Tracking browser penetration and market share has become a new obsession with me. With 2009 shaping up to be the year of the browser container, the choices that people make will affect the development of Web technologies for the next few years.
So far, the only new player to come out of the gate as a production release is MSIE8. Since March 19, MSIE8 has seen a slow and steady increase in market share, at least in North America. This has occurred, as I have noted previously, without the support of Windows Update, which will drive millions of users to automatically upgrade their systems.
What can be seen in this data from StatCounter is that MSIE8 is finally (Thank [insert deity or supernatural object here]!) taking market share away from MSIE6. As the corporate browser of choice (mainly because IT departments don’t have the resources or initiative to sign-off on MSIE7), MSIE6 is the default platform that all developers are forced to lower their standards to.
One can hope that IT departments will allow their customer base to make the leap directly to MSIE8 from MSIE6. We can all celebrate now, as the StatCounter data now shows that MSIE6 has dropped below 10% market share.
What is more interesting is that Firefox 3.0 made a serious encroachment into MSIE7 near the end of March. I am not aware of what may have caused this, and would be interested to hear if the StatCounter team has any insight into why this may have occurred.