Browser Wars: Internet Explorer continues to Lose to Firefox, What’s Safari?

Click the chart to see it full size. The two browsers to keep an eye on are Internet Explorer and Firefox. Internet Explorer’s total penetration is dropping and Internet Explorer 7’s share seems to be dropping off under Firefox!

Browser Market Share

Data source: W3Schools

Safari hasn’t even made any impact, even with its attempt to push into the Windows market. Perhaps part of Safari’s problems are the immediate and embarrassing security issues that were uncovered within 2 hours of its download by Lar Holm.

IMHO, the issue with Internet Explorer is purely due to two reasons:

  1. The Internet Explorer Team’s continued ignorance of CSS standards. Though it may sound like this would be a small percentage of the population, it’s the people that may matter most that they are alienating – the developers.
  2. I may sound like I hate Internet Explorer, but I actually use it every day. It seems to perform well and, when page hacks are implemented, the rendering of those pages is beautiful. I continuously struggle with the usability of the application, though, as soon as I try to use a menu. The ridiculous positioning of the menus to the right is a fundamental flaw. Take a look at any application and all the menus are positioned to the left, not the right.

Internet Explorer Menus

I recently loaded up Vista on my son, Bill’s, new screaming PC and I have to tell you that the interface is dazzling, especially with the Aero effects running. Bill was able to install Office 2007 for school and I love the ribbon menu system. It may take me some time to figure out where everything is – but thus far, each feature is intuitively positioned with fantastic visuals that accurately represent the action.

Microsoft Office 2007 Ribbon

Given these User Experience and Usability enhancements in core Microsoft products, I’m surprised that the Internet Explorer team hasn’t put out a call for help.

Don’t listen to me, though… just keep your eye on the statistics.

UPDATE: One more statistic according to W3Schools that’s important is the penetration of Javascript usage. Because it’s becoming such an essential part of the User Experience, use of Javascript-enabled browsers is on the rise, with only 4% of browsers either not supporting it (e.g. IE Mobile) or disabled.


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    I was recently reading on Lifehacker comments that the w3schools stats aren’t that good because they’re all focused on people who do web design — which is a much higher rate of firefox adoption than other demographics.

    Haven’t dug enough into it yet.

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    Until those stats start to match the web as a whole, they really don’t mean much. You might as well just publish your server stats.

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    It’s shocking to see this chart when you consider that many sites are still NOT compatible with Firefox. As a long time Firefox user, this drives me crazy.

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    A long-time IE6 hater b/c of non-CSS compliance, I’m actually surprised to see the inability for IE7 to catch on, despite the fact that Microsoft did a fairly decent job in making sure the style bugs were resolved. That, combined with the fact that IE7 was to be pushed to Windows users via Update, you’d think IE6 would’ve plummeted (and thus, skyrocketed IE7 penetration) by now.

    Chris Schmitt wrote a great short-cut text about the differences in the two browsers from a style perspective which I reviewed in my blog here.

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    Good post!

    Interestingly the IE6 share loss is directly translating to IE7 share growth.. should we read this meaning that the Firefox growth is coming from old IE users? This would be natural that Firefox gets older IE users to jump ship, than more loyal users who have gone for the whole upgrade path of IE4-5-6-7…

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