While it's still more popular than the other browsers combined, the fact that Internet Explorer's market share has fallen under the 50 percent mark is an eye-opening event. This marks the first time IE has ever been reduced to under half. Granted, Microsoft's browser is under the line by about .42 percentage points, the fact remains, under half of the world's Internet users are doing so with Internet Explorer.
Does this mean the end of IE as we know it? Not exactly. As indicated, even with it falling under the halfway point in terms of usage, at 49.58 percent of the market share, Internet Explorer still has more users than the rest of the listed browsers combined. According to the report from NetMarketShare, via FavBrowser.com, Internet Explorer's two biggest competitors, Firefox and Chrome, have a combined market share of 37.8 percent. It's only when you add in the reach of Safari, Opera and the ubiquitous "other" browser (8.54%, 1.49%, and 2.59%), does the total number eclipse IE's share.
Have a look:
While some are sounding alarms about Internet Explorer's reduction in usage, the fact that almost half of the population on the web still uses it helps quantify the following statement from the W3 Schools website, which has a large following of Firefox users -- 39.7 percent of the site's visitors in September 2011 used Mozilla's browser, compared to just 22.9 percent using Internet Explorer:
W3Schools is a website for people with an interest for web technologies. These people are more interested in using alternative browsers than the average user. The average user tends to the browser that comes preinstalled with their computer, and do not seek out other browser alternatives.[Emphasis added]
The bold section of the previous blockquote helps explain Internet Explorer's still sizable market share quite well. Of course, as more and more people move away from the traditional methods of browsing in favor of mobile devices and tablet computers, expect these numbers to continue their adjustment.
Besides Internet Explorer's drop in usage, another thing that stands out is Google Chrome's increase, which was by more than one percentage point. In September, Chrome's share was 15.17 percent, and for October, its share increased to 16.59 percent. Google's browser was the the largest gaining in terms of market share. In fact, it was the only browser to increase by a full point.
Safari experienced gains as well, but not as much as Chrome. Apple's browser saw its market share increase by .51 percentage points, making it the second highest browser in terms of gains.