• 200825 Jan

    You can’t have failed to have noticed the announcement by Microsoft’s IE team this week, that the next version of the browser will require an ‘opt-in’ switch to display documents with older DOCTYPEs in full standards mode. That’s been debated at length elsewhere, but I thought it would be useful to do a quick, non-scientific poll of current browser share to get an idea of how long it might be before this becomes a pressing issue for us.

    Note: The following results are taken from the last month’s statistics from 12 sites I manage, from personal blogs to international companies, with monthly visits from 300 to 320,000. The error of margin can not be calculated, so these figures should be taken as a guideline only. That said…

    The last time I conducted a poll like this, back in May 2007, the total market share of all versions of IE stood at approximately 68%. According to my new figures, the share is approximately… 68%. Oh.

    What has changed, however, is the share of different versions of IE; in May 2007 IE6 had 46.5% of the total, and IE7 had 21.1%; in my new figures, IE6 has 33.5%, while IE7 narrowly beats it with 34.3%.

    While perhaps not as big a difference as we might have expected in eight months, at least we can see a noticeable decline in IE6 usage. Microsoft are currently including IE7 in their latest round of security updates, so with luck we’ll see another big shift in the months to come.

    I’m not sure how aggressively we’ll see IE8 pushed when it is finally released, but on current form it looks like we may have to wait another couple of years before it gains decent market share and we can really take advantage of its advanced (fingers crossed!) features.

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  • Comments

    • 01.

      I dont get it why i should put extra code to make a page compatible for IE8, when there is IE6 with the highest usage. Simply i wont do that and the page will be displayed as in IE6. Even if IE7 become the highest used browser with forced updates, it still have bugs.

      Currently the sites which im developing are beginning with IF IE, IF IE 6, IF IE 7, which is total crap, not to mention the time wasting to find the proper fixes for every version.

      Hope to see more competition by browser vendors.

    • 02.

      The ‘opt-in’ rendering mode really sucks. I still can’t see a really good reason for this “feature”.

      By the way, IE7 is already in a acceptable level of compatibility and with the including of it in the next security updates, we can expect its usage increase highly (“normal” people don’t care what they’re updating, they only click “OK”).

    • 03.

      On one of our servers we have close to 150 websites that we created over the last few years.

      IE share on this server is:
      39.87% IE6
      36.53% IE7

      Our other server hosts just shy of 60 websites, which were developed more recently:

      38.38% IE6
      38.73% IE7

      Could be better…

    • 04.

      The stats for the sites I manage show similar results to Peter’s. Back in July 2007, all versions of IE had about 64%, now they currently have 58%.

      More interesting though is that back in July IE6 had 31.64% whilst IE7 was just ahead on 32.22%. However, the stats so far for January show IE6 has dropped off to 22.04% whilst IE7 has grown to 35.96%. The ten percent drop in IE6 seems to have been split across Firefox and IE7.

      There seemed to be a big drop of IE6 and increase in IE7 during the course of December (even November shows similar stats to my July stats) so presumably this may have been caused by the lift of the update for non official Windows versions?

    • 05.

      I think that IE 6 is set to become Netscape 4 all over again. Remember how long it took for NS 4 to get to a low enough market share that you could finally stop coding for it? I think there may be a time next year when we’re having to support 3 versions of Internet Explorer.

      The usage on the sites I manage is continuing to slowly decline but I think it’s starting to reach a plateau. It would be interesting to chart the IE 6 usage over time to see the patterns. On one of the sites I run we’ve had a fairly successful IE upgrade campaign, at least as measured by clickthroughs to Opera & Firefox.

      The last time I launched IE 6 for testing (via IEs 4 Linux) I was greeted with this page, which sort implies that I should upgrade but doesn’t really say so outright. Bad marketing.

    • 06.

      According to my own stats – which again, are not necessarily indicative – IE6 had a market share of approx. 74% when IE7 was launched back in October 2006, and now has a share of 33.5%; that’s a drop of more than half 15 months, which is quite substantial when we’re talking about a user base of millions.

      Microsoft are currently doing a big push to get users upgraded – the prompt page mentioned above, and the roll-out as a high priority automatic update – which will hopefully pay dividends in reducing IE6 share further still.

    • 07.

      I also recently saw IE usage on my site tip over to the point that IE7 hits now outnumber IE6. My guess is that a lot of people got new computers for Christmas, or had tech-savvy relatives visiting who helped clean/fix/upgrade their computers.

      Current stats for January:
      62.6% total IE
      33.8% IE7
      28.3% IE6
      27.3% Firefox (just one percentage point behind IE6!)

      Interestingly enough, I also saw one visit from IE8 last week. One page with associated scripts, styles and images, and it came from a Microsoft IP address, so I think it’s the real thing.

    • 08.

      The reason IE6 is still holding on so tenaciously, is that Microsoft is not making it an automatic update in their Software Update utility. So people don’t automatically download it the way they do with other patches. The reason MS doesn’t make it automatic, is that it would break so many of the corporate Web apps for companies that typically do automatically download patches.

      Once IE8 is released with backwards compatible support for IE6 and IE7, then a lot more people will upgrade, knowing that it won’t break their sites and applications. Once that happens, we’ll be able to stop coding for older versions.

    • 09.

      The reason MS doesn’t make it automatic, is that it would break so many of the corporate Web apps for companies that typically do automatically download patches.

      Big corporations use WSUS, so this excuse is not viable.

    • 10.

      The company I work for (about 200 people) has Windows Update downloading updates automatically on each computer It does not automatically update everyone to IE7. Wether this happens because MS is not pushing it, or because the company I work for is rejecting the update with WSUS, the end result is the same. The company would not want the browser-based apps in use by 99% of its employees to break.

    • 11.

      IE8 has been released and it looks like it has CSS3 features!

    • 12.

      Browser Marketshare is just an excuse to continue bad and lazy coding. The ridiculous extra button in IE8 is so MS: ‘we are unable to make a decent browser, but we will never admit it”. When you push the button, IE8 acts as a IE7. So all the lazy developers and designers are saved: their crappy sites are shown as if IE8 was a IE7. MS has also integrated a default list of sites that will automatically be rendered in IE7 mode. And then the magic button is not visible! Do the test with IE8 with microsoft.com and for instance apple.com. Microsoft.com is on the list because they know that their site is not well written. But we cannot test their site in IE8 because they are themselves on the list and the magic button is not visible. Cowards.
      Anyway, the fastest way to kill the whole silly family of IE bastards is to stop coding for them. Then also ordinary people will finally see that IE is just a low quality product to avoid.

    • 13.

      ie8.. more horrors. now i have to put put in conditional code to test for EACH version of IE … if lt IE7 and if LT ie8 blocks… MS single handedly doubles the cost of web development. three IE browsers and no compatibllity between any of them! MS – you make my life miserable. why is it that all other browser support one version of code. what gives.

    • 14.

      [...] The state of IE browser share today [...]

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