Browser Wars: Microsoft’s IE Rises on Win 7, Falls Overall

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While Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) is gaining use against other browsers on Windows 7, IE and Mozilla Firefox are both losing ground to Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari in the broader browser wars, according to the latest numbers from Net Applications.

The statistics show that, across all OS platforms, Chrome inched up four tenths of a percentage point in worldwide browser usage share from June, to a total of 13.5 percent for July of this year. At the same time, Safari also kept climbing against rival browsers, reaching a share of 8.05 percent last month.

Still, though, IE and Firebox are far ahead of any other competitors. Across all OS, IE dropped one full percentage point in July, but it did hold a commanding majority share of 52.8 percent worldwide. Second-runner Firefox fell only very slightly from 21.7 percent to 21.5 percent.

IE use is up on Windows 7

Further, on the Windows 7 OS platform, Microsoft’s IE actually picked up share from June to July, stepping from 54.6 percent to 54.8 percent worldwide.

IE fared even better on Win 7 in the United States, growing from 55.5 percent to 68.1 percent. The older IE 8.0 browser drew a 43.3 percent share on Win 7 in the US, Meanwhile, Microsoft’s latest browser, IE 9.0, received 24.8 percent of all US usage on Win 7.

Also in the U.S., other popular browsers on Win 7 included Chrome 12.0 and Firefox 5.0 (tied at 11.7 percent each). Yet, usage shares amounted to merely 4.74 percent for Firefox 5.0; 2.07 percent for Firefox 4.0; 0.41 percent for Safari on Windows 5.0; 0.32 percent for Chrome 1.30, and 0.23 for Opera 11.x. Usage was even more miniscule for other browsers, including earlier versions of IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

Windows XP is a different story

Over the same time frame, however, IE did lose usage share on Windows XP. In a report, Net Applications noted that Microsoft dropped Windows XP support in IE 9.0 so as to compete more effectively on Windows 7.

“Microsoft has been pushing Internet Explorer 9 and Windows 7 as the best browsing experience on Windows 7.” the analysts contended. “There are indications that this strategy is working.”

In a keynote at Microsoft’s Worldwide Developer Conference last month, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer estimated that between half and two-thirds of all PCs worldwide continue to run XP. In April of 2014, Microsoft plans to halt all support for Windows XP. They’ve also been touting the impending death of XP as a way of pumping up Win 7 sales. XP users do have other alternatives aside from migrating to Win 7, including stepping directly from XP to the upcoming Windows 8.

Why the overall increases for Safari and Chrome?

Looking again beyond Windows to browser usage across all OS platforms, the rise of alternatives to traditional Windows PC hardware seems to have played some role — whether large or small — in the ascendancy of Safari and Chome. According to the latest figures issued by Net Applications, Safari has nearly doubled its worldwide browser usage share since the release of Apple’s first iPad tablet in April of last year. Sales of Mac OS notebooks and desktop PCs have been surging, too.

As for the Chrome browser, it is also the centerpiece of Google’s new Chrome operating system, recently released on the Samsung Series 5 and Acer AC700 Chromebook netbooks.

Yet, the Chrome browser has been luring notebook and desktop PC users, too. Here, the reasons appear to include the Chrome browser’s pioneering stealth mode feature, frequent updates by Google, and speedy rendering times on both Windows and Mac OS.



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