Is Internet Explorer’s fate tied to Windows7?

Over the past few months if you are following news about how Internet Explorer’s market share has been falling consistently to such an extent that some experts believe that the market share which is almost two-thirds will fall below half in the next 2 years. I want to share some trends and why I think Internet Explorer’s fate seems to be tied to Windows 7.

Image and stats taken from


Market Share in October 2009

  • Internet Explorer has a market share of 64.64% which is still massive, but it has been falling over a percent every month for almost two years.
  • The market share loss is massive considering the the fact that almost two years ago IE had a market share over 78%.
  • This loss of market share is almost exclusively picked up by Firefox and more recently even Chrome has picked up the numbers.

Why Internet Explorer is losing the plot?

  • Looking at browser version’s market share, IE 6 is 23.30 % which is now smaller than Firefox’s 24.07%.
  • This is a ominous sign and shows how popularity of Internet Explorer is tied up with the Windows OS. IE 6 was a default browser with Windows XP. Windows Vista which did not go down well with consumers saw its pre-installed IE 7 version still having a share much less than IE 6.
  • If IE6 is more popular than the IE7 and IE8 at the moment, it looks like that people after using IE6 end up migrating to Firefox or Chrome. Obviously if a older version is more popular than the new one, we can safely say that Internet Explorer has got its newer versions completely wrong.

Why is Windows 7 sole hope for Internet Explorer?

  • One thing that holds out hope for Internet Explorer browser is how well received IE8 has been. Internet Explorer 8 when released back in April 09, has managed to catch up and consolidate. It seems to have done so at the expense of of IE7 but that still means people like using IE8.
  • Microsoft’s Windows 7 comes pre-installed with IE8 as its browser. If you notice the lackluster performance of Vista has hurt IE7, that means IE8’s numbers will be hugely reliant on how well received Windows 7 will be.
  • Windows 7 has had pretty good reviews and it might save Internet Explorer for the moment. But the heady days of having 80% of the market share with their browsers are probably a thing of the past for Internet Explorer.
  • When Google releases it thread-bare Chrome OS, it might push up the numbers for Chrome Browser. Because of the reliance of IE on Windows, Chrome OS will probably hurt Internet Explorer much more than Firefox.

Links: Browser Market Share | Browser Version Market Share


Rahul November 5, 2009

Windows seven is going to be huge success after windows xp. And internet explorer will no lose market share, i guess.

Aditya Kane November 5, 2009

If Windows 7 is a huge success then IE might stop the fall in numbers it is experiencing. If you notice that the fall has been experienced since early 2007 when Vista was released. Because Vista was unsuccessful and people preferred to stay on XP, IE market share started to nose dive. Hence I strongly feel Windows 7 and IE will have a common fate whatever it turns out to be.

Dnyanesh November 5, 2009

I don’t think Chrome will hurt Internet Explorer’s browser share when Chrome OS is launched. I agree that Chrome is steadily rising but we should not forget that it hasn’t even crossed Safari’s browser share yet. Chrome has a long way to go. I think there will be a less number of users who will use Chrome OS as their primary OS. The immediate threat to IE is Firefox. Period.

Aditya Kane November 5, 2009

@Dnyanesh: Thats my point exactly. Hence Chrome users will affect IE instead of Firefox. Most users who use the internet are not techie enough to try out new browsers and hence use what they have by default. That why IE has such a huge market. If some of them move to Chrome OS, they will end up using Chrome browser automatically. People who are using Firefox will not bother with what OS they are using, they will still use Firefox. So whatever dent Chrome OS will make, it will do so at IE’s expense.
@Sourish: Safari is more Mac specific atleast that is the perception. Hence even its numbers rise and fall with sales of Mac. You may notice how its numbers are almost the same every month.

Sourish Nath November 5, 2009

I agree with Dnyanesh .Chrome has yet to make many improvements before it can surpass Safari or any other browser.

Rahul November 6, 2009

No one can say. If Microsoft bing and baidu can gain little search market share. Off Course chrome can also rise some what and hurt internet explorer market ultimately. Their is huge fight going on to attract new customers in every field.

taranfx November 6, 2009

IE already lost Huge maret share in september, and October. No doubt it’s dead. wrote a blog on this a while back. “Vista, Bing, IE Lose Market Share; Windows 7, Google Gains” google it

Dnyanesh Mankar November 7, 2009

@Aditya: I got your point but its valid only when Chrome OS has a significant market share. When there are operating systems like Windows, OS X and other linux distros, I doubt the fast growth of Chrome OS. Chrome is still competing by running on all the three major operating systems. But the fact that Chrome OS will hurt Internet explorer more than Firefox is pointless. Firefox has toiled for many years to reach this stage. Maybe chrome will require some less time but it won’t be the sole competition to IE.

Rajesh Kanuri November 9, 2009

i can say yes ..