IE8 has just taken the "most used" spot from IE6, which has been hit by the decline in the use of Windows XP, on Net Applications' market share figures for January 2010. Meanwhile, Windows 7 use has just hit 10%
Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 has finally become the world's most-used browser, according to Net Applications' figures based on monitoring website usage. IE8 has taken over from IE6, which has been hit by the decline in the use of Windows XP.
In January 2010, NetApps reckons IE8 had 22.31% of the market, with IE6 on 20.07%. Firefox 3.5 took third place with 17.01%, ahead of IE7 (14.58%), Firefox 3.0 (5.29%), Google Chrome (3.92%) and Apple Safari (3.55%). Actually, IE8's lead is even larger if its 3% market share in "compatibility mode" is counted.
The decade-old IE6 had a transitory spot at the top of the chart because of IE7 users switching to IE8. This put both IE7 and IE8 below IE6, according to NetApps, even while IE6 was losing 8 points of market share.
IE6 has maintained its user base because it shipped with what has been by far the world's most popular operating system, Windows XP. However, XP is now in decline. According to NetApps, XP's market share fell from 75.02% in March 2009 to 66.31% in January 2010. IE6's decline is very similar to XP's decline. It appears that the most effective strategy for those who want to be rid of IE6 would be to encourage Windows XP users to upgrade to Windows 7.
Windows XP, launched in 2001, still had two-thirds of the market in January 2010, ahead of Windows Vista (17.39%), Windows 7 (7.51%), Mac OS X 10.5 (2.36%), Mac OS X 10.6 (1.79%) and Linux (1/02%).
NetApps has been tracking Windows 7's rapid growth separately, and notes that on the last day of January, it managed to beat the 10% barrier. However, usage is noticeably higher at weekends.
There's no guarantee that NetApps' numbers are accurate, and they are very unlikely to be correct to two decimal places. However, they do appear to be a good indicator of market trends.
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