IE9 can’t stop Microsoft’s browser slump; Apple’s Safari posts record one-month share gain

“The March launches of Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4 failed to stop Microsoft’s and Mozilla’s decline in browser share, new Web usage data published Sunday showed,” Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld.

“According to California-based Net Applications, one of a handful of companies that regularly publishes browser usage data, IE lost eight-tenths of a percentage point of share in April, falling to 55.1%, a new low for Microsoft,” Keizer reports. “Meanwhile, Firefox dropped two-tenths of a percentage point to 21.6%, a share equivalent to its December 2008 standing.”

“Both Microsoft and Mozilla debuted new browsers several weeks ago: The former launched IE9 on March 14, while the latter shipped Firefox 4 on March 22,” Keizer reports. “Neither release stemmed their maker’s long-standing slide.”

Keizer reports, “Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome took up the slack in April. Safari posted an increase of five-tenths of a point to end the month at 7.2%, a record for the browser that ships with Mac OS X, and is integrated with iOS, the mobile operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad. The one-month gain was Safari’s biggest-ever by Net Applications’ tracking. Chrome’s usage share grew by four-tenths of a percentage point, slightly less than the browser’s average increase over the past 12 months. Google’s browser accounted for 11.9% of all browsers used in April.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


    1. It is a strong enough number to give it credibility. The headline may be a little strong, but it will be interesting to see if this is the start of a Safari trend fueled by iOS.

    2. Don’t take the percentage too literally. It’s the trend that matters. NetApps changed their methodology a couple years ago, with the end result being they cut Apple’s share in half! Remember, a couple years some report stating Apple had broken 10%, yep, that was NetApps. After they changed their methodology, Apple’s share dropped to 5%.

      What had changed? They massage their raw traffic data by the estimated number of internet users, using the CIA World Factbook. Of course, the problem with that is that their country by country data could be up to 3 years old, AND, they equate a farmer in China who accesses the net once in 3 months with a person in the US who accesses his Facebook account 24/7. In other words, net traffic in the US is downweighted, while supposed net use by farmers in China are upweighted. Total garbage.

  1. I don’t care what market share is, Firefox 4 works great for us. The best browser isn’t the one that excels in one category, but offers good performance and versatility everywhere.

    Why no mention of Opera, iCab, or Camino?

    1. Mike, you have to follow the links for a while, but they do have Opera and iCab and many other browsers listed. I did not see Camino, but Mozilla is listed. I have been using iCab increasingly as my default browser and was disappointed to see it listed as 0% use. (Opera is 2.14%.) I especially like iCab on my iPad & iPhone. A recent update added even more useful features. I have maybe a single complaint about it – opening a background tab could be a little easier. Otherwise, I like it.

  2. yeah, but Safari sucks monkey balls and is slow as turd. Did I mention it beachballs like crazy unless you turn off all plugins/flash/Java, etc

    Just saying, we should not be pounding our chests over the vomit-inducing shit storm that is Safari. Chrome blows it out of the water.

    1. If you don’t mind Google gathering who-knows-what information from your machine (by means of a launchd process that remains even after you uninstall Chrome), then sure, Chrome is fine.

      You might want to check out SRWare’s Iron browser instead though – the benefits of Chrome without the significant privacy drawbacks.

      As for me, Safari is my main browser of choice – it works great for everything I need it for, and is actually capable of blocking web spyware (unlike Chrome/Iron, which is more hit-or-miss about it). And I can actually view H.264 video natively (thanks to the ClickToPlugin extension), so I don’t waste CPU cycles or battery life on unneeded plugins.

      Truthfully, it’s great that we have so much browser choice period! Never again do we want one browser to dominate and stagnate.

    2. Michael –

      Wow. Tell us how you really feel!

      “Vomit inducing shit storm”?
      Really? I’ve never had a problem with Safari that wasn’t linked to either a down site or a Flash-heavy page. Never. Maybe you have some other issues to deal with (other than potty mouth).

      1. It’s Safari for Windows: only possible explanation!

        I honestly don’t know why the Safari hatred: Firefox is slower/uglier, Chrome is less stable (even in Windows!) and IE… well… let’s not even start.

    3. For some reason the most current version of Safari beachballs on me everytime I open more than 5-6 tabs. It must have major memory leaks as if you leave it open for more than a few days, it chews up every spare CPU cycle even when not in use. This is the first time that I’ve had such problems with it.

      1. Safari Menu>Reset Safari. Might be a corrupt cache. Also, may be corruption with website icons. Also, “repair permissions” via Disk Utility. If there permission errors with Flash, you’ll have problems in Safari.

        Re memory leak – that’s a long time problem that hasn’t gotten any better. More tabs open = more excessive memory used. Wish Apple would address the memory hogging feature sooner than later.

        1. Thanks for the advice, but I’ve tried all that. I updated the Flash plug-in at the same time I did the most recent Safari update so I’m not sure which one caused it (although I do run ClickToFlash at all times – which helps).

    4. Your post makes it sound like Safari just told you that she was dating another nerd. There may be some bugs in Safari 5, but a VISS? Hardly.

      I am generally satisfied with Safari 5, and I have reservations about installing Chrome on my iMac. I do use FireFox from time to time. To each his/her own. It is good to have a few options.

    5. Just beautiful prose Michael. You must be a wonderful human being. Sure wish you were my best friend. Suck a command of the language. Oxford? Harvard? Oh where did you get so much class?

      1. I like Safari and for my uses it is as fast as Chrome and Firefox. So I disagree with Mr. Robson.

        That said, I find his prose to be quite delightful and humorous. I cannot speak for Oxford graduates, but I know plenty of people with Harvard educations that use such language on a regular basis in their personal life.

  3. Hey, Mr. Robson, we appreciate your take, but spare us your crude language! If it was as bad as you make it sound, Safari would be sliding into irrelevance. Come on, you can be sensible in your choice of words without losing your passion.

  4. I almost never use Safari, Apple’s claims about its speed are as close to lying as I’ve seen. It runs so slowly, I have to wonder if somebody sneaked malware inside. Apple has more cash than half the nations on earth, you’d think they’d clean up their browser. Maybe browser design has reached a plateau, and we’re getting the fastest that’s possible.

    I like Camino. It has few bells and whistles, but it runs fast. After that, Chrome. Firefox 4 is easy to use, but only fun when everything has loaded. It’s slow to start.

    1. I have to wonder why so many people who say they “almost never” use Safari nevertheless have such vehemently detailed descriptions of why they think it’s horrible (see also Michael A. Robson above).

      Your Safari experience certainly doesn’t match mine, nor that of many other posters here – I’ve had no problems using it as my primary browser, without any of the problems you describe. Are you sure you’ve given it a fair chance?

  5. Is this safari’s desktop share, or does it include mobile as well? If it’s the former, then it’s an impressive jump; if it includes iOS devices, then it’s not so impressive.

    For the record, FF has always been slow for me, including FF4, but that may be because I have Firebug installed.

    Safari is very fast, and so is Chrome. They both use the same rendering engine. Aside from add-ons and privacy concerns, is there really a functional difference between the two? I tend to think not.

  6. Here’s the new major problem with Internet Explorer: fragmentation.

    Right now there are 4 different versions of IE (6-9), and market share is evenly split among each of them. Each version has vastly different level of support for web standards, so web sites must be tested for each one individually.

    With Firefox, Chrome, Safari, everyone uses the latest version, because they update automatically or people install updates because they trust it won’t break their computer.

    So for the good browsers, we only have to test with only the latest version, maybe the two latest versions right after a major release. But then there are 4 different IE’s to test on! And they all suck in their own unique way.

    IE9 doesn’t even run on Windows XP, which many people are going to keep using for years to come, so there it is now impossible for Microsoft to get everyone to update to IE9.

    1. On the bright side, everything north of IE6 isn’t nearly the tragic trainwreck that IE5.5 and earlier were, so coding web pages is orders of magnitude easier than it used to be. There is no way on God’s green earth that anything like jQuery could have existed back in the days of IE5.5.

      Not that IE is great…it’s just way, way less shitty than it used to be.

  7. IE will always be required and have a larger market share as long as that idiotic Active-X and Sharepoint BS continues to exist. Also MS approved Monopoly continues.

  8. Hmm.
    I have had no problems with Safari and I use it all day long in my for years in my job in web design.

    I like how fast it launches.

    Since I do browser compatibility tests, I can say for sure that FF is significantly slower to launch, for me, and I see no difference in general responsiveness to load web pages.

    With AdBlock and ClickToFlash and maybe Ghostery you have your privacy and ad free pages all set up.

    The Developer Tools are as good or possibly better than Firebug. FF does give better errors to the Console when problems with page loading, which I appreciate.

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