Surprising no one, IE usage continues to slide downhill.
The latest browser usage statistics
show a particularly stark truth in the US.
One out of twenty American web users turned their back on IE in 2006, switching from it to Firefox - or, in somewhat fewer cases - opting to buy a whole new computer: a Macintosh computer.
The latter is certainly one way to get rid of IE!
The headlines about what was happening with web browsers - and the users who used each one - were probably responsible for a certain segment of the shift. Bad experiences continued to impact many users as they simply tried to look at web pages.
Also, the growing gap between what IE can do and what the other browsers can do was probably enough to get some users to switch allegiance. It is not a small thing any more.
That is probably why 3 out of 20 web users have become Firefox users, and another 1 out of 20 web users is now a Safari user.
From a web developer's standpoint, unless you are programming in Java or Flash - the gap is more like a chasm. As big a gap as between the 90s and the 2000s, in fact.
IE, which Microsoft licensed the source code for from UIUC university - where it was a student-project of the lads who wrote the Netscape browser when they began their professional lives - was mostly developed in the 1990s.
So, ignoring the ActiveX thing about IE completely and focussing on HTML and CSS - IE is still way far behind.
This probably has not helped IE in the long run, even if on the surface it seems like it would.
The problem it poses to IE is that this portability improvement greases the slide for users, designers, and programmers to leave the IE platform.
That sort of greases the playing field. And the greater capabilities of the other two browsers - Safari and Firefox, actually tilt the playing field too.
It is not a sharp change.
However, the effects of it really are cumulative. The impact of that cumulative change are feeding back
on the forces responsible for it.
Mozilla developers are reaping rich rewards for their efforts. Macintosh sales are rising, enabling the rise of Safari web browser users. Both organizations can plow part of their increasing revenue from 2006 into greater features and quality of their respective web browsers.
This is something Microsoft could have done too from 2002-2006, but for reasons that have never been fully explained - they chose not to do so.
They held the best hand in terms of reaping money from bundled browser+OS sales, but they chose not to reinvest a proportionate amount of that dollar figure.
Kind of a tortoise-and-the-hare kind of thing, I guess.
Reminds me of the US-versus-Japanese steel thing. The US-versus-Japanese car thing too. The US-versus-Japanese electronics devices & appliances thing too.
Almost seems like US business schools across the country need to start including Aesop's fairy tales in their curriculum.
The lack of its wisdom is pretty clearly having an impact on the industries that form the backbone of the US economy: electronics, cars, steel. Today, it is clear there is a tendency in some US companies to play the tortoise-not-the-hare in the software industry!
Getting back to the main point, now that non-IE web browser users make up one out of five of the people on the web here in the US, companies are inclined to make sure that they do not hamper a fifth or more of their visitors - and customers.
The web has become so important to sales, marketing, and support. So it really can the thing that determines whether a company is a $4 billion company or a $5 billion company.
Which would you