Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Internet Explorer Free Fall Continues? It Only Depends Where You Look

Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser, as predicted at the end of December last year, continues on its downtrack in relation to its upstart competitors.


In a recent ZDNet News article entitled "Growth rate slips for Firefox usage", it's revealed that two recent tracking surveys, one from OneStat and the other from WebSideStory, have put IE's market share below 90%.

Meanwhile, according to the two surveys, Mozilla's Firefox, IE's erstwhile nemesis, keeps gaining browser market share, although at a slower growth rate than the 34% it achieved in the first five weeks of its November 2004 final release.



WebSideStory states:

"Firefox grew 0.74 percentage points in the last five weeks and 0.89 percentage points in the previous six weeks before that. This compares to a jump of 1.03 percentage points between Nov. 5 and Dec. 3, which coincides with the release of Firefox Version 1.0 on Nov. 9".

Statistics, as with all information types, need to be consumed within context. If you look at some recent research carried out into browser market share in the blogoshere, a very different picture emerges.

Jason Kottke, via his highly popular (Google Page Rank: 7) and reader "micro-patron" funded site has published his stats relating to the internet browsers used when visitors arrived at his site.

This is what he recorded for February 2005:

- Mozilla 45%
- IE 31%
- Everything else 24%

Jason Kottke then compares his browser stats with one of the most popular sites in the blosphere - BoingBoing, saying, "This corresponds pretty closely with BoingBoing's market share stats", which reveal:

- IE 36.8%
- Firefox 36.7%
- Safari 8.4%
- Unknown 7.7%
- Mozilla 4.3%
- Netscape 1.6%

Jason Kottke goes on to invite his readers to send in their own data, via the Comments feature on his blogsite.

This makes for further revealing reading. Respective market shares do vary enormously from site to site. This is almost certainly to do with the 'type' of site and the 'type' of visitor.

So-called "mainstream" sites, i.e. heavily trafficked consumer portals such as Yahoo! will attract a much higher proportion of non-geeky visitors, i.e. those who take no interest in web browsers and just use IE that came pre-installed on their PCs.

Technology and Internet focused blogsites, by their inherent nature, are much more likely to attract the geeky, non-mainstream visitors - those that have made the effort to download, install and set as the default browser - an open source developed tool such as Firefox.

One of Jason Kottke's readers, Michael Moncur, who owns a number of popular sites, including The Quotations Page, reveals on his main blogsite, browser stats comparing visitors to his self-described "mainstream" The Quotations Page site for February 2004 and February 2005, as follows:

February 2004 (9 million page views):
- IE 89.93%
- Mozilla 5.29%
- Netscape 4.x 0.82%
- Opera 0.10%

February 2005 (11 million page views):
- IE 76.47%
- Mozilla 14.11%
- Netscape 4.x 0.45%
- Opera 0.12%

So, although the calculation of browser market share is a very inexact science - and contextual awareness is essential - there is little doubt that Microsoft needs to be worried.

The new version, IE7, will have a lot of ground to make up.

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posted by on Wednesday, March 2 2005, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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