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The Decline and Fall of Internet Explorer

Posted at The Real Blog by Larry Perry
Dec. 17, 2010

The Decline and Fall of Internet Explorer
I've been around this stuff for so long that I remember the crummy browsers before Netscape.  Once Netscape came along, wow.  It was nice, and it had a built in email program.  I rarely had issues... Then Microsoft came out with Internet Exploder (IE), uh I mean Explorer (Exploder fits better sometimes).  I resisted moving from Netscape, I was happy.  Then the pack of genius's over at AOL decided to buy Netscape.  Boy did it take a dive into the toilet bowl or what?  Time to move on. So, IE became my default browser, Outlook took care of my email, and it wasn't too bad except that IE seemed to let the bad guys (virus, Trojans, and other bad junk) on to my computer a lot.  Virus scanners had a hard time stopping things coming in through the browser.  It's better now, I think, but a couple of weeks ago while running an anti-virus program (Microsoft Essentials) and using the latest version of IE8, I got a virus.  I had done a search for something, I no longer remember what it was, but it was business related, Google showed some links, I clicked, and wham! Essentials said a virus was trying to infect my computer, and it did.  Somehow it didn't stop it.  So after going through an hour or so of junk, scanned the entire computer for virus programs with 2 other scanners, and rolling back time using the Windows way-back machine, I got things back to normal.  What really ticked me off was that it took ALL DAY to do this! Well, now we have a lot, or at least several, other browsers to choose from.  So who's using these browsers?

Let's go back in time...
I keep a lot of records for things just like this.  Let's go back in time first to September 2004.  Our RealeSeller.com web site in the month of September, 2004 had a total of 97,891 hits that month. 95,019 were Internet Explorer, 2,358 were Netscape, 408 were Mozilla, 46 couldn't be identified, 44 were Opera, and 16 were something called LibWWW... who knows what that is... LOL.  Anyway, 97% of the hits came from Internet Explorer.  Now, let's go forward 1 year to September 2005.  We had a total of 210,838 hits that month. Internet Explorer had 203,507, Firefox had 5,657, Netscape had 531, Safari had 457, Mozilla had 382, Unknown had 289, and Konqueror had 15.  In just 1 year, not only had IE dropped from 97% to 96.5%, but we had a couple of new players. Firefox  and Safari. Firefox picked up 2.6%, Netscape dropped to 0.2%, and Safari (Apple) took 0.2%. And this is just the beginning.  IE has had a steady drop in usage since 2004.  I've made a little chart to show what's been happening (These are all based on September of each year).

  Browser Type 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Internet Explorer 97% 96.5% 95.80% 90.40% 84.40% 83.40% 76.7%
Firefox 0% 2.6% 3.10% 7% 10.70% 13.40% 8.5%
Google Chrome 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.70% 4%
Mozilla 0.40% 0.1% 0.50% 0.70% 3.40% 0.50% 4.5%
Safari 0% 0.2% 0.1% 0.60% 0.60% 1.40% 4.7%
? Unknown 0% 0.10% 0.10% 0% 0.60% 0% 1.1%
Opera 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.30% 0%
Netscape 2.40% 0.20% 0.10% 0.10% 0% 0% 0%

Going from 97% in 2004 to 76.7% in September 2010 is a fairly significant drop in usage I'd say.  Seems very obvious that people are tired of IE and are looking for, and using, other alternate web browsers. If you want to use other web browsers that's fine, but I'd suggest you leave Internet Explorer as your default browser if you use Microsoft Office. A lot of things in Outlook and Office in general expect IE to be there. So, while you might like to use other browsers, just leave IE as your default and most things will work as you expect... just a tip.

Now most of you who follow me know I have Apple products, a computer, an iPhone, and an iPad but I use PC's for business which means my PC is used 99% of the time compared to my Apple computer.  When I was at the Apple store the other day, the sales guy who helped me claimed that Apple had 10% of the PC business... wishful thinking at best. I was working on this article and just happened to know that wasn't true and spoke with him about it.  It is possible that Apple will get to 10% of the market share one day, but it isn't likely to be any time soon. If you want to use a product for your business that has less than 4% market share that's fine. But don't be surprised when you run in to issues.

Now according to Net Applications, and they claim about 4.4 million registered users and over 10 thousand partners, the browser market looks like this:
Who's facts are real?  They both are, but mine are based on our sphere of influence, the real estate world, and theirs? No clue since the average person wouldn't pay any mind to what they are doing by tracking visitor stats. Most of us with web sites can track their visitors just like I do and see the results. What does it tell you? It tells you only the facts that are exposed. Not what actually drove them to the web site they hit. I can track what site sent them usually and that can tell me things also, but the fact is that most of my visitors are there because of one main thing, they are in the real estate business... they are not just normal every day people browsing the Internet. They are in business and have certain needs and interests.

How many sites out there are just generic web sites? Probably almost none since most sites are posted to attract people with similar interests in whatever the site has to offer. So if it is a "Geek" web site? Hard to say, but most of us "Geeks" have multiple web browsers installed but almost all users are running some version of Windows and that means they all have Internet Explorer installed and it doesn't matter if they use it or not, it is still there. If they browse their own computer they are using it, so it isn't going away, no matter what anyone thinks, for a long time.

So, bottom line, use whatever web browser makes you happy. But, in the end, the web browser you use should be showing the web site the way the writer intended don't you think? And which web browser is right? I haven't really got a clue since they all show almost any web site in a slightly different view... ugh, makes me tired just thinking about it.

Larry Perry
RealeSellerTM Transforms Outlook Into a "Genuine Real Estate CRM Application"
Our Online RealeSeller training classes are FREE!
Phone: (972) 514-3218
Email: Larry@realeseller.com
Web: www.realeseller.com
Blog: The Real Blog


User Comments

1. RE: The Decline and Fall of Internet Explorer

Written by: Michael Hoffee
Jan. 5, 2011

Chrome has some major flaws though.  No print preview! a *HUGE* problem.  When you print something, you never know what you're going to get.  Another issue... when I want to print pdf docs from the internet, I have to save them to my hard drive first and then print.  Ridiculous!  I'm going to switch back to ie until they fix that bugger.  I do like the spell check on everything you type in their browser though!

2. RE: The Decline and Fall of Internet Explorer

Written by: Larry Perry
Jan. 19, 2011

Thanks for the feedback Michael. There are just too many problems with the other browsers. IE isn't perfect, but it is getting better and it does a better job of rendering web sites than all the others. Until that changes I pretty much use IE every day and only use the others to test my HTML pages.

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Plano, Texas

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