Browser Share Changes

The latest W3C stats for browser market share are pretty interesting. For March 2011, it breaks down as:

  • Internet Explorer 25.8%
  • Firefox 42.2%
  • Chrome 25.0%
  • Safari 4.0%
  • Opera 2.5%

Internet Explorer peaked at 88% back in March 2003.  Firefox peaked at 47.9% in July 2009.  Safari peaked at 4.1% just last month, in February.  My guess is that Safari usage is almost entirely Mac OS X and iOS devices - I've never met anyone who uses Safari as their primary browser on Windows.

At the current trend rate, I'd expect to see a lot of press about Chrome beating out Internet Explorer in a month or so.  I can only imagine some pretty grim conversations at Microsoft about this - dropping from 88% to 25% is awfully grim.

As a parting comment, you may wonder why Internet Explorer market share would matter to Microsoft beyond bragging rights. Simply put, many Microsoft products (e.g. SharePoint, Office Live) are designed to work with Internet Explorer and provide a much better user experience when running on a system with IE and Office installed.  I can't count how many Firefox users have a negative view of SharePoint based on the user experience you get when viewing SharePoint on that platform. If your experience with SharePoint and Office on the web with Firefox is inferior to, say, the Google Docs experience... let's just say that's not a good trend for Microsoft.