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back to article Internet Explorer nibbles browser rivals, swells by 1%

Internet Explorer's share of the browser market went up last month, by 0.99 per cent, according to new data from Net Market Share. Microsoft's slow claw-back of market share from its rivals puts Internet Explorer's global market share at 53.83 per cent, saving it from plunging below the 50 per cent mark and marking an overall …

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FAIL

Wahey!

Let's all let microsoft define all the future html and css standards then. And don't forget, you've always got compatibility mode for when its, err, not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wahey!

Let's all go for the memory leaking update to a new major version every blink of the eye browser with really unforgiving rendering.

Or let's go to the phone home to a major search engine browser.

How about the whiny pay for me or endure adverts one?

Or the iDontBelongOnAPC one?

Each browser has its problems.

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Re: Wahey!

Which one requires you to pay to opt out of ads?

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JDX
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Re: Wahey!

As opposed to Google and Firefox who never create their own non-standard extensions?

NaCl, -moz-border-radius, etc...

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Re: Wahey!

Yes. And like they have always been they will integrate bing in tightly so you will use their search instead of any others.

Microsoft - the danger is Real! The Danger is Microsoft!

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Re: Wahey! - @AC

You say "unforgiving rendering" like it's a bad thing. Code your pages properly and there's no issue. ;-)

Interesting to see this reversal of fortunes for IE. People are playing it up all wrong though. Surely this is a sign to Microsoft that developing a fast, reliable browser that complies well with standards is a far better and more welcome strategy than their previous efforts? People are more savvy these days - Firefox and Chrome taught them that - and it's led Microsoft to create a much improved browser. Isn't this the end-result benefit of competition in the browser market that we all wanted? What the hell are you all complaining about?

I don't personally use IE9, but if I meet someone out there does, I don't actually mind. In the past, the developer in me would have gotten irritated and tried to persuade them away, but now IE has improved to the point that I don't have to worry about it so much.

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JDX
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Re: Wahey! - @AC

Indeed. There was an article a while back claiming Google don't give a damn if Chrome gains market share, as long as it leads to whichever browsers ARE dominant being fast and compliant, so that web-based apps can take over and get Google more traffic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wahey!

Wow that sure is outdated info, I don't even know where to start but let's try:

Re: Or let's go to the phone home to a major search engine browser

well there are alternatives, SRWare Iron is one such browser, Chromium is another, and they ALL feel exactly like Google Chrome but without the Google spyware.

Re: How about the whiny pay for me or endure adverts one?

Opera stopped being the 'adverts in your face unless you pay' browser a LONG time ago.

Re: Or the iDontBelongOnAPC one?

Which one is that? too incoherent to answer.

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Re: Bing integration

So IE defaults to Bing? Every bloody time I upgrade Firefox, it switches my search provider in it back to Google. Last time, it didn't even have Bing as one of the options in the drop down menu to select meaning I had to go searching for a plugin. Whereas with IE, switching it from Bing to Google is trivial. (Not that I have, as I actually prefer Bing for everything except searching news groups).

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Two men sayin' they're Jesus

So WTF is statcounter's 35.75% - 34.81% share slide of IE worldwide then?

gs.statcounter.com

Is one of these reporting global pork-pie share or something cos that's a massive discrepancy.

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The best

"This month in the US nearly 50 per cent of Windows 7 users are experiencing the best the web has to offer with IE9."

What is the best the web has to offer with IE9? Presumably it's much worse than the best the web has to offer with Chrome, Firefox or Opera? ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The best

Of course it's much worse - this is Microsoft we're talking about here!

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Anonymous Coward

Nice.

Internet Explorer the Ford Focus or browsers, everyone's got one, but it's not very good.

Opera, the Ferrari of browsers, really great, but only a small amount of people know how good it really is..

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Joke

Re: Nice.

I don't think the car analogies really work with web browsers, because Internet Explorer would have to be a car that you were forced to keep in your garage all the time even if you didn't use it, and Opera would be a Ferrari that didn't cost anything.

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DJV
Meh

Re: Nice.

Oooh, a dilemma - I want to vote you up because of the Ford comment but vote you down because of the Opera comment!

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idiot

"Internet Explorer the Ford Focus or browsers, everyone's got one, but it's not very good.

Opera, the Ferrari of browsers, really great, but only a small amount of people know how good it really is.."

Except a Ford Focus is a better car than a Ferrari in terms of reliability, usefulness, etc as well as cost.

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Re: Nice.

I own a Focus, it's 10 years old, has passed every MOT without failure. The one repair was a replacement windscreen wiper relay whilst still under warranty.

The Ford Focus is nothing like IE, at least mine isn't... Oh and it hasn't crashed yet either.

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JDX
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Re: Nice.

I don't think I've had IE9 crash either, and I used it for months alongside Chrome 50:50.

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Trollface

Re: Nice.

And everyone who owns a Ferrari really, really wants you to know that they've got a Ferrari.

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Re: Nice.

Wow, a defensive Ford Focus owner. Who knew?

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@Trollface

THIS!

I really quite like Opera as a browser. Not my preference, but it's not bad at all. The fanboys, on the other hand... Gee. Zus.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 10 year old Focus

Do you keep that Focus garaged and does it see much rain at all? If not, I'm amazed quite frankly. British weather usually causes Fords to rot quicker than the bits in a Microsoft product.

I have been testing an unwieldy legacy JavaScript application in IE10 under Windows 8 just last week and performance when IE can be coaxed into executing anything at all is frankly abysmal. This is something that works ok in the current crop of browsers too, including IE9. Oh, and hate to admit it, but Opera and Chrome the fastest at rendering it. Firefox is the laggard by quite some margin.

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Re: Nice.

No, just realistic. I know which I'd rather drive to Tesco or to holiday in Scotland in.

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Lazy

People are basically lazy, so most (50%) will not bother to run a different browser. The problem lies when they go to a site that was built using Microsoft's tools using defaults. Especially older sites. It uses activeX and other proprietary bits that make it not work with other browsers. When somebody runs into that enough times, they will see it runns fine on IE and there must be something wrong with the other browsers.

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It works?

As we speak about ie 9 here, it has standards support and decent amount of backwards compatibility. It also uses low amount of RAM.

"but people are lazy/ dumb/ slave" should be carefully used.

I default to opera on every device, not a fan of ie but seriously, memorized like arguments doesn't work.

What they did wrong was not shipping for xp, a version that didn't have all bells and whistles like vista/7 version but worked.

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Re: Lazy

Well this morning I used the Companies House website (a government site) and discovered that it DOESN'T WORK unless you are using IE. They know about it, don't seem to see it as any kind of problem.

It isn't a particularly complicated site (just gathering a few basic details that form the annual return), and I bet they paid a fortune to have it developed. They really should have made it standards compliant.

So please cross one user off the IE count because I wasn't using it out of choice.

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A week ago there was a headline reading Chrome was the worlds leading browser, and I responded with a link to the stats used as the basis for this article, and instead of writing a piece about how stats are not solid you "announce" IE now has the greatest market share. Holy moly El Reg, get your act together.

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Windows

Its the competition, not Microsoft..

I think that the competition is more responsible for this change in market share. Lets start with Firefox; many people like myself dropped it because having to deal with upgrades on such short notices eventually gets too annoying. You start your browser but you "can't" visit a website because your attention has been drawn away by an update. Worse; often some of your plugins will stop working after the upgrade due to version conflicts. And that's not even getting into the issue of Firefox which more and more seems to look like Chrome.

Speaking of which; there is also a slowly growing concern when it comes to Google and the data they're collecting. It wouldn't surprise me if this issue also resulted in some people moving away from Chrome.

And considering that Windows is still heavily used it isn't that strange that people who are unhappy with their current browser also end up trying out MSIE every once in a while. However, while this may sound like good news for MS I'd say give it a month or two. Expanding your market share is one thing, but maintaining that newly acquired position is something else...

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Re: Its the competition, not Microsoft..

An honest, not-trying-to-start-a-flame-war question: have you tried Opera? Ok, yes, I know, lots of people hate its guts for not being Firefox, but I keep hearing people whine about Firefox's annoying upgrades, or grumble about Chrome's "please track me" capabilities. Opera updates regularly, but not daily, it has lots of very useful features, it's free, and it's not Google or Microsoft.

I'm not trying to march about with an "Up with Opera!" sign - I just wonder why people that call everyone who use IE "lazy" or "stupid" refuse to even try another browser (or try it again, if they tried it 10 years ago and quit because they hated the ads) when theirs doesn't work the way they want...

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JDX
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Re: Its the competition, not Microsoft..

I'm really surprised Google has even stagnated, let alone lost growth. I thought they were increasing share at a furious rate - did they tail off very suddenly?

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Re: Its the competition, not Microsoft..

@ShelLuser thank you for an intelligent and balnced post.

"...there is also a slowly growing concern when it comes to Google and the data they're collecting. It wouldn't surprise me if this issue also resulted in some people moving away from Chrome."

I'm one of those people. Having switched to Chrome years ago (for its speed) from FF I thought I'd try IE9. No issues so far after a few months of use.

@ArmanX you make a good point and I will take a look at Opera again when I have time.

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Anonymous Coward

Lets keep these figures in perspective. IE is the default browser, ummm by default on new Windows installs. Most current IE users are not people who like IE they are just lazy in using what comes to hand.

Give people a choice of browser at initial login and these numbers would decrease to single digits in a heartbeat.

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JDX
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Um, I thought MS did that now? Most people would still pick IE if they knew nothing about it since it's the official one by the OS company.

The fact people switch from IE9 less than they do IE7/8 shows your argument is not totally good - people are less dissatisfied with IE9 than other versions. That's because IE9 is now at worst tolerable - no strong incentive for people to switch.

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Ummm no, fresh install of windows presents the user with a choice of default browsers, in random order, so people who don't know will likely pick the first in the list.

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What's the install base of Macs versus Safari's market share? Serious question, does anyone have stats on that? It would be interesting to see which OS users are more likely to keep the default browser.

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Stop

@Jay Croghan

...In Europe. If I recall, only in the EU will users be given that choice. Everywhere else, they get IE, and can download something else if they know how/want to.

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Tablet effect?

Let's face it these are desktop market share stats. Could it just be that enough of the more tech savvy types have jumped to surfing on their tablets to create this default-choice IE surge?

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Flame

Re: Tablet effect?

You may have a point about the stats but let's not pretend that the iPhad-fondling Nathan Barleys of this world are "tech savvy" - unless "tech savvy" now means that you need an app to decide what superfood salad you're going have for your lunch at Silicon Roundabout.

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Re: Tablet effect?

Oh I don't mean tech-savvy as in fluent in C++. I just mean those that know enough to consider changing their desktop browser from the default option.

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Bah!

Rounding errors have made this so-called pie-chart a worthless piece of garbage. The "Other/Undetectable" segment should of course be -1%.

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Statscounter vs Net Market Share

So... Statscounter has Chrome and IE nearly tied, with chrome holding the advantage on the weekend ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/22/chrome_number_one_for_a_day/ ), while this study reports that IE has an outright majority...

Further investigation indicates that, among the major differences:

* Statscounter uses page views, Net Market Share uses unique visitors (as best it can identify them).

* Net Market Share explicitly adjusts for Chrome's prerendering; statscounter does not, and notes that there was no jump in chrome's ranking when pre-rendering was introduced (which you'd expect, considering how aggressive Chrome is at updating). Net market share actually just recently introduced a "correction" for this - well after Chrome introduced prerendering - likely this is the cause of at least part of the recent decline in Chrome's marketshare by their count.

* Statscounter has a much larger network (3m sites vs 40,000).

So this would imply that chrome users produce about 2-2.5x as many page views each as IE users, with FF users somewhere in the middle... Which I suppose is hardly profound - I wouldn't use the internet as much either if I was stuck using IE to do it!

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Holmes

Hands up, how many of you...

block sites like statscounter?

I've lost count of the number of people I've made aware of blocking these sort of sites can improve the performance of your browsing.

AdblockPlus & NoScript for me everytime.

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Facepalm

The big problem here is that there is no way to accurately measure browser usage everywhere. Although the reported number for IE went up marginally, my guess is that the uncertainty error bars out to 95% accuracy are really, really large.

The point is that a reported 1% change is actually swamped by the uncertainty in the figure they are reporting.

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I've never trusted browser stats sites...

Offhand, I can think of several reasons votes are mis-counted:

-AVG used to report itself as IE when it pre-checked links

-Opera and FF both have the option of reporting the browser as something other than what it is; since it helps fix stupid websites, some people will leave it on all the time

-Various companies (businesses, Internet cafés, etc.) force their users to use IE, thought many of those users use a different browser at home

-AdBlock/No-Script (and other do-not-track software) make it much harder to track browsers, which means browsers with those plugins (everything but IE, basically) are under-reported

-"No browser given" is, on some sites, throw away, instead of being counted as "unknown"

-Different versions of the same browser may be counted in different categories (old version is counted as 'unknown', for instance)

-Mobile, desktop, and embedded versions are occasionally misreported in the wrong category

-Some browsers 'cache' links you'll never click on, or use multiple sessions to download pages, or conversely, reuse sessions to download multiple pages

-anyone using more than one browser dilutes the pool; they get one 'vote' per browser, rather than a weighted vote

Obviously, some of these may not apply, or make minimal difference, but when you can look at five different browser-stats websites and get six radically different breakouts, there's obviously something wrong. I couldn't tell you which one is underreported, if any... I just don't trust it beyond "very rough estimate." Currently in the lead for "first place" are Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer, depending on who you ask; whenever someone moves into first place on one of the many browser-stats sites, there is a media hubbub, followed by the other browsers pointing out how it was measured incorrectly, followed by accusing the stats site of favoritism, followed by the stats site defending their position, followed by someone else moving into first - wash, rinse, repeat.

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JDX
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Re: I've never trusted browser stats sites...

Of course they're not 100% accurate but when you consider the % of PCs which are just running a plain install of the browser compared to those which are in internet cafes or belong to nerds who do fancy things, I imagine such effects are very small.

We can assume browsers like Opera are hardest hit since that's probably the most technically savvy/paranoid choice - i.e. a greater proportion of Opera users don't want to be tracked.

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Windows

XP?

If IE9 ran on XP think of the share MS would have :-)

I want clear milestone infrequent updates from Firefox, not the incessant tinkering. Once every 18 months or so ...

Or just when a new standard is released. Can't anyone write SW properly and securely to a standard?

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Re: XP?

If IE9 ran on XP think of the share MS would have ???

None from me. They've abandoned Windows Style font rendering, and have adopted accurately scaled, high resolution rendering. Printer rendering. Apple Mac rendering. Instead of nearest-pixel rendering

I understand that the new technology will be able scale pages well, and pages will have exactly the same size and shape in every browser on every OS on every monitor, and the end user will see exactly what the web designer sees. So I understand the attraction for web designers. Who seem to be in charge of browser design now.

And when I get a very very very high resolution monitor I'll be happy to see high-resolution font rendering.

But right now, IE and FF on a new mid-range LCD monitor show bands of bold and faint text when viewed from any angle other than dead centre, due to poor reproduction of sub-pixel rendering, and there is absolutely no way I would choose to use a modern browser on XP.

And that's before I even consider the pale, washed out, invisible, hard to identify control icons in the new browser interfaces.

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Safari

I have Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari installed on my computer.

I prefer Safari.

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Anonymous Coward

The NHS remains on IE7

Aaargh!

I have Firefox, Opera, Safari on assorted computers. They work.

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