IE loses market share

This is old news, but if you didn’t see it and you are not a Microsoft fan, it is good news, even if only slightly.

Back in July, The Guardian Review published an article that says Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, for the first time, dropped in percentage share of the browser market from 95.73% to 94.73%. They called it a “sustained trend downward for them”.

So what’s going on to incite masses of users to drop the product? Guardian cites IE security problems dating back to a year ago as one issue. Another is that the maturation of developers of alternative browsers concentrating on support of openly developed standards as another.

Why is this news and why should designers be interested? Mainly because like it or not, Microsoft has a huge market share and IE has an enormous effect on the ecosystem of the internet. The difference in the way IE deals with technical standards compared with the open systems browsers means that web designers must constantly be aware of work-arounds and hacks to get sites to work correctly. It is a problem for all of us, simply because of their market share.

For some unknown reason, Microsoft stopped development of IE. The next change to IE will accompany the launch of the next version of Windows, which is not scheduled until 2006. The question remains. Who will influence the greatest control over the next two years – the open standards bodies or Microsoft. Will great new browsers such as Firefox, Mozilla, and Safari generate new market share by focusing on better browser technologies and web standards? Our work and passion will be involved – ready or not. We have another edition of the browser wars!

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