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Monday, March 28, 2011

Why Microsoft Won't Reclaim Market Share with IE9

With the final versions of Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4 now available on the web, the inevitable market share comparisons are beginning to pop up predicting the futures of the two browsers. It’s an old story: Microsoft once absolutely dominated the web browser world with Internet Explorer 6, and ever since Firefox came on the scene its grip has slowly, slowly been slipping. Currently Microsoft still holds more than 50% of the browser market, while Firefox and Chrome are carving out their own chunks of loyal followers.

Despite the improvements that have gone into IE9, Microsoft’s browser strategy may be doomed to lose more users to Chrome and Firefox than ever.

ConceivablyTech has posted an analysis of Internet Explorer 9’s adoption rate and long-term chances for success. It doesn’t paint a very pleasant picture for Microsoft’s browser and cites several standout issues that will hinder IE9’s chances of beating Mozilla and Chrome in the modern browser era. Here are the highlights.

Internet Explorer 8 has no built-in upgrade option to IE9.
Internet Explorer 9 only supports Vista SP2 and Windows 7. No Windows XP support is possibly a crippling blow for the browser.
Within 24 hours of launch, IE9 was downloaded 2.35 million times compared to 8.1 million for FF4. Where FF4 already holds about 3.5% of the market, IE9 barely has 1%.
Downloads don’t necessarily equal users. Those who try IE9 may not stick with the browser.
Mozilla and Google are better at encouraging/helping users upgrade browsers. Microsoft is more lax about making its users upgrade--it took two years for 63% of Internet Explorer users to upgrade to IE8, and the rest remained on IE6 and IE7.
IE6 still sees heavy use in Asia, and websites built for the browser don’t function properly in later IE revisions, discouraging the populace from upgrading.

Now that Internet Explorer 9 has been available for a couple weeks, what do you think of it? Is anyone using it as a primary browser?

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