market which is pretty much owned by Linux and *nix variants.

          As for how many browse online? Hard to say, though most if not all the Android installs do.

      • by Gerzel (240421)

        Wish there was a way to get good numbers of actual linux users vs windows vs mac users.

        For one thing you have to also take into account cross over. I use linux on my personal machines. However I also have windows installs on vms and have windows machines I use at work and school.

        Then again if you're talking about computers with a modern OS I'd be willing to bet that some form of the Unix family is on the vast majority of computers.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That seems about right for linux desktop market share. Who is claiming it is not?

        That would not seem about right and by any reasonable estimate is FAR too small. You must literally know nothing about Linux market share or even the commonly accepted, uber conservative numbers which are half a decade old. Even Valve and Unitity now estimates the Linux desktop to be *10%*, which is far, far larger than the commonly accepted and known to be too conservative value of 4%. Furthermore, more accurate numbers, several years old at this point, place it at roughly 1%-2% behind that of Apple. So bl

        • by LingNoi (1066278)

          > Let's face it, major game companies, game engine companies, and distribution companies are not going to bother with a mere fraction of 2% of the market.

          Yeah, I guess that's why the unity game engine just released linux support...

        • by Bert64 (520050)

          Well, 2% of the market is still a huge number of users...
          It's also an area of the market that currently has very little competition, so you would sell proportionally more units.
          And finally, making a port is considerably easier than writing from scratch... It may not be viable to write a game from scratch for this smaller market, but since a game is already written the additional effort of porting it may well be worth it. Especially if there's already a mac port, or if you make a half assed port using wine.

      • Who is claiming it is not?

        Microsoft.

        In February 2009, Steve Ballmer of Microsoft presented a slide based on Microsoft's research; while it showed no figures, the pie chart depicted Linux and Apple as each having roughly 5–6% of home and business PCs.

    • by the_B0fh (208483)

      if Apple has 350 million iOS and Google has as many Androids, just how many fucking Windows PCs are there in the world?

      700 million is a significant fraction of whatever number of PCs in the world...

  • MSucks can suck iEggs.

    My web site stat counter proves that Macintosh PowerBooks running Safari 4.1.1 are the most common machines and browser combination. The evidence is right there in the logs. Virtually no IE usage at all. Just once in a while when I test that a new page renders properly in IE.

    Statistically significant sample sets are raaather important. :)

  • by Corson (746347)
    So, the pissing contest is still going on? Who would have thought.
    • by Jeng (926980)

      The pissing contest will stop once everyone is done pissing. Since the pissing will never stop there will be no stop to the pissing contest.

      As long as there are browsers there will be someone who cares which one is used the most.

  • Sample size (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @04:02PM (#40375047)

    237 out of 237 Microsoft employees recommend Internet Explorer

    • by devitto (230479)

      Well, even that is unbelievable, have you actually tried to USE Internet Explorer ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DECula (6113) *

      I wonder how many bots are using IE user agent strings this week.

  • the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election...
  • What's the actual truth?

    You see, SC comes up with a moderately intelligent article that does seem, in the face of it, to address the points Microsoft addresses.

    And yet, virtually anyone who administers a public website can tell you that SC's original figures are complete crap. IE most certainly is the most popular browser right now. And Chome is third place. Not second. Definitely not first.

    SC can continue to push this ludicrous crap if they want. But their figures are laughable, and they'd be bette

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>> anyone who administers a public website can tell you that SC's original figures are complete crap. IE most certainly is the most popular browser right now. And Chome is third place.

      Citation please. Your sample size is what? 1?

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by squiggleslash (241428)

        GA reports, that of the 506,682 people who visited the sites run by my employer in the last month:

        28.29% used IE 9
        25.70% used IE 8
        14.61% used Firefox 12.0
        5.39% used Chrome 19.0.1084.52
        4.33% used IE 7 (thank God.)
        3.07% used Safari 534.57.2
        2.56% used Android Browser 533.1
        2.45% used Firefox 13.0
        1.27% used Chrome 19.0.1084.46, and 1.25% used Chrome 19.0.1084.56

        Removing version numbers:

        IE: 58.63$
        Firefox: 21.38%
        Chrome: 8.88%
        Safari: 7.52%

        The fact that our site of HALF A MILLION USERS is getting

        • by oakgrove (845019)
          That's still a sample size of 1 though. What is your site about? If you were running a site about the latest Apple rumors then you would expect lots of Safari visitors, if the site is some kind of business vertical then you would expect lots of IE. If it is a site like Slashdot with a large tech literate contingent you would expect lots of Chrome and Firefox.
          • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

            by squiggleslash (241428)

            That's a sample size of a little over half a million, not one.

            My employer, FWIW, is a publisher of financial advice. We're not targeting geeks (specifically) or any other group. While I'd expect the figures to be slightly skewed, I'd say they're likely to be closer to normal than, say, some Slashdotter's blog.

            • by oakgrove (845019) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @04:59PM (#40376089)
              The stats from just one website, in this case your employer's, are meaningless. I'm not sure what combination of words I have to use to make it plain to you why that is the case. Is English your first language as I can give it a shot in some other tongue if that is necessary.
              • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

                by squiggleslash (241428) *

                Actually, don't bother responding to my previous response to you. After the modbombing and the idiots saying that sample sizes are measured in "Number of times I took a bunch of samples" rather than "Number of samples actually taken", I'm done with this.

                I posted some figures for a group of websites that I know aren't likely to be skewed towards any particular browser. Those figures have been modded down to oblivion, for no apparent reason.

                And you can't even be civil.

                So I'll stick you on ignore for a

        • by SpaceWiz (54904)

          Considering WordPress.com alone has over 800 million views a week, stats available here [wordpress.com]. You've got a serious sampling problem. Your website is a niche which skews toward IE use.

          • I can't find anything on Wordpress's site that reports browser usage. Or are you just saying it's a "big site"?

            What makes you think our sites skew towards IE users? I'm curious to know what non-StatCounter figures you're looking at that also suggest IE's usage is low?

        • I'll make this a sample size of 2 then. With 590,703 unique visitors:
          53.45% used IE
          14.84% used Safari
          13.57% used Firefox
          12.54% used Chrome
          4.04% used Android
          0.45% used Opera

          These were taken from a site with absolutely no technical background, and should have no bias towards any particular demographic. Whether stats counter is more correct or not globally or not, NetApp's numbers more closely resemble traffic we see, and therefore a more accurate source for us.

          • Sorry, here's the top 10 with version numbers:
            1. Internet Explorer 9.0 23.11%
            2. Internet Explorer 8.0 22.04%
            3. Internet Explorer 7.0 7.70%
            4. Safari 7534.48.3 6.24%
            5. Firefox 12.0 3.69%
            6. Android Browser 533.1 3.49%
            7. Firefox 11.0 3.01%
            8. Chrome 19.0.1084.52 1.94%
            9. Firefox 10.0.2 1.48%
            10. Chrome 18.0.1025.168 1.43%

            Although, I find version numbers fairly irrelevant for Firefox, Chrome, Safari as their version numbers cha

        • by Bert64 (520050)

          And what exactly does your employer do? And is your site fully compatible with all of those browsers?

          Also, why don't you parse your actual web logs instead of relying on a javascript bug for stats? There are a number of firefox extensions to block things like google analytics, and ofcourse any browser that has javascript disabled (eg firefox users with noscript) or simply doesn't support it won't show up in your stats either.

      • by Toonol (1057698)
        Add a few more for the companies I work with. I suspect that anybody working on non-tech site will say the same. IE is significantly ahead of competitors both in visitor and pageview metrics. And no, I'm not an MS employee. I used to prefer Firefox, now I use Chrome, and don't really like ANY browser any more.

        (Maybe Opera, just on principle.)
    • by bongey (974911)

      IE most certainly is the most popular browser

      How about enslaved by IE. Popular implies people like to use IE, given a choice what would they use? How many people use IE because some site only works in IE .

    • What's the actual truth?

      You see, SC comes up with a moderately intelligent article that does seem, in the face of it, to address the points Microsoft addresses.

      And yet, virtually anyone who administers a public website can tell you that SC's original figures are complete crap. IE most certainly is the most popular browser right now. And Chome is third place. Not second. Definitely not first.

      SC can continue to push this ludicrous crap if they want. But their figures are laughable, and they'd be better off figuring why than writing snippy retorts to anyone who points it out.

      According to slashdot, only 10% of users use IE 8 and everyone else uses Chrome/FF.

      My blogsite (not linked) is tiny and dumb but shows only 5% use IE 8 too. It varies on your website's market. Consumer sites will back up SC and if your employer is SAP or something corporate guess what? 90% use IE which is no surprise. It doesn't mean SC is crap at all as they test consumer sites and pro sites. Most people at work do not browse the web as they are not getting paid too and only occasionally do it when the bos

    • This is why periodically I just hate Slashdot.

      Mod-bombed because my own experience doesn't match SC? Really? Seriously?

      • by asserted (818761)

        no. you were modded down because you made a sweeping statement ("virtually anyone") and then provided data for exactly one - yourself.
        one != anyone, that's all.

    • And yet, virtually anyone who administers a public website can tell you that SC's original figures are complete crap.

      It is virtualy impossible for the figures of any public site to agree with the agregated share of browsers (whatever it is). Unless, of course, you are Google, but even then, you'll probably miss some IE users that didn't change their search bar.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      I host a variety of sites, primarily a mix of porn and tech oriented sites but with a few random company brochureware sites thrown in.
      On the porn, IE is the most common browser but barely with 30%, firefox and chrome are both very close behind with 28% and 25% respectively.
      On the other sites, firefox is the most common with 42%, chrome has half that on 20% and ie lags behind with 15%.. Safari and opera about about tied on 5.8% each.
      This is based on unique visitors rather than number of hits, and as far as i

  • Their commercials make IE9 look cool. They have all my non-tech friends convinced its a great browser... :rollingeyes:
  • Statcounter. It is very possible that you will get a reply from Microsoft spin doctors saying you are complete wrong because you are not considering the chicken population at China. Do not reply anymore, it just an effort to make you waist more resources answering to their non-sense.
  • by EvilBudMan (588716) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @04:27PM (#40375491) Journal

    Stat Counter probably counts all devices and there is a ton of these things called Android that uses Chrome.

    • by oakgrove (845019) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @04:43PM (#40375781)
      The Android browser does not represent itself as Chrome unless you actually install Chrome. And even then it represents itself as Chrome on Android so, no, StatCounter did not count Android in their stats.
  • Reality: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sehryan (412731) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @05:19PM (#40376475)

    The reality is that those numbers don't really matter if you already have a website.

    You can easily run stats on YOUR OWN WEBSITE and get the browser breakdown that you should be worried about.

    For one of my primary sites, all version of IE beat out Firefox or Chrome. When split apart, Firefox and Chrome are 1 and 2, with IE8 coming in third.

    And now that I think about it, knowing who is first or second is pretty much irrelevant. What matters is the percentage of users who are still using browser version that suck to support. So really, what I care about is where my IE7 and IE6 usage is, and at what point is it okay for me to walk away from those users.

    • by westlake (615356)

      The reality is that those numbers don't really matter if you already have a website.
      You can easily run stats on YOUR OWN WEBSITE and get the browser breakdown that you should be worried about.

      If only life were that simple.

      You need to know the breakdown for sites which compete for the same audience.

      If your big budget news site is going head-to-head against CNN and Fox you have a serious problem if your top-ranking browser is Konquerer.

    • I'm toying with the idea of dropping IE6 support, it's down to 2.8%.

      What problems does IE7 cause you?

      • by higuita (129722)

        "oh my god!! its full of bugs out there"

        IE7 its much better than than IE6, but compared with IE8, firefox and chrome, it's very buggy, making harder to use the newest web technologies.

  • IE is the number one browser... for downloading a better browser.
  • I placed a number of goo.gl links in comments at various sites pointing to pages that would be interesting to the visitors there. goo.gl gives you among other things browser and os statistics. For all these pages, there were at least twice as many clicks from firefox than from IE. On most pages, IE came second behind Firefox, but in the more tech-oriented pages, IE was nearly always third after Firefox and Chrome.
    You do not have to believe this -- just try it, it is rather easy, interesting and fun.
    it may

  • I think one reason why IE is losing market share is the fact IE--unlike Firefox, Chrome and even Safari--lacks "on the fly" flagging of spelling errors. But now that IE 10.0 for Windows 7 (and the IE 10.0 built into Windows 8/RT) will flag spelling errors, we could see a lot less people in Windows 8 and Windows RT choose an alternate browser.

  • I have to take issue with StatCounter's claim that their data is inherently better because they have 3 million sites in their sample vs 40,000 in Net App's sample. Ask any statistician (I'm not one, but I do fiddle with stats from time to time) and he'll tell you that the only situation in which having more than 40,000 data points (and Net App had 40,000 sites of data points, meaning many millions of page views) can make any difference is if you're trying to tease out extremely subtle differences.

    Regardless of the total size of the population you're trying to estimate, you only need a relatively small number of samples to get a given degree of certainty that your hypothesis is not invalidated by your data. This is why you see nationwide polls that only ask 2,000 people out of 300 million Americans -- because the math shows that's all you need to achieve a +-3% margin of error with a 95% confidence interval, and note that you can achieve the same accuracy with the same number if you randomly select 2000 people out of the seven billion on the planet. The margin of error depends on the sample size, not the population size. Once you're up to tens of thousands of samples, the margin of error is miniscule, and upping that to a few million samples doesn't appreciably improve your accuracy.

    What does matter, a lot, is that your samples are randomly-selected. And the fact is that neither StatCounter nor Net App have a very good story to tell there. StatCounter's larger sample size may possibly help by getting a slightly larger cross-section of the web, but I doubt it. Both companies measure only a tiny slice of web usage, so complete coverage is a pipe dream, and both have way more than enough data to achieve highly accurate estimates -- if the data is well-sampled, which it isn't. If it were, their estimates would be identical to several decimal places.

    • by muxxa (729961)
      StatCounter is Freemium while NetApps is paid only; meaning that NetApps have a bias towards for-profit sites?
      • by dhammond (953711)

        ... and StatCounter has a bias towards small sites.

        Swilden's point is spot on. Arguing over the specific percentages produced by NetApps and StatCounter is useless since neither can remotely claim to provide a random sampling of websites. The stats are useful to see overall trends in browser usage, but that's about it.

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