SOFTWARE MAKER Microsoft has been enjoying something of a success with one web usage outfit reporting that its Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) web browser is used by 3.6 per cent of all Windows 7 users on the web.
Microsoft released IE9 as the Vole was facing a three-way onslaught from Apple, Google and Mozilla. The company was keen to trumpet the initial download figures for IE9, saying that IE9 was downloaded 2.3 million times in the first 24 hours. That figure was shattered by Mozilla when it launched Firefox 4 a week later. Now Net Applications is reporting that 3.6 per cent of Windows 7 users use IE9.
For Microsoft that's quite a shot in the arm after its own first day download record was trounced by Mozilla. Microsoft in particular is keen to stress the statistics for Windows 7, as IE9 is only available on Windows Vista and Windows 7, and for the Vole, Windows 7 is where all the action is.
According to W3Counter, in February 2011 over 28 per cent of its sample used Windows 7 to browse the web, so Microsoft's ability to push 3.6 per cent of Windows 7 users onto its latest browser in a short period of time is, if nothing else, impressive.
Microsoft has been heavily promoting two main features of IE9, its support for HTML5 and hardware acceleration. Microsoft's Ryan Gavin tried to showcase some of the websites and web applications that make use of IE9's capability, but perhaps the most interest point he made was that 90 per cent of IE9 downloads were new users, not ones that were running a beta or release candidate, adding that 25 per cent of those used Google's Chrome or Mozilla's Firefox.
There's no doubt that Microsoft's latest stab at developing a web browser has produced a better product than before, but it would be foolish to write off its competitors. Net Applications' figures show that 2.8 per cent of Windows 7 users are running Firefox 4, so the race is far from won for Microsoft.
Microsoft is desperately trying to get Internet Explorer users to upgrade to IE9. In a rare move, Gavin pointed out that Net Applications recorded a 0.43 per cent drop in IE6 usage, something that Microsoft has been trying to hasten.
Browser usage figures for the month of April will give a clearer picture of whether IE9 is really holding its own against Firefox 4. µ