February 03, 2009, 2:41 PM — Despite the upcoming release of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), it appears that Microsoft is still losing market share to its competitors at Apple and Mozilla. (Source: computerworld.com)
Web metrics firm Net Applications released a new market share analysis Sunday, placing Microsoft at 67.6% -- the lowest market share percentage for the company since 2005. This 0.6 point drop follows an unfortunate trend for Microsoft, who has lost approximately 8 percentage points in the last year. While nowhere near as devastating as the drastic drops of November and December 2008, it seems that more and more users are choosing alternate Internet browsers. (Source: computerworld.com)
Even with the steady drop in the popularity of Internet Explorer, Microsoft won't have to close its doors any time soon. According to Net Applications, Internet Explorer is still the number one choice worldwide, and is unlikely to lose that position too rapidly. (Source: hitslink.com)
Safari and Mozilla Increase In Popularity
So who is the big winner in this month's browser battle? Apple Inc.'s Safari has come out on top as the browser with the biggest increase in users for the third month in a row. (Source: computerworld.com)
Safari -- once only available to Mac users and even then second to Mozilla -- became a serious competitor for Microsoft IE in early 2008 when Apple released Safari 3.1 for Windows, the first non-beta version of the browser. Since then, adoption of the Apple browser by Windows users has steadily increased, and the newer version has received rave reviews. (Source: arstechnica.com)
Mozilla's Firefox takes second place this month, with a 0.19 point increase. In the same twelve months that saw Internet Explorer shares drop, Firefox increased its portion of market share to 21.5%, the highest percentage that the open source browser has achieved to date. (Source: computerworld.com)
Microsoft Has High Hopes for Internet Explorer 8
There is hope for Microsoft -- once IE8 is released, it's expected that most users with IE7 will be upgrading to the new and improved version. According to one report, IE8 will load faster, perform better, and allow users to "accelerate" their activities, somehow. (Source: indiatimes.com)
If IE8 can live up to Microsoft's promises, they may be positioned for a big increase in their market popularity. While the browser battles continue, consumers are ultimately the ones who will benefit most. As features and performance are continually improved, it becomes harder to answer the age-old question: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the best browser of them all?"
If the past twelve months are any indication, Microsoft may soon be losing that title.