Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, December 31, 2004

Free Fall: Internet Explorer Has Now Lost 30% Of The Browser Market

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By December 2005 or before, as I have previously anticipated, Internet Explorer will not be anymore the browser of choice for the majority of Internet users.

IE and Outlook free fall

Today, according to my own traffic statistics based on a sample of over 600,000 visitors from over 180 countries, Internet Explorer controls slightly more than 70% of the browser market, where, just twelve months ago it had over 91% of it.

The rapid loss of IE users is now a clear and definite trend that appears to be unstoppable: Internet Explorer is showing many bad wrinkles and a slippery short term memory. For a fast-growing number of experienced Internet users IE is already NOT anymore a browser option to consider.
Here some specific data:

The data I am referencing is from my own mini-network of English-written Web sites, who doesn't target specifically a US-based audience but provide news and information to readers from all parts of the world. The Good mini-publishing network is in fact comprised of 10 Web sites that collectively reach nearly 200,000 unique visitors per month and serve over 500,000 page views (Dec. 2004).

Being the sites and the authors in my publishing network not US-based and actively targeting international readers from all parts of the world, my own statistics offer a humble alternative peek at the browser market with a likely less US-centric slant on what are the actual trends taking place on the Internet.

The data is collected both through traditional server logs complemented by log analysis software, as well as through a live tracking and traffic monitoring system powered by WebSideStory HitBox Professional.

Here is what my data says:

  • Mozilla FireFox now controls by itself over 20% of the world browser market share, with Opera (2%), Netscape (8%) and Safari (1.2%) being the other browsers with some significant market share.
  • FireFox growth has been as steady as IE rapid demise, with the new browser from the Mozilla foundation gaining most of those 20 percentage points just in the last 3 months. Pretty impressive.
  • Internet Explorer version 6 alone has now less than 60% of the world browser market share and it keeps loosing percentage points at a phenomenal rate.
  • In comparison IE 5.5 and other older IE versions are more entrenched and less subject to market erosion that the latest browser version from Microsoft.
  • Competition is also increasing for IE from the many IE-clones and IE-based browsers that have been appearing on the market in the last few years (AvantBrowser, Maxthon, MYIE2, etc.). Many of these enhanced versions of IE have a lot more to offer than the original Microsoft IE browser and increasing number of users swear by them while dropping IE without afterthoughts.
  • Opera (2.x%) and Safari (1.x%) keep also increasing the quality of their browsers and their adoption rate with final users. Opera in particular has been very proactive in the last year by greatly enhancing its browser while integrating cutting-edge functions like RSS newsreading. You can expect both of these browsers to further improve their offering while maintaining a strong loyal following of users (as Opera and Mac users typically are).
  • Netscape has also a very, very loyal following which, though decimated by IE advance over the years, has not ever shrunk to less than 1%. Presently Netscape 7.2 enjoys over 1.2% of the browser market share, reaching nearly 2% if we count in all of the older versions of Netscape still in use. Netscape overall market share seems to be holding to this level though the latest versions (7.1 and 7.2) have seen a recent steady increase in adoption rates.
  • Overall adoption of alternative operating systems for Internet users is also on the rise, though Microsoft Windows maintains still a very predominant position with over 90% of the world end user market. The Mac OSX and Linux operating system have taken opposite directions, according to my own one-year data and while Linux users browsing the Internet have significantly increased in number by moving from a 0.78 to 2.45 of my monthly visitors share, the Mac has instead lost over a full percentage point in these last 12 months (from 6.37 to 5.05), remaining though the undisputed second operating system of choice.

You can bet serious money that Microsoft will release a new much improved version of Internet Explorer before Mozilla FireFox takes the majority share of this world browser market.

At the pace things are going this has got to happen likely in the first 3-4 months of 2005 or it may just be too late for IE to save itself from drowning.

With this week release of the final official version 1 of the Mozilla Thunderbird email client, typical users of the Microsoft Outlook/Internet Explorer combo have one more reason to migrate happily to this new and increasingly popular Internet application-duo from the Mozilla Foundation (FireFox + Thunderbird) without ever fearing of being left among a small minority of adopters.

They in fact, the new Mozilla users, will actually be soon representing, by the numbers, the new Internet browsing and email exchange applications standards.

Readers' Comments    
2005-12-19 14:47:19

Bob Campbell

So much for these predictions!

2005-01-27 06:27:32


FYI the following are percentage starts for access to a Sustralian Government web site, total mozilla is only 3% so far

1 MSIE 6.0 79.26
2 MSIE 5.0 8.24
3 Netscape 4.0 5.19
4 Mozilla Firefox 1.0 1.99
5 Unresolved: Java Enabled 0.78
6 Safari 0.52
7 Mozilla Firefox 0.9 0.5
8 Mozilla Firefox 0.10 0.46
9 MSIE 5.2 0.38
10 Netscape 4.7 0.32
11 Netscape 5.0 0.28
12 Netscape 7.1 0.22
13 MSIE (AOL) 6.0 0.2
14 MSIE 4.0 0.2
15 MSIE 5.1 0.2

2005-01-12 14:52:16

Jordi Villà

where can I get updates for evolution? Since it moved from Ximian to Novell it looks like now we have to pay for it. Any clue?

2005-01-08 21:20:09

S Barringer

I switched from IE 6 to Firefox on one computer, and I love it. Made it my main browser. It's clean and it's much faster.
Have Netscape on another machine, and will be making that my main browser email setup. Have Gozilla on a third computer. Installed it when Outlook Express trashed-out on me, and I'm very happy with it.

I will be migrating to Linux; not sure which distro yet. Tired of blue-screens, constant updates, having to restart the system over and over to keep it functioning properly.

The learning curve is steeper, but the benefits more than cover the effort.

Just an opinion.

2005-01-07 14:29:50


I'm the webmaster for a local field office of a Federal Agency. In the past 6 months I've watched IE drop from slightly over 95% of my reported traffic to right around 70%. The only real difference I find between my numbers and the stats quoted in the article is that Safari has about 8% of the traffic, with Mozilla and Firefox getting most of what's left. We have several major universities in our area, so I expect that may have a lot to do with the high representation of Macs.

2005-01-07 09:31:10

Gilbert John Z. Ledesma

Pretty dumb that Microsoft has declared that IE is unthreathened by Firefox's phenomenal usage rates, when in fact it is very obvious that the differences on the usability and practicability of using firefox could not be even equalled by IE.

I feel like Im still using the command line interface in the early days of Internet whenever I use IE, its so cumbersome, not user friendly and WEAK!!!

you netizens out there JUNK Internet Explorer for good!!!

2005-01-07 00:07:42


I'VE been traveling worldwide, installing Firefox on computers everywhere! Africa, Europe, The UK, Ireland, Canada... Whoooeeee!

2005-01-06 21:48:48


After reading the article I was really curious and checked our site's stats and IE accounted for 83% of browsers hitting our site in 2004. I checked 2001-2003 and while there was some variance, the range was 82-84%. Our users are mostly from universities and research institutes (we're a biotech firm). Those types of institutions are extemely slow to change technologies, so I don't envision our IE stats to change much for the forseeable future.

2005-01-06 21:25:13


Well Robin as a tiny little correction, Netscapes code base is based upon Mozilla thus making Firefox technically 28%.

But yes, working as a developer for a Microsoft vendor, I get to see 5% of all traffic from Microsoft using a Mozilla based browser even. It's pretty funny.

They are going to have a hard time stemming this bleeding especially when they have stopped development on IE altogether (but have started it back up ever so recently due to the constant security issues).

But seriously, they cannot p[ossibly innovate AND handle the HUGE backlog of security issues associated with IE... especially since a large majority of those issues stem from the fact that it is bundled with the OS and cannot truly be fixed without dissassociating itself with the OS.

Their only option at this point is to separate the browser and the OS and considering the recent European Union Anti-trust ruling, it just may be an option.

2005-01-06 18:12:04


No way no how. I'm a big fan of Firefox and I have a rare random sampling of Internet users visiting my blog looking for Tsunami Videos. According to my sitemeter stats
which is a moving average and varies the real number is somewhere between 5 and 15%.

2005-01-05 20:12:54

Tim Niiler

While I have heard great things about Evolution, the KDEPim suite (KMail, KOrganizer, Kontact, etc...) also has much to offer. I know of several former Outlook users who are quite happy with it and who use it for business and who regularly synch their PDAs.

Personally, I don't much care for KMail, having gotten used to Mozilla Mail, and Thunderbird still has too many quirks for my liking. While I like the Mozilla browser, I feel that Firefox is superior in feel and extensibility. Also, I like the bookmark management better in Firefox.

2005-01-05 18:52:51

Dominik Kozaczko

Novell Evolution 2.x is good replacement for Outlook, but it's availabe only for GNOME (desktop environment for *NIX). It supports LDAP/Exchange, syncs with palmtops and has many other interesting features.

2005-01-05 10:58:42


Ever tried Gnome desktop's Evolution? Previously maintained by Ximian, now Ximian is a part of Novell. Evolution is easier to use than Outlook, has compatible task management and integrates with exchange nicely.

2005-01-04 13:32:24

Neil Bradley

I tend to think 20% at the minute is too high a number. I'm a member of a well known forum (not sure whether I can name it here) which members are web design and development related and we've worked out that approx 33% of members have now made the switch to FF from IE, which has been longer than FF 1.

I'd love FF to become number 1 as it would be great, but I couldn't see it challenging within the joe public masses for another year.

2005-01-04 02:44:55


You say that Netscape has 8% of the market:

"Mozilla FireFox now controls by itself over 20% of the world browser market share, with Opera (2%), Netscape (8%) and Safari (1.2%) being the other browsers with some significant market share"

But then you say:

Netscape has also a very, very loyal following which. Presently Netscape 7.2 enjoys over 1.2% of the browser market share, reaching nearly 2% if we count in all of the older versions of Netscape"

So which is it - 1% or 8%?

2005-01-04 02:03:38

Adam Gilbert

OK, me silly (don't)...wouldn't 70% still be within the margin for the "majority"?

Hey, I love Firefox...I use it everywhere/anytime I can...and I love evangelizing it.

To chime in on the other comment above...yeah, Thunderbird won't be getting anywhere near Outlook. It blows away Outlook Express, but, without Exchange integration I find Thunderbird to be useless in a corporate enviro.

2005-01-04 02:00:05


And we all know how accurate a single site is ;)

My stats show 60% Mozilla based, and only 25% IE, which shows how wide a variance you can get just comparing single sites ;)

2005-01-04 00:47:38

Bill Gates

That Firefox Browser is just nothing but trouble. I recommend that you stay away from it. Don't try it, it'll mess up your computer if you even install it. BOOO hisss, bad, shoo, go away.

2005-01-03 22:35:36


This is good news! Personally I like Maxthon, there are not as many plug-ins yet, but all the required ones are there and work awesome. I have used Firefox but Maxthon is much faster (especially after the latest update) and the interface is familiar and clean.

I noticed that the 5.5 IE wasn’t trending down. This is mostly due to the users who do not know any better or that dislike change. Their machines have never been updated and it will likely be a virus that takes out the machine.

2005-01-03 18:37:51


One of the whitest lies i've ever heard.At whose bidding are you doing this?

2005-01-03 11:03:51


Statistics are skewed since Blog readers are a low percentage of the internet users. ask webmasters with more "common" content and you will find firefox to have aprox 10% not bad but not 20%

2004-12-31 22:05:44

Gary King

It's about time :) I've already tried my best to push all my friends and family to move to Firefox - even the less technically-inclined. I find that they see that Firefox is actually simpler to use than IE - the default installation only has about 5 buttons, whereas IE sticks all this stuff all over the place already, right from the start.

An excellent article, Robin - an especially good one for the New Years as well :)

2004-12-31 16:40:21

Dean Reese

This is very interesting. For me, as many, I have used Windows and Linux side by side for many years. in the case of Linux, Netscape/Mozilla was the only real decent browser.

Now Firefox is taking the world by storm and I love it.

Go Firefox.

2004-12-31 14:33:52

Marc Orchant


As a happy Firefox user, I agree with your analysis on the browser front. In addition to a Tablet PC, I also regularly use a Mac and Safari and I agree it is a fine and elegant piece of work.

But the Miscrosoft e-mail client threatened by Thunderbird is Outlook Express, not Outlook. There is nothing in the open source (or even commercial) space that offers the same Personal Information Manager and e-mail environment Outlook does and it is in no danger of being overrrun by Thunderbird.

posted by Robin Good on Friday, December 31 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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