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Firefox Passes IE6 In Browser Share 350

Jared sends word of Ars Technica coverage of Net Applications' monthly browser share numbers. What's significant this time is that Firefox has finally passed IE6 in worldwide share. "Internet Explorer remains ahead of the rest of the competition, but since month after month it continues to lose ground to all other browsers, Firefox has now finally surpassed IE6, which is easily the most hated version of Microsoft's browser. ... In October, all browsers except for IE and Opera showed positive growth. Between October and September, Internet Explorer dropped a significant 1.07 percentage points (from 65.71 percent to 64.64 percent) and Firefox moved up a sizeable 0.32 percentage points (from 23.75 percent to 24.07 percent). ... Although IE's decline seems to be unceasing, the real shame is that the old versions have more share than the newer ones (we can only hope that as Windows 7 gains popularity, this trend will reverse)." Ars presents a graph with their own site's browser share picture, and as you might expect it's very different from the general population's.
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Firefox Passes IE6 In Browser Share

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  • StatCounter etc (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @05:53AM (#29975692) Journal

    Just remember that StatCounter and other stat counting sites tend to be very US and English language generic - completely ignoring Russia and China and such.

    What's interesting is that Opera actually has 40-60% marketshare in CIS countries [], better than both FF and IE (and not just a single version).

    But good that people are finally starting to move off from IE6.

    • Antarctica! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:00AM (#29975730) Journal
      And Firefox has a 100.0% share in Antarctica (maybe just 1 user?) []
    • Re:StatCounter etc (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dartz-IRL ( 1640117 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:04AM (#29975746)
      The thing is, most people see Internet Explorer as 'The Internet', in much the same way that they see Ms Windows as 'The computer'. I mean, I installed Firefox on a parents laptop, and they're first worry was that they wouldn't be able to find their favourite website 'because it was a different internet'. People who don't grasp this concept will never see a reason to upgrade, and unfortunately, this means a silent majority of PC users probably never will.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by p51d007 ( 656414 )
        The only reason IE is still as high as it is, is because 99% of the people using it don't know there is an alternative. Heck, it isn't that hard to get people to switch. If I can get my SEVENTY SIX YEAR OLD father to switch to Firefox (he calls it Mozilla LOL), then you can get anyone to switch.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        They might see Internet Explorer as "The Internet", but this is behavior that can easily be changed. My company actually had to block Google Chrome (not a decision I agree with, mind you) because too many people were installing it (somehow without knowing what they were doing) and then reporting problems with our Intranet*. When we asked what browser they were using, they wouldn't know but when pressed they would say "I'm using The Google Internet." Their view of IE as "The Internet" was easily changed t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CSMatt ( 1175471 )

        Versions of IE before IE4 were actually called "The Internet" on the desktop and had an icon of a globe and a magnifying glass.

        No other major browser has the word "Internet" in its name, and if it did Microsoft could probably sue for trademark violation. No doubt calling their browser "Internet Explorer" instead of "Web Explorer" to take advantage of the then-more-well-known term "Internet" over "Web" worked out well for them. They may have actually propagated continued confusion of the two terms by doing

    • Re:StatCounter etc (Score:5, Informative)

      by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:05AM (#29975756) Journal
      Opera is also listed as #3 for Europe, ahead of Safari and Chrome. The gap between Firefox (all versions) and IE (all versions) is also rather narrower for Europe than for North America. [] []
      • something a bit more current (last 3 days so not stat significant): [] - FF3.5 is most popular in Europe (ie6 has half of FF3.0) [] - IE7 is most popular in US (ie6 ~= safari)

        EU [] (50% v 40%)
        US [] (60% v 30%)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Negrin ( 1100257 )

        The gap between Firefox (all versions) and IE (all versions) is also rather narrower for Europe than for North America.

        Yeah, but there's something worth considering. I'm from Poland, which boasts FF leadership over IE (I am an Opera user myself but still) and there's something I realized, thinking about Poland's (and other Central European countries') results and also the massive Opera market share in Russia. Thing is, these are the countries with lower Internet penetration than North America. You have considerably moms and dads online, not to mention grannies and grandpas than, say, in the States. It's only natural that a

        • No, that doesn't explain it. Poland actually has relatively high Internet penetration. Developing countries on the other hand seem to be much more dependant on Internet Explorer, although this might have something to do with the popularity of Internet Cafés rather than a home connection.

    • Re:StatCounter etc (Score:5, Informative)

      by aodhan ( 1080405 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:51AM (#29976022)


      I work at StatCounter and I would just like to point out that we have a very diverse sample size from around the world.

      As per [] for July 2009 here was the breakdown of our sample pageviews for the month.

              * 1.3 billion United States
              * 570 million Brazil
              * 280 million Turkey
              * 260 million Germany
              * 250 million Thailand
              * 240 million China
              * 240 million United Kingdom
              * 180 million Indonesia
              * 160 million Canada
              * 140 million India
              * 109 million Russia

    • What's interesting is that Opera actually has 40-60% marketshare in CIS countries, better than both FF and IE (and not just a single version).

      I'm not sure why you'd find that more interesting than the fact that Chrome passed Safari or whatever.

      The only thing I can think of that means anything in this whole "browser wars" thing, and it doesn't mean as much now as it did 4 years ago, is how vital it is to absolutely stick to web standards as a result of cross browser compliance. Otherwise, it's pretty much irrelevant. My phone has a webkit browser fully integrated into it, so when I hit the web with it, I'm probably being detected as using Safari

    • You know what? Web developers act so surprised when you tell them Opera Mini is the most popular mobile browser on the planet. Not some "stat counter" stuff, professional companies will give you those stats. Last time I checked, it was like 40%.

      So, when you ignore that fact and don't support Opera Mini and Nokia S60 browser (which is Webkit), support only iPhone with some , you ignore about 100-150 million people who either has J2ME or Symbian/S40 in their hands, perhaps richer than iPhone u

  • Hrmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by acehole ( 174372 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:04AM (#29975748) Homepage

    So when are they going to rip the skin off Firefox to show "Netscape Navigator - Double Ultimate Gold edition"?

    • by TheLink ( 130905 )
      Hey you just gave me flashbacks... To the days of Blink tags and "under construction" geocities pages filled with bookmarks and animated GIFs.

      I think I'll have to delay dinner...
  • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:05AM (#29975752) Homepage

    I noticed many sites seem to have abandoned IE6 support completely. (Using ie 6 and 7 in virtualized XP for testing stuff)

    This is how it should be. No CSS hacks, just IE6 users seeing the bugs that arise through their usage of the browser.
    And for corporate users who HAVE to use ie6, for the nicest value of "they can fuck off"; they can fuck off.

  • by BikeHelmet ( 1437881 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:07AM (#29975772) Journal

    Looks like Firefox is dominating Ars. I'm more interested in slashdot browser share percentages, though.

    Oh great and benevolent admins, please gift us with your knowledge!...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I have posted this [] on /. a few times in the past so...

      $ grep -v 10.1.1. access_log.* | grep access_point_names | cut -d" " -f12- | grep Linux | wc -l
      $ grep -v 10.1.1. access_log.* | grep access_point_names | cut -d" " -f12- | grep Windows | wc -l
      $ grep -v 10.1.1. access_log.* | grep access_point_names | cut -d" " -f12- | grep Macintosh | wc -l

  • by stressclq ( 881842 ) * on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:10AM (#29975790)

    What this article tells me is that a quarter of the internet users are still using a web browser that was released on August 27, 2001. From a peak market share of %95, it has only come down to %23 in eight years (and change). This survival is against massive "IE6 must die" campaigns, introduction of fairly decent, and standards compliant (comparatively) browsers such as Firefox, Chrome the ever improving Safari and the somehow still surviving gem named Opera.

    I was hoping that the rise of social applications like Facebook, Youtube, Digg and popular business applications such as the ones made by 37signals would put an end, a final nail in the coffin if you like, to this monster from the digital stone age.

    But obviously I was, surely together with a whole bunch of other fellow /.'ers, wrong. Obviously, the failure of adaptation of Vista played some role in this outcome. But seeing that building a better (faster, compliant, etc.) browser is not the answer, I'm now genuinely hoping that Windows 7 will massively succeed so that we can put an end to this abomination.

    • I also saw it a bit as people who advocated staying away from Vista were also likely to be talking to people who probably haven't updated their browser.
    • As far as JavaScript performance is concerned (increasingly important on the modern websites), moving from IE6 to IE8 is like moving from Segway to Bicycle.... on the highway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nmg196 ( 184961 )

      Unfortunately many/most people do not use social networking sites, and if they do, they don't necessarily have friends who care about browser versions. Any IE6 must die campaign should be supported by the actual websites themselves, telling users they need to upgrade directly on the page.

      What would be good is a small bit of script people can embed in their page, which tells IE 6 users to upgrade to something more recent by outputting a bar above the top of the page which tells them what to do. Kind of like

    • It didn't have 95% market share when it was released.

    • I still use IE6 in the very few cases I have to use an internet explorer browser. That amounts to less than 0.01% of my browsing; all sites that require IE to work are compatible to IE6 so no reason to upgrade because I don't use it for anything else.

      As an additional bonus I get the pleasure of knowing that I am forcing web designers to do extra work to support legacy. That means more people needed in IT.

      See my point?

    • What this article tells me is that a quarter of the internet users are still using a web browser that was released on August 27, 2001. From a peak market share of %95, it has only come down to %23 in eight years (and change). [...]

      That's telling us something about the replacement cycle for Windows PCs. As discussed on Slashdot before, few private citizens will upgrade a browser on a "working" machine.

  • Ie6 is the new amish (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ryunosuke ( 576755 )
    My job uses WinXp Pro, Ie6, and Office 2003. AND we use an app called QAD in a dos box. It's nice to be in a minority, So I can feel special.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by IBBoard ( 1128019 )

      Ditto here, and the corporate machines are under-specced for all the extra background junk they put on them. Being forced in to IE6 would be terrible if I didn't have a development machine with Linux on it, but I think Office 2003 (or OpenOffice on our dev machines) is preferable to 2007!

  • Interesting Results (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AndrewStephens ( 815287 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:21AM (#29975854) Homepage

    The Ars Technica stats broadly mirrors my own humble blog, I would guess that the techie crowd breaks down 5::2::2::1 Firefox::Safari::IE::Chrome across the board. If this assumption is true, I find it strange that Chrome is not as popular as Safari among the technical people whereas in the general stats they are almost neck-and-neck although less popular overall.

    Personally I think that having 4 browsers with significant share (or 6 if you count IE6 and IE7 as separate, incompatible browsers) is very healthy. For a while it looked like it was going to be IE6 stamping on the face of the web forever, but now the population is fragmented web sites have to designed with proper standards in mind.

    • by Spad ( 470073 )

      Chrome would be my browser of choice were it not for the lack of Adblock, Noscript & IETab; I suspect a lot of other techies feel the same way, which is why Chrome has stayed with such a modest share despite early interest in it.

      I can't speak for Safari as every time I've tried to use it (On Windows) I've ended up hating it.

      • According to my Google Analytics page, only 4.5% of Safari users were using the Windows version. In some ways I think that is a shame - I like the way Safari renders pages, it does a much better job of smoothing fonts and graphics than the other browsers. Plus it is very quick (although Chrome starts up faster) and the web inspector tools incredibly useful.

        But you are right, the first few versions were terrible.

    • my guess would be that very few mac people use chrome, while people who would otherwise be using safari on windows are using chrome instead due to the absolutely horrible first three or four versions apple released. i think it may be somewhat stable now, but those first few releases crashed so often i started wondering if they'd dug up an engineer from Mac OS 8.5 to work on the thing.
  • The numbers (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stan Vassilev ( 939229 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:23AM (#29975866)
    What they mean is, all versions of Firefox put together (2, 3, 3.5) have surpassed one version of Internet Explorer (6), the oldest one. If you look only at oldest versions, only newer versions, or all versions together, IE has a solid lead over Firefox in all three categories. I'm not sure about the significance of this, as IE6 being at over 23% share, most sites still to support it for the foreseeable future.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Or looking at it another way, Microsoft appears to be unable to convert its existing userbase to new customers, even for its free offerings.
    • Re:The numbers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dingen ( 958134 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:59AM (#29976066)

      What's most interesting about IE's market share is that version 6 (this oldest one indeed) is actually the most used version of Internet Explorer. Both version 7 (released 3 years ago) and version 8 (released about half a year ago) have not caught on enough to overtake IE6's position as the number one browser out there in sheer market share.

      These figures are unlike all other browsers, where the more recent versions have way more market share than the older ones. The usage of Firefox 1 and 2 for example is virtually nothing, while 3.5 is the most popular version. So "all versions of Firefox" actually mean "mostly Firefox 3.5, a bit Firefox 3 and really nothing else", while "all of Internet Explorer" means "Mostly IE6, some IE7 and some IE8".

      You are absolutely right that all versions combined, IE is still very dominant, but IE-users are way less inclined to upgrade to more recent versions. Just like Windows XP is still the most popular version of Windows. I wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing with Microsoft Office. Microsoft just doesn't seem to be able to sell their latest products anymore. This is why it quite significant that Firefox with it's latest product is able to have more market share than Microsoft with it's old version, because the old versions of Microsoft products are the relevant ones.

      • I think what has done MS in is they did some fairly major user facing changes in all their main product offerings. The ribbon in Office, the look and tabs of IE 7-8, the gui, layout of stuff and UAC in Vista etc. People just pretty much said can't I do that with IE 6, Office 2003, XP and people said yeah you can but IE8 Office 2007 and Vista/Win 7 are so much prettier. This was followed by "who cares", and at least in business with "so I'm going to spend all this money and retrain staff and redevelop intern
    • What they mean is, all versions of Firefox put together (2, 3, 3.5) have surpassed one version of Internet Explorer (6), the oldest one.

      It's also something that varies by region. Looking at browser versions in Europe, Firefox 3 is on the heels of IE 7, and well ahead of IE 6, which is then followed by Opera 9.6 and Firefox 2. Safari, Chrome, and Opera 9.2 are well behind. Firefox 3.0 and 3.5 are not differentiated, nor are sub-versions of IE 6. Opera 10 and IE 8 do not show yet - they are probably bundled in the "others" category. []

  • by Tomsk70 ( 984457 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:25AM (#29975880)

    Next we'll be seeing the revelation that Linux has overtaken Windows 98. Or something.

    • Next we'll be seeing the revelation that Linux has overtaken Windows 98.

      Well, has it? I know Win98 users are few and far between, but the Linux _desktop_ marketshare is tiny, too.

    • by dingen ( 958134 )

      It is quite relevant, because IE6 is actually the most used browser in the world. Despite the release of newer versions of Internet Explorer, none of them have caught on enough to change that situation.

      This is radically different with all other browsers, where the lastest versions are also the most popular versions of the product.

    • Next we'll be seeing the revelation that Linux has overtaken Windows 98. Or something.

      Does that mean 2008 was the year of Windows 98 on the desktop?

  • by biscuitlover ( 1306893 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:53AM (#29976030)

    This is great, but IE6 is still going to stick around for years. The reasons - as have been widely discussed on these pages before - are:

    • Large corporations can't be bothered with the cost and hassle of updating thousands of machines when IE6 is supposedly 'good enough' and doesn't break internal applications which were built on top of its many quirks.
    • Many, many home users don't know what a browser is or don't realise that there are alternatives. These people aren't stupid (well, most of them anyway) - they just don't care enough about tech to know the options.

    Neither of these situations will change any time soon. Gradual adoption of Windows 7 will certainly help in the second case, but the first one is dependent entirely on enterprise-level IT departments creating lots of work (and therefore cost) for themselves when senior management can't see any tangible benefit... And how soon do you think that will happen?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      What you say is true. However, the reason we care about browser market shares isn't (in general) evangelical fervor; but concern for web development, features used by web sites, HTML5 vs. Flash, etc, etc. For that reason, what we really care about is not "How many people are using browser X vs. browser Y?" but "How much influence on web development/deployment of new web technologies does browser X or browser Y have?"

      Large corporate installations are highly change averse; but they also tend to be unsuppor
  • by imakemusic ( 1164993 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:54AM (#29976038)
    Tortoise walks past dead Hare.

    Film at 11.
  • by Imsdal ( 930595 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @06:58AM (#29976056)

    Here are the stats for the company web site for the company I work for. It's a smallish Nordic company, and it's a safe bet that 95% of all visits are from other people at work. (I have no proof of that figure, obviously, but trust me when I say that looking at our site isn't something people do on their free time.)

    MS Internet Explorer 2920837 96 %
    Unknown 56869 1.8 %
    Wget 32632 1 %
    Firefox 18582 0.6 %
    Safari 4934 0.1 %
    Opera 2970 0 %
    Mozilla 2532 0 %
    LibWWW 148 0 %
    Netscape 92 0 %
    Nokia Browser (PDA/Phone browser) 12 0 %
    Others 7 0 %

    These figures are just incredibly different from those in TFA. Figures are page hits for the month of November, i.e. a little more than three days, but the percentages always look like this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by argent ( 18001 )

      I'm pretty sure that our internal websites are almost 100% IE, but that's because using Sharepoint in anything but IE is a world of hurt.

      Not that using Sharepoint from IE is exactly pleasant, but damn.

      • Really? I worked as a dev at a company who liked their MS technology and were one of the first (if not the first) in the UK to have a .Net powered intranet. The majority of us devs used Firefox and found it easier than IE since you could even use the quick bookmarks to get to specific numbered articles/tickets. That probably was still back in the days of IE6, though.

        Now I get to use a different Sharepoint site, hosted by Microsoft, and it works flawlessly in Firefox on Fedora Linux [i]except[/i] when I need

  • Not on my site (Score:4, Informative)

    by imakemusic ( 1164993 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:22AM (#29976202)
    I help run a website for an art gallery/shop - make of that what you will. The stats for our site is quite different:

    Firefox (all versions) 42.1%
    IE (all versions) 40.1%
    Safari 7.8%
    Chrome 4.5%

    Go firefox!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ACS Solver ( 1068112 )

      I have a (PC) gaming-related site. To my knowledge, the amount of IT-expert visitors isn't higher than among the general population, but obviously people who play PC games at least see the PC as something more than just a Web access device. So, over the last 6 months, I'm showing

      Firefox 37%
      IE 35%
      Chrome 15%
      Safari 6%
      Opera 5%

      Note that Chrome's share here is definitely higher than its overall market share. Also, IE6 is also quite unpopular. Out of IE's 35%, IE8 is 13%, IE7 is 17% with IE6 at a bit under 4%.

  • by tjstork ( 137384 ) <> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:39AM (#29976266) Homepage Journal

    All users of every version of FireFox taken together use more than one old version of IE.

  • They're displayed here []
  • IE6 (Score:5, Informative)

    by FrostedWheat ( 172733 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:51AM (#29976336)

    I decided to collect some stats for the trade services section of my companies website. Our typical customer is *not* technically minded in the least:

    MSIE 8.0, 38.4%
    MSIE 7.0, 33.8%
    Firefox/3.5, 9.5%
    MSIE 6.0, 9.1%
    Chrome 9, 8.4%
    Firefox/3.0, 3.0%
    Safari 4, 1.5%

    IE 6 is dropping fast, but a very poor showing for Opera and Safari. The OS stats are dominated by Windows XP (62%) and Vista (33%), with OS X and other flavours of Windows taking the remaining few percent. No Linux at all sadly.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mxh83 ( 1607017 )
      And when was "Chrome 9" released?
    • by Crash Culligan ( 227354 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @08:41AM (#29976656) Journal

      A company I worked for had similar similar browser-share for their major web applications, and it really had little to do with Opera and Safari being niche outcast browsers. It had a lot more to do with the site being so broken as to be unusable in Opera and Safari. People would go one or two pages in, realize there was a problem, and either switch to a different browser, or as the growing fear was, switch to a different company.

      It stems from the complaint above that many large corporate IT departments don't want to switch from IE6. Well, guess what the in-house web developers code for first? IE6. Then they try to tweak the design to work passably in other browsers when they should be working the other way: create a standards-based layout, then tweak for the peccadillos of other browsers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Apparently your visitors are not mathematically minded either: Sum of those figures is 103.7% and that's without a line for "unknown"...

  • My websites and our client's websites have been showing Firefox passing up IE6, IE7, and IE8 combined. IE typically shows around 38%, Firefox shows around 39% and all others (mix of Chrome, Safari, Opera and mobile browsers) make up the difference. It's like it 1997 all over again. I'm kind of excited about the whole thing [] because now the new crop of standards can come to the front faster (SVG, HTML 5, etc...).

    It's about time.

  • Maybe we can compare how much technically savvy are the users of different sites by looking at the share of different browsers. We can compare the data of Ars with the data of w3schools [] (monthly data since 2002).

    W3S's share of Firefox is larger that all the IE's together. FF overtook IE at about the beginning of this year.

  • I don't try to be sarcastic. Each IE 6 losing its "default browser status" is good for MS especially for their image. They "won" the browser wars already, some developers working for their rivals can't dream about MS Windows without MS HTML engines/objects. Even Big Blue relies on IE in certain jobs so they need "IE 6 compatibility" mode.

    IE 7 and 8 incompatibility/quirks serve in the place of IE 6 now, why should MS really bother? Outdated browser which is bad for their security/performance image is being r

  • This is definitely not news for our company website. Don't know how well it reflects the rest of the world, but I'm quite surprised so many are still using IE6 in the first place.

    Our stats show 24.25% using Firefox and 65.12% using various version of IE. (The rest going to Safari, Chrome etc. Interestingly, Safari and Chrome are almost neck and neck at 4.20 and 4.11% respectively.)

    Of the 65.12% using IE, 27.11% of those are using version 6. That's 17.65% total, if my maths is any good. It's not dying (w

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