IE's Domination of Web Grows

Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) hasn't had a significant update since 1998. However, the browser continues to dominate the Web, garnering a record market share of 95.4 percent, according to the most recent report by Web analytics firm OneStat.com. What's more, IE has garnered its highest usage level ever at a time when other browsers, such as Mozilla Firebird and Apple Computer's Apple Safari, have earned record amounts of publicity for adding crucial features that IE lacks, including pop-up ad blocking and a tabbed UI that can negate the need to open multiple browser windows.
   IE 6.0, the number-one browser overall, controls 66.3 percent of the market, compared with 14.5 percent for IE 5.5 and 12.7 for IE 5.0. Mozilla is in fourth place with 1.6 percent of the market, but the total market share for browsers based on Mozilla technology is about 4.1 percent. The alternative browsers--Opera Software's Opera and Apple's Safari--barely register on the chart, with 0.6 and 0.25 percent of the market, respectively; both are used less frequently than the legacy Netscape Navigator 4.x browser, which originally competed with IE 4.0 in the late 1990s.
   In recent months, Microsoft has sharply altered its Web browser strategy, largely because IE is so dominant and the company has little incentive to give users constant meaningful updates. IE 7.0, part of the Windows Longhorn release due in 2005, will be the next major IE revision. However, Microsoft will release a pop-up ad-blocking feature as part of its upcoming MSN 9 software, a subscriber-fee browser product based on IE technology. Today, MSN users enjoy the sort of rapid product updates that IE users once did, although they must pay for the privilege; Microsoft released MSN 8 in October 2002 and followed that release last month with version 8.5. MSN 9 will ship by the end of the year, Microsoft says.

TAGS: Windows 8
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