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IE Rapidly Losing Market Share
Down 5% since May
Brett_Tabke




msg:618939
 1:44 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

[earthtimes.org...]

a worldwide survey in late November. The survey shows that Internet Explorer's share dropped to less than 89 percent, 5 percentage points less than in May. FireFox now has almost 5 percent of the market, and it is growing.

 

jeremymgp




msg:618940
 2:01 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Great news, Microsoft have enough PHDs to make a better browser 100 times over but with their strategic considerations to consider, such as protecting the Windows monopoly, the huge talent base at their disposal is constrained to the unfortunate loss of IE users.

Firefox does it better, safer, and far more elegantly. Period.

Merry Christmas,

Jeremy

chriswragg




msg:618941
 2:11 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Too Right!

Microsoft hasn't hooked onto the fact that Interent Explorer is just a virus download facility! ;) Surely if they just made a new browser, then the 89% of the world still asking themselves why their PC isn't working might actually be able to browse the web! I have recently switched to Firefox as I was fed up with downloading viruses. In total I have 7 Virus and Spyware programs installed just to keep my PC running smoothly! I accidently opened up IE earlier, on my homepage, and I had a Virus Warning pop up! Come on Mr Gates, do something!

Happy Xmas

chicagohh




msg:618942
 2:27 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Firefox does it better, safer, and far more elegantly. Period.

For now, but wait until FF holds a large share of the market and see what happens.

rubenski




msg:618943
 2:29 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't know how exactly Firefox is safer than IE, but I can imagine a virus writer would rather try to exploit security holes in IE than in Firefox, because IE is much more used. On the other hand I read IE is a good browser to attack because it is so deeply embedded within Windows, making it easier to attack the OS.

kevinpate




msg:618944
 2:29 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

> wait until FF holds a large share of the market

And may we all have a fairly short wait :)

Namaste




msg:618945
 2:56 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

IE is old
MSN is old
Windows is delayed
Search is delayed

is MS having an HR problem?

It appears that they are spread too thin. Don't have enough A grade managers to handle their business. Has XBox cost them dear?

rogerd




msg:618946
 3:01 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm probably the only one here who finds loss of share by IE a distressing development. I had finally stopped worrying about designing for NN4 users, and foresaw the day when anyone who wanted to introduce a browser would have to make sure it was IE-compatible, i.e., it would display sites in the same way that IE did.

The "IBM compatible" PC market started out rather chaotically, with incompatible hardware and software; software designers had to code to match the idiosyncracies of different manufacturers, and even to release different versions in some cases. Market forces (not standards bodies!) pushed suppliers into a single standard, and the market flourished.

It looked like we were closing in on the "single standard" point with browsers, but I fear we are headed back in the direction of having to code for multiple flavors. I have no problem with lots of different browsers that compete on features, security, speed, etc. - but let's not create new site display characterstics. It would be trivial for any browser maker to grab the top few hundred (or few thousand) sites, view them in IE and their own browser and insure that nothing broke. I'm not holding my breath, though.

HarryM




msg:618947
 3:13 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Rogerd,

Absolutely right!

Brett,

"Down 5% since May" = rapidly?

MatthewHSE




msg:618948
 3:17 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

For now, but wait until FF holds a large share of the market and see what happens.

Because FireFox doesn't permit complete access to the OS, it will always be more secure than IE, regardless of how much marketshare it gets or how targetted it becomes.

I have no problem with lots of different browsers that compete on features, security, speed, etc. - but let's not create new site display characterstics.

What "new site display characteristics" do you see in FireFox? So far I've been very pleased with the consistency with which a well-designed page displays between FireFox and IE. On the other hand, I've often been annoyed because IE doesn't support the neat little usability and display enhancements I could otherwise use.

timster




msg:618949
 3:28 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

It looked like we were closing in on the "single standard" point with browsers, but I fear we are headed back in the direction of having to code for multiple flavors.

You're looking in Firefox's direction when you write this?

With Firefox, we finally have a good browser that renders consistently across multiple platforms, reducing the need to have multiple testing machines. And Firefox clearly listens hard to the w3.

Making every browser render just like IE is a much more problematic proposition, since one version of IE is (of course) different than the next.

BlobFisk




msg:618950
 3:32 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

IE6 is rapidy becoming an old browser. MS only recently reponded to security flaws and started working on it again. I have a feeling that they will easily weather this storm and come back strong with whatever browser they ship with Longhorn.

IE still dominates the market by a long long way, let's put this in context: Mozilla are coming in at 5% of the market share and they represent the next biggest player in the browser market.

Firefox and Opera are far more standards compliant than IE. IE however is the browser of choice for most users and certainly for nearly all 'non-techie' users. I for one am far more interested in seeing whether the next IE incarnation starts supporting the entire CSS2.1 standard (for example child selectors).

pageoneresults




msg:618951
 3:33 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Let's see how those comparison numbers look in a year from now. 5% is a concern, but MS still have a very strong foothold in that marketplace and will for quite some time. Changes like this don't happen overnight.

I can confirm that the drop has been at least 5% and that is comparing statistics over a group of sites in the last 12 months. I see an average of 5-9% drop depending on the industry.

MSN has been heavily advertising their MSNTV here in California. I see the ads during prime time TV. I wonder if they have something else up their sleeve. The commercial depicts a person sitting on their couch with just a wireless keyboard. Their browsing experience is displayed on whatever media device they have. Imagine browsing while sitting on the couch and viewing a 60 inch screen. Maybe that is where we are headed?

encyclo




msg:618952
 3:38 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

rogerd, I much prefer the idea of "standards-compatible" rather than "IE compatible": the IE dominance helped in some ways, but is damaging in others, excluding alternative operating systems such as OSX or Linux, pushing towards a proprietary standard rather than an open one. If IE dominates totally, then the web becomes a Microsoft-only zone.

Newer browsers are generally easy to handle, and IE6 has known bugs which can be worked around with hacks or even with such products as IE7. IE6 has become the baseline, bog-standard, with other browsers offering a better user experience.

The importance is not just the percentage, but the profile of users who are switching to alternative browsers: most often heavy net users on broadband connections, technically-knowledgeable and at ease with online commerce: an important segment which you want to attract.

Modern alternative browsers are not a return to the IE4 vs. NN4 days, and the web improves with greater diversity in the user agent space. If Firefox were to become dominant, it would not be much better than the current situation - what would be ideal is a wide selection of user agents, none of which are in a majority position. However, at leaast user agents with the Gecko rendering engine (eg. Firefox) have the advantage of being cross-platform and open.

ogletree




msg:618953
 3:44 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

MS is not losing a tech war they are losing a PR war. IE really is not that much better than FF. Just like Linux is not that much better than windows. They both have pros and cons and as others have said anything with that kind of market share is going to be a target. I have worked in IT for years and tech people base very few of their opinions on hard facts or evidence. I bet if you took a survey of tech people about why they give the advice they give and what they base their decision on they would be hard pressed. They will most of the time say well everybody knows this or that. Not some detailed reason why.

rogerd




msg:618954
 3:55 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think a "standards compatible" approach would be fine in an ideal world... But if one player has a 90% market share (and isn't compliant to any particular standard), it makes sense for niche-browser designers to comply with IE display and code execution functionality rather than arbitrary standards that actually have little real market support.

I didn't mean to hijack this thread, though... my point was simply that declining market share for IE may create more complexity for web developers.

Namaste




msg:618955
 3:57 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think it's got to be more than 5%

Even regular blokes in my office & people I meet in bars have downloaded "Firefox" and talking about it!

My own website stats are showing IE at 80%-82% this week...and this is the week when lots of regular folks shop.

encyclo




msg:618956
 4:04 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

About our detour regarding making new browsers "IE compatible", it may be a good idea in theory, but in practice it is not possible: whilst a browser might be able to try and copy IEs basic layout rules, it is impossible to recreate IEs functionality (in terms of things like ActiveX and future developments such as XAML) because there are proprietary, protected, patented technologies being bundled with it.

So you would actually get into a much worse position: everything would copy IE rendering, but alternative browsers couldn't offer the proprietary features: making IE the only usable choice, devaluing the alternative browsers. If they are able to reverse-engineer the proprietary stuff, the only gain would be the risk of a lawsuit from MS. Embrace and extend, as MS say. It would kill the net, kill the competition, and leave a software monoculture even stronger than today.

lgn1




msg:618957
 4:46 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I used Firefox at home and in my buisness. However im stuck with IE at my day job, because all the poor execuses for web developers are developing applications that require activeX.

walkman




msg:618958
 4:50 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

great news. Now MSFT will maybe update the browser. So far they had virtually no competition to worry about

johnser




msg:618959
 6:02 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

An excellent incentive to force MS to bring out a new browser better integrating search functionality which should be good for all of us SEO's as it will likely attack G's dominance.

Can't wait!

victor




msg:618960
 6:03 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Rogerd --there are threads going back several years arguing the case for IE-only design vs standards-compliant.

As far as I can tell, it was always a no-brainer.

Standards-compliant:

  • took no extra time to code (once you'd motored up the learning curve of standards-compliance)
  • close to guaranteed 100% reach for the site
  • made the site future-proof -- a crucial business need given the web as a whole is barely older than a used car.

    From the other side the usual response was "why should I bother? I have 95% ofthe market covered. I don't care about the other 5%"

    From a business viewpoint, that was a risky and seemingly pointless strategy.

    And now those who took that decision need to rethink it, and cost out any remedial work.

    No need for the rest of the web to bail them out of a wrong judgment call.

  • nutsandbolts




    msg:618961
     6:37 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

    I'm probably the only one here who finds loss of share by IE a distressing development. I had finally stopped worrying about designing for NN4 users, and foresaw the day when anyone who wanted to introduce a browser would have to make sure it was IE-compatible, i.e., it would display sites in the same way that IE did.

    Not at all, rogerd. I totally agree with you. But then, 5% isn't exactly "rapid" - more like a slow crawl despite all that free publicity Firefox has gotten over the past year. It's a free download too.. Gee...

    CritterNYC




    msg:618962
     6:44 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Not at all, rogerd. I totally agree with you. But then, 5% isn't exactly "rapid" - more like a slow crawl despite all that free publicity Firefox has gotten over the past year. It's a free download too.. Gee...

    Well, let's see... there are somewhere between 600 million and 800 million people online. The 5% number is based on the worldwide population, not just the US. So, that means, since May, somewhere between 30 and 40 MILLION people have downloaded and installed something that didn't come by default with their computer. That means that between 5 and 6.7 million people PER MONTH are switching to Firefox. Doesn't sound like a crawl, does it?

    MatthewHSE




    msg:618963
     6:49 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Also, 5% in eight months doesn't sound bad for me, not for a product that has an uphill battle the whole way. At this rate, next August will see FireFox at 10%, and anywhere from 15% to 25% by the time Longhorn comes out. Personally I would expect FireFox's growth to be somewhat exponential as more people switch to it. So it wouldn't surprise me at all to find FireFox at 20-25% marketshare this time next year. And I sure hope it happens!

    aleksl




    msg:618964
     7:02 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

    FireFox growth will be limited, once it went through web-savvy and young. Microsoft still dominates businesses, where IE is locked in because of many applications that require ActiveX or interaction with other office products, or by virtue of simply all-Microsoft shops.

    Firefox, just like Google, doesn't have much going for it besides its original coolness. It needs to penetrate corporations, lock in on standards and such to be of any threat to IE. It they fail to do so, they will be just another browser that M$ will eat up and spit out with next release of IE.

    Although, M$ has a challenging thing to do - to pach a large hole in the ship opened by ActiveX controls. FireFox doesn't have such a security threat, but FireFox extentions is what worries me. Watch out for spammers to break FF once it reaches a reasonable market.

    CritterNYC




    msg:618965
     7:16 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

    FireFox growth will be limited, once it went through web-savvy and young. Microsoft still dominates businesses, where IE is locked in because of many applications that require ActiveX or interaction with other office products, or by virtue of simply all-Microsoft shops.

    Firefox, just like Google, doesn't have much going for it besides its original coolness. It needs to penetrate corporations, lock in on standards and such to be of any threat to IE. It they fail to do so, they will be just another browser that M$ will eat up and spit out with next release of IE.

    Although, M$ has a challenging thing to do - to pach a large hole in the ship opened by ActiveX controls. FireFox doesn't have such a security threat, but FireFox extentions is what worries me. Watch out for spammers to break FF once it reaches a reasonable market.

    Actually, I'm seeing good Firefox penetration in small businesses already. Accounting firms, law firms and events management firms specifically (what my colleagues and I support/work for) have been quite willing to switch. Excited, even, as they see support costs drop. Some mid-size businesses are making the switch as well for similar reasons. And, as management becomes more comfortable with Firefox from using it at home (installed by their high school or college-aged child that does their home "tech support") you'll see them more willing to install it in the corporation.

    In many cases, the ActiveX issue is a non-issue. For home issues, ActiveX isn't really ever required. For most small and medium businesses, the same applies. Even in most large corporations, ActiveX may only be used for a reporting component in a web application or the like. But there are always alternatives (Java or HTML-based) to that component.

    As to the security of extensions vs ActiveX, spammers and scammers have already targetted Firefox through installable XPIs. Firefox developers responded by requiring a website that wants to install to be on a whitelist with only mozdev and mozilla.org whitelisted by default... others can be whitelisted, but there are adequate warnings and it requires not-insignificant user action to get a website listed. Even when something is ON the whitelist, you still have to wait for the install timeout before you can click to install. IE, on the otherhand, lets ANY website install an ActiveX component and there is no timeout on the click-to-install button... so it's very easy for a scammer/spammer to have that popup on page load and for an enduser to accidentally click it. Windows XP Service Pack 2 has improved the situation, but you have to buy Windows XP and then upgrade to SP 2 to get even to that point. And it's still vulnerable to numerous auto-install exploits.

    victor




    msg:618966
     7:23 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

    FireFox growth will be limited, once it went through web-savvy and young.

    Cold comfort if they are your market...and you have sites that are now closed to them.

    WebDon




    msg:618967
     8:56 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Just a couple of thoughts to add to the many excellent points already presented:

    - As FF growth continues it will, at somepoint, gain enough market share to become a target of the spammers/scammers/hackers. I think it will be interesting to see how the open source model will compare to MS. As the bugs and vulnerabilities are found how fast will they get verified and fixed compared to MS? I'm thinking along the same lines of Linux here...it will be interesting to see how MS sustains against the potential responsiveness of an open source community.

    - I now ActiveX will be an issue for some, but probably not as insurmountable as some suggest. Afterall, I think there have been at least a few times businesses have had to 'temporarily' work without ActiveX because because MS said turn them off to be safe until we get the patch ready...

    StupidScript




    msg:618968
     10:02 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

    If this trend continues, we may wake up one day to find discussions about which browser to use have become exactly as interesting as which sedan to drive, or which mixer to use, or which shampoo is best.

    It's only interesting now because software and personal computing development are still relatively new products (compared to autos, mixers and shampoos), and the struggle(s) to penetrate the market(s) are so bloody.

    When every auto manufacturer decided to use the same blend of gas (standards), then the features and performance of the autos became more important. Now that features and performance are relatively similar between similar classes of auto, it's all about looks and cost.

    I dream of the day when standards-compliance is a non-issue, and all we have to worry about is which "skin" looks coolest.

    THAT will be a web developer's paradise.

    As long as M decides to mess with the rest of the world by releasing non-compliant (or wildly variant) browsers and maintains their policies of competitor-destruction-via-monopolistic-behavior, we will still have to design for them. That must be SO satisfying to their little egos ...

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