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back to article Yes, Internet Explorer is on the wane in Europe

Internet Explorer's European market share has decreased noticeably since Microsoft rolled out its browser ballot screen to EU Windows users, according to new data from net research firm Quantcast. Redmond introduced its ballot screen on March 1, after settling an antitrust complaint with the European Commission, and in a blog …

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Home v Work usage

That's an amusing comment that IE usage drops at the weekend. It presumably mean that most people are forced to suffer/use (delete as you see fit) IE by their companies IT dept. where the desktop team's management are rampant M$ fanbois. (As opposed to the actual techies, most of the Windows admins I know loath Windows with a vengeance that few Linux fans could muster).

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Alert

Sticking with IE, corporately speaking

At least we're sticking with IE in local government. There are certain benefits to be attained by doing so. Firstly we are managing only one browser, and doing so using MS tools that we already have. Secondly we have so many systems that barely work with IE8 that we have to stick with IE rather than go to a 3rd party browser.

Home use might change but IE will still rule the corporate roost for many years to come.

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Grenade

Corporate stagnation

Problem with that is that so much is IE6. Too many excuses and not enough action when it comes to moving on. Systems that don't work with IE8? Well, what about IE7? There may have been a reason to stick with IE6 back when IE7 was first released but that was a loooong time ago now!

The biggest problem is, and always has been, the unwillingness of corporates to make sure that the software they use works properly. They go for a cheap option then whine when it doesn't work, often leading to ridiculous workarounds just to keep going. An example I've seen is where a certain back interface requires a version of Java that is ancient just to keep going. Or another interface that, despite so many other options available via Internet, still requires a dial-up modem because the vendor says that it is more secure. Goodness knows what will happen when XP ends support (probably they'll do nothing until a couple of weeks before support ends then panic like crazy about porting everything onto the first supported version that takes their fancy and doesn't cost too much).

So yes, IE will probably rule the roost, as you say, corporately speaking. Whether we like it or not.

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Boffin

presumably

the weekend figures are more accurate, as, as noted, it excludes the forced use of IE by companies?

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work vs home

The StatCounter graph shows a clear weekly pattern: Internet Explorer peaks during weekdays, Firefox in the weekend. So there are quite some people that (have to) use IE at work, but when they can choose freely, prefer the Open Source way.

So I guess the choice is clear - sys admins, please follow!

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Anonymous Coward

...and then what?

Which browser are they supposed to use then?

Let me guess you use Firefox, thus we should all use that?

I haven't used Firefox in a while but when I did it was a pile of excrement.

I am quite happy with the browser I use but I am also more than happy to use IE at work.. Why would I care which web browser the company wants to use? It does what it needs to do.

Get over it...use the tools you are given. If you cannot manage to use IE as a web browser you might want to consider finding a less difficult job.

My guess is that the decline in numbers for IE says more about the ignorance of most users than anything else. Everyone has always had the option to download and install alternative browsers so why did they not do that? I am betting that 95% of the new downloads/default browser are done by people who think they HAVE to choose another browser. They are likely to click the first one on the screen or the one they heard about. Since they already have IE they will not choose that..

Why don't you question all these Firefox users and ask them what Open Source is? Why don't you ask the ones who used the option screen WHY they changed their default browser? It might turn out they haven't got a clue. I know that is what I'll put my money on.

Most people on here seem to think that freedom of choice is a good thing but why don't we wait a bit longer until we know more about why people changed their browser and what they did next?

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WTF?

Wow

I just wish I was possessed of your penetrating insight and lack of ego. What's it like being a full-time misanthrope?

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Pint

Oh shut up, you IE fanboi!

You ask anyone, even casual web-devs, how much they loathed IE against other browsers?

10% project time taken up writing standard compliant code for webpages

90% of the project coding in the tweaks required to allow IE to display pages correctly

The one thing always makes me laugh? Banks insist on you running IE! Yeah, great! The worst most insecure browser on the world's most insecure O/S, required to access your most secure data! Fantastic!

My rellies, most of them go around thinking PC=WINDOWS, period. Even they know that Firefox is free, Opera is technically free and both are more preferable to IE, due to the fact that most of the horror stories about lost data they read in the red-tops, come from IE!

Give people some credit please.

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Grenade

Ouch!

How long have you been nursing that particular grudge then?

Personally, I've been using Firefox since version 1. I use Firefox under Windows 7 (which I changed well before this current switch screen palaver), Windows XP, various forms of Linux and have even used the beta of version 2 for RISC OS.

No, Firefox isn't perfect. Neither is IE. However Firefox is certainly not the heap of poo that you imply as, if you had used it a little more recently and in a bit more depth, you would probably know.

You cite ignorance for the move away from IE. Could you also not consider that the same ignorance is exactly what has kept so many users on IE (the browser that Microsoft ships with the OS) for all these years?

So why did I change? In the beginning it was because Firefox was infinitely more secure than the IE of the time, and that I had tried Opera and Firefox and preferred Firefox. These days, I can't always make the same claim about security but, now that I am forced at work to use IE and nothing else, I can compare the experiences and find that Firefox provides better functionality overall, in my opinion, than IE. (oh, and if there are any Safari fans out there, yes, I did give it a go when I was trialling Windows 7 Beta, but I wasn't impressed. Too big, bloated and slow. I did try Google Chrome on my old XP box but, when it crashed the system, leaving me with a total mess that I had to reconstruct, I gave up on that right away!)

I do agree, however, with your very last statement. It will certainly be interesting to see how things go from here, especially if countries in other regions outside the EU start pushing for a similar option to choose.

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Stop

Good start, brings out the bad

Most companies use IE for a variety of reasons - probably the fact it comes pre-installed is signficant.

Some reasons *may* be the simple size of the user base, in the same way we still have Office on work machines rather than Open Office.

If you were deciding on which browser to roll out would you go for one that you could be reasonably certain your employees recognised and could use without any training and allowed you at least some level of corporate lock down? Or would you go for the open source one that allows endless user customisation?

Despite the fanbois (on both sides) ranting neither IE or FF are perfect. FF has a multitude of problems, some of which are fixed quickly, others not so. Same with IE. My install of firefox (3.6.2 on Win 7) is such a monumental memory hog that I have to shut it down (and kill the process) every 30 minutes or so. Do I want a corporate machine that does that?

Also, dont be fooled by statistics. There are more home users who have multiple browsers than there are corporate ones. The fact that at a weekend I use IE, Opera, Sleipnir, Firefox, k-melon (etc) makes it a less clear cut issue.

As one, slightly sensible, commenter said its a tool - get over it. Do people get so worked up over the brand of mouse or keyboard in use?

(OMG I am using a DELL keyboard. 'Tis the work of the devil I tells you)

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Re : Oh shut up, you IE fanboi!

"Banks insist on you running IE! "

Funny - all the banks (3) & BS (3) I use are quite content with FF/Linux without any bothering with user agent.

I agree with the rest however

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Ouch! & Oh shut up, you IE fanboi!

It is so hard to read, isn't it?

First of all... I don't use IE unless I have to, and even then I don't really mind. I use a perfectly fine browser which is probably the most secure one out there. I installed it by choice and because I loved it from the moment I started using it.

Who really cares though. I don't understand why people get so worked up about web browsers.

How many of you would choose an alternative web browser to IE if you had to pay for it?

Yes, I said I don't mind using IE at work. That doesn't make me a Fanboi. I wouldn't mind driving a Ferrari for work either...doesn't mean I'm a fan.

I just see an enormous security and logistical problem arise if we just let anyone choose their preferred browser in a professional environment.

My final thought...

If web designers stopped writing such horrible websites with all their flashy moving screaming auto-loading distracting content, and just concentrated on what actually matters, then there wouldn't be many compatibility issues.

Microsoft may not be the best at following the standard but you have to agree that that is partially caused by them trying to improve the user experience while the W3C was picking their noses and unable to decide on how to move forward.

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Market Share

Hopefully IE9 will be as standards-compliant* as they're promising and we will eventually see an end to all this 'browser market share' nonsense.

* I almost typed that without laughing. Almost.

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FAIL

I'm a PC

I imagine that IE8 will get a massive boost from the current IE8-centric TV ads.

Do Microsoft truly believe their customers are as brain-dead as the people portrayed in those ads?

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Pint

Re: I'm a PC

Don't act so surprised. It works for Apple.

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Those ads make me laugh my arse off

Especially "Now I can put two windows side by side!"

What? Windows side by side? Impossible! WITCHCRAFT, I SAY!

At least they're stopping the obnoxious "my idea" nonsense - a stupid idea combined with incredibly smug acting.

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Coat

Not surprised

You'd probably find that Vic Reeves might sue them for copyright infringement.

"This was my idea!"

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how many chose the first in the list?

Without knowing the reason why people are choosing other browsers, we cant call this a success. If people are blindly installing the first one on the list, this is no better than them blindly using IE. It simply swaps monopoly for dumb clicking without educating anyone as to what the choice means.

And lets face it, if you understand what Opera is then you either use it or have chosen not to.

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Grenade

My point to a tee.

This is what I came to the comments to post.

The amount of people I have talked to that have said to me "what's this?" when the ballot screen pops up (note when they did not ask it to) and think it is some sort of virus / malware is unbelievable.

And how many just clicked on the first / a random one just to get rid of it?

I agree that MS needed to be forced to get off their arse and sort out the browser situation out but I am not sure this was the right way.

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Anonymous Coward

Amusing

..but of course, the offending screen was an exercise in ballot stuffing that would make even GWB blush- most of the "browsers" were noname IE variants anyway.

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Rubbish

I think more reasonable conclusions are that there's a very slow long-term trend from IE to Firefox, and the browser choice has had no impact on that, coming as it did near the end of a brief reversal in that trend. (That reversal is unexplained. Was there a Firefox scare around that time?)

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Ballot screen *only* shown if inital browser *is* IE

So that fact is people don't have to choose *any* other browser.

But when they can, they do.

Remember they can choose to *retain* IE quite easily.

After all if IE were the superior choice surely that's what *most* customers would choose, right?

Note for people in higher education. Macro media author ware does not seem to work with *any* other browser but IE. It seems to need an ActiveX control that *only* IE can make sense of.

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Pretty hard not to...

"Remember they can choose to *retain* IE quite easily."

No kidding! Considering it can't be (easily) removed...

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@John Smite 19

Well my systems gave me the Ballot and IE is not my default browser. I found it annoying since there didn't seem to be a simple way to tell it to go away I've already made my choice and I don't want to have you download another browsers - again. I've already downloaded the ones I want to use.

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Happy

@Dazed & confused

"Well my systems gave me the Ballot and IE is not my default browser. I found it annoying since there didn't seem to be a simple way to tell it to go away I've already made my choice and I don't want to have you download another browsers - again. I've already downloaded the ones I want to use."

Now this I am a bit surprised by. I know this was put out as part of the Windows Update programme so MS *could* be said to be playing it safe by offering it to all PC where IE is *installed* rather than just the default.

Perhaps they hope some non IE users might come back to them.

Having run the Acid 3 test in IE and an other browser the difference is astonishing. The IE rendering was just rubbish in a test any *proper* browser should mostly pass by design.

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So what.

There is no browser 'market'.

I'd like to see a comparison of notepad use versus kedit. It'd be just as interesting

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Pirate

Titles are for other people

Yes, that's what we need to highlight, the tyranny of notepad. For too long have we struggled under it's yoke and suffered under it's whip! Brothers and sisters, we must break free!!!

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Notepad? Wassat?

Google for "Metapad". At its most basic, it is a drop-in lookee-likee of Notepad. And then there's all the extra features.

The only thing I want to get rid of... The Windows propensity for seeing something with oddly formatted bytes (say I want to open an EXE to see what it identifies itself as the hard way), suddenly I'm staring at a screenful of Chinese because it thinks it was a Unicode document. Is there a "No" option???

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Anonymous Coward

I've used Editpad for years

I burnt an XPP installation disc with Notepad replaced by renamed-Editpad, so it never gets replaced by SFP. I think of as somewhat like doing it for the sheer pleasure of giving Notepad a kick in the goolies. Think I'll knock up an appropriate .wav to run every time it's launched!

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Oh, no

Don't get 'em started. Have you learned nothing from all the years of vi vs emacs? Browser wars are nothing, NOTHING, compared to the editor wars.

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Bronze badge

Tee hee!

Personally, I always preferred EDT, but then I cut my teeth in the days of the PDP-11. I generally tend to use a little known editor called PFE (Programmer's File Editor) under Windows and have done since I was using Windows 3.11.

As far as the war goes, I was conscripted into the vi camp after they killed off our last PDP-11. So sad...

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Badgers

vi

What a steaming pile of %&//!%&!

Now, where did that popcorn go... (Sorry, you started it)

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FAIL

Bit of a non-story

It's probably too early to see much of an effect from the browser choice screen. Microsoft are the ones to ask on the speed of service pack uptake but from the windows users I know tend to wait for an "expert" to help them with this. IE 6's dominance in corporate environments is no surprise because it is easier for admins to give everyone the same settings that they can't tinker with. The "application" eco-system that has grown up around this has led to a bit of chicken and egg which is why IE 8 includes the compatability mode. But things are changing: one multinational I work with has now made IE 8 the official browser allowing Firefox to be installed "upon request". Other browsers don't stand much of a chance because each piece of approved software must be approved which costs money.

Regarding the stats themselves - the Quantcast graphs are extremely poorly chosen as the small range of the y-axis exaggerates the slightest change. Anyone of the stats should include rolling averages as day to day (and even month to month) spikes are the norm and well within the standard deviation.

The basis of the various stats can also seriously be questioned as they are installed on a very small subset of sites and users of "other" browsers are more likely to cloak their presence through cookie, script and content blocking. I recently did a clearout of my _utm (Google analytics) cookies and was astounded at their reach.

But as far as web developers are concerned the move from IE 6 to IE 8 is probably as important as anything else. While in no way brilliant IE8 does allow you to mandate HTML 4 or XHTML 1 and CSS 2, which solves most presentational gripes even if it does mean hacks for other stuff that we've come to expect. However, from what I can see uptake of IE 8 has *not* increased this year.

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Anonymous Coward

All FF needs to do to be king in the workplace is...

... Find a way to integrate itself in to Domains/Group Policy like IE does. When I was maintaining a big domain the fact that I could change IE settings in blocks via GP was the reason I kept it, it just worked. IIRC FF doesn't have a similar feature yet (outside a config file script IIRC) but if it did then it would be a viable product for domains.

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re: All FF needs to do to be king in the workplace is

I agree.

I use IE across the board for 4 reasons

1. Is the issue of control, I need to be able to lock down settings on the browser and change them at a later date as and when required from a central location

2. relates to updating, IE can be updated via WSUS I can instantly see which machines need updating, updates are applied automatically and don't require admin rights on the PC.

3. is the age old issue of compatibility, we still have two applications that will not run outside of an IE environment. Using either specific scripting or some form of ActiveX control that means other browsers are not an option.

4. With the exception of firefox no other browser can handle transparent NTLM authentication, they all prompt the user with a username and password box. If firefox can do it then it's possible.

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Control?

Related to locking down settings, I'm currently sat in college typing this via Portable Chrome. About 10 minutes ago, one of the technicians walked past and tutted at me for not using IE. He was about to show me why, presumably by showing me how an alternative browser could bypass proxy settings and the likes. Chrome sort of said "bugger off, this operation has been restricted."

He was happy with that. I continue to use Portable Chrome.

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Happy

@ Censored & Ragarath

Censored wrote :

"Without knowing the reason why people are choosing other browsers, we cant call this a success. If people are blindly installing the first one on the list ...it simply swaps monopoly for dumb clicking without educating anyone as to what the choice means."

Fine, I'll go with that swap. Most people will always be dumb and they don't want your education. I call success anything that herds them away from IE.

Ragarath wrote :

"And how many just clicked on the first / a random one just to get rid of it?"

A random mix is just fine. Anything to remove the dominance of one, especiallly a bad one. That way we will see some more standards adherance because no single one can write (and keep changing) the "de-facto" standards.

... and "I agree that MS needed to be forced to get off their arse and sort out the browser situation out but I am not sure this was the right way."

Tell us what the "right way" is then, and dont start on about "educating" people - it never works. I've lost patience with governments, standards bodies and the rest of the IT industry pussy-footing around with Microsoft.

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So I Assume ...

If I knew the right way I would have said. I don't which is why I did not.

How is a random mix better? If people do not know what they are using or why. Just that a screen popped up and they clicked on something and now they can't get back to what they are used to and know.

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Happy

IE Tab anyone?

I suppose being a techy its easier for me to demand local admin privileges on my company laptop. So I do use Firefox quite happily at work and just add all the crappy non-web compliant corporate IE6 shite to run in IE Tab inside of my shiny newly skinned Firefox window.

This along with an installation of cygwin makes my XP work laptop almost feel like home (well a comfortable budget hotel anyway).

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Anonymous Coward

Not surprising really?

If the forcourt at your local Ford garage had a giant sign outside saying "are you SURE you want a Ford? Why not try going round the corner to Vauxhall, or BMW are just over the road!" I'm certain their sales would also drop.

Don't really get why people get their knickers in a twist over IE being included with the O/S. Like another poster said, notepad is included, why not jump on that next, its not like IE prevents you installing any other browser!

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Thumb Down

Oh god, more crap analogies

A computer is not a car. A router is not a house. The Internet is not a series of tubes.

..and having a browser made by a company with a history of deliberately futzing standards up being on 98% of everything means anyone wanting to make something without paying the Microsoft tax is effectively screwed. Remember uk.gov's previous utter shite attempts at a jobcentre website that would only work on IE? Ditto some banks that rely on Microsoftish ActiveX controls? Good luck getting that to work on Linux/BSD/Solaris/OS X/Nintendo DS/Sony Playstation/etc/etc/etc.

Now do you see?

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One cat, one bag...

Nice to see a near-parity with IE and Firefox. I guess the recent IE9 not on XP word will affect this too.

There are two things I wonder... If Opera is so damn good, as the fanbois will have us believe, how come the relative newbie (Chrome) is already points ahead? You can't say "Chrome is plugged on Google" as I know Opera quite well from the J2ME version on my phone...

Second thing, if you're running IE with the Chrome hack... Is that a tick in the IE box or the Chrome box? Or maybe there is an "Other" category for people doing odd stuff like that. :-)

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Headmaster

Heystupid ;-)

In answer to your questions:

1) Since when has popular ever meant good? STD's are "popular" but that doesn't necessarily make them desirable. Google has been spending lots of money advertising Chrome on its "properties" but also advertisting campaigns. Opera doesn't spend heavily on advertising its browser. I'm not sure but I think that Opera Mini users don't even register as they are behind proxies. Don't know this also applies if you are using Turbo.

2) Chrome in IE is Chrome is Chrome is Chrome.

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Yo, you called? :-P

Popular does not necessarily equate to good - look at VHS.

Thing is, though, that Opera has been around a LONG ol' time, fanbois often claim it "innovates" new features (which is usually true, at least on the x86 platform, though tabbed browsing came from an Amiga browser). Yet, despite this heritage and despite people saying how good it is, it is struggling to gain market share. In fact, according to one source, its popularity has gone DOWN (started 2008 at 1.4%, peaked at 2.4% end of 2008, now at 2.1% in Feb 2010 (after 2.2% in Jan 2010)). [source: http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp; pretty much ditto at: http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php ]

I think it is shown best in the lower picture here [ http://www.webdevelopersnotes.com/articles/windows_browser_statistics.php ] which shows, as mentioned, a small DECREASE in Opera market share, compared with a rather more impressive take-up of Chrome.

Why. Why is Opera not gaining ground, yet everything else IS? (we don't count IE, nobody gives a crap about IE any more <g>)

As you say, popular does not equate to good, but then again something that never seems to take off... kinda suggests it has its own problems somewhere...?

BTW, FWIW, I refered to OperaMini as it is my browser of choice for the older generation of smartphones (i.e. the ones too old or clunky to hack a real OS with a real browser). My own phone is a Nokia 6230i and my OperaMini is v4.2. I know a number of people with similar types of phones, and I've put OperaMini on several of them, it usually beats the naff attempts by the manufacturers! However, doesn't it stand to reason that if we know of Opera on our phones, we might consider it for our computers?

Strange. I've not seen one single Chrome advert, but I'm getting kinda bored of the IE8 "say as much as possible in very few seconds" one.

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I hate...

...graphs that show dramatic trends that on closer examination, have huge gaps on the vertical axis and only show a drop of a few percentage points over a long period.

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RW

@ Dazed and confused: "rampant fanbois"

It's no different from the old days of mainframes, when managerial fanbois wouldn't consider for a moment anything but IBM. Just like IBM of yore, MS in first and foremost a marketing operation that peddles second-rate product, and succeeds to a large extent due to the rampant fanbois.

One difference: IBM's dominance of the old mainframe market gave them economies of scale that other computer manufacturers could only dream of, and their software was pretty good, though of course it was nothing like as complex as what runs on our contemporary desktops and servers.

Today, in spite of their market dominance, MS continues to vomit up grossly inferior product with bugs that must cost the world far more than MS's gross intake.

As a nod to the historically minded, the names of the Seven Dwarfs: CDC, Univac, Burroughs, RCA, NCR, Honeywell, GE. And the names of a few other computer manufacturers some of us dimly remember: Philco, Bendix, Raytheon, Royal-McBee, Dec. Some of these names are referents to extremely innovative architectures that, had they been widely adapted, may have significantly altered the course of computing history.

Why do we not have an icon of a papyrus scroll with a bearded scholar weeping over it?

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Flame

Choice makes developers happy

Most users think IE is 'the internet', the blue E. Making them aware that other browsers exist is a good thing. It will certainly make people consider why they are using IE. Claiming that IE should continue to be used while also stating that systems don't work with IE8 is madness itself. If the vendors lock you in to IE but don't support the latest recommended release then should you be using those vendors at all? Is it really so hard to create web systems that make use of, erm, standards? Most credible developers have been coding to standards and then IE as an exception for quite some time. They hate that latter part, and lack of interoperability.

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Headmaster

5% drop?

Assuming that's referring to the first graph, we see 50% at the switchover time and 45% as the lowest value after that. Thing is, that's a 10% drop, not a 5% drop. I think maybe the word you wanted was percentile, not percent ...

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FAIL

Shocking reporting

A big fail to The Register's reporting and their misuse of statistics. The graphs show that peaks and troughs of similar magnitudes occur regularly, and overall it is too early to say whether the ballot screen has actually dented the IE share.

Anyway, does someone want to tell me why all of my W7 computers offered me the ballot screen (which I refused), even though I have FF as default browser?

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