Microsoft’s IE browser loses its majority, falls under 50% user share – Computerworld

Microsoft’s venerable Internet Explorer browser lost its majority position last month, according to a Web metrics vendor, falling under the 50% bar for the first time since it thrashed Netscape Navigator and assumed control of the browser market.

By the estimates of Irvine, Calif.-based Net Applications, Internet Explorer (IE) ended 2015 with a user share — a measurement of unique visitors to the websites of the company’s clients, and one of the few proxies for real-world browser adoption — of 48.6%. That was a drop of 1.5 percentage points from November, the largest one-month contraction in IE’s share since October 2011.

At one point, IE held a user share as large as 89.4% in Net Applications’ tracking. That was in January 2005, when Computerworld began recording the firm’s metrics.

IE’s share had been even higher earlier in the decade, after it had forced Netscape out of the market in the early 2000s, and before Mozilla took up Netscape’s mantle with Firefox in 2004. Firefox was the first browser to challenge IE’s dominance of the browser space, and was widely adopted by those who viewed the then-IE6 as stuck in the past.

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