IE at the Top, and Bottom

February 2, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Are you a fan of Internet Explorer? If yes, on which device do you use it, desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone? We are guessing just the first two.

New statistics reveal that browser usage among personal computers is dominated by IE, with its share rising from 51.9 percent in December to 53 percent in January. The study is based on Net Applications’ network of 40,000 Web sites using its analytics software.

Microsoft intends to replace IE6 with IE9 and, when Windows 8 arrives later this year, IE10. IE8 is still the single most used browser version, at 27.9 percent, but IE9 is rising and has reached 11.6 percent in January.

Also, on traditional PCs, Chrome was in the race, pushing aside Firefox for the No. 2 spot. But things changed in January; Firefox dropped from 21.8 percent to 20.9 percent, while Chrome dropped from 19.1 percent to 18.9 percent. Apple Safari went down from 5 percent to 4.9 percent.

So all is well for the IE? Hang on, you can’t just jump to a conclusion based on a 53 percent. Browsing on mobile devices like tablet and smartphone is significantly on the rise. And IE is close to absent in the space.

Smartphones and tablets accounted for an all-time high of 8.8 percent of browsing in January, up from 7.7 percent the month earlier.

The mobile version of IE9, which ships with Windows Phone, accounted for 0.2 percent of mobile browser usage in January.

Adding in earlier mobile versions of IE brings that up to 0.3 percent, matching Amazon’s new Silk browser used in its Android-based Kindle Fire tablets.

iOS has the big browser here, with 54.9 percent of usage. Opera Mini at 19.6 percent is in second place and overall shrinking gradually. And Google’s Android browser is generally rising and reached 17.8 percent.

Of course, tablets with their large screens come across as useful enough to be used like personal computers for browsing.

Also, in coming months, the tablet category will include Windows 8 devices that blur the boundaries with PCs even more.

There is another bunch of figures that says IE has slipped down well below 40 percent of usage and Chrome has surpassed Firefox and is almost at 30 percent of usage.

Time will clear the clouds, and similar studies.

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