Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) has been gaining popularity with Windows 7 users since its release in mid-March, but that may not be enough to reverse IE's continuing overall -- albeit slow -- decline.
Over the weekend, use of Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) latest iteration of IE was on target to pass close to 10 percent on Windows 7 machines if not actually hit that milestone, the company said.
"Just six weeks after the launch of Internet Explorer 9 we are about to reach a new milestone, as of the last day in April, IE9 is at 9.95 percent usage share worldwide on Windows 7," Ryan Gavin, senior director for IE business and marketing, said in a post to Microsoft's Exploring IE Blog, Saturday.
The new data comes from Web analytics firm Net Applications.
"For the entire month this averages 7.5 percent usage share on Windows 7 -- doubling the usage share number of 3.6 percent in March," Gavin added.
In fact, last week, Microsoft announced it had sold 350 million Windows 7 licenses in the first 18 months of its general availability.
Meanwhile, users had their own bit torrent, downloading IE9 in its first 24 hours of availability in March, with more than 2.3 million initial downloads.
However, that may still not be enough to stop IE's overall slow decline, which continued again in April.
For instance, IE8 slipped from 34.4 percent market share of all browser usage worldwide in March, to 33.06 percent. Meanwhile, use of IE6 skidded from 10.97 percent in March to 10.85 percent last month, while IE7's share declined from 7.87 percent to 7.35, according to Net Applications.
Overall, IE's share of the browser marketplace fell from 55.92 percent to 55.11 percent in April -- not a huge loss but still a continuing decline.
That doesn't necessarily benefit the number two player in the browser wars, though. Firefox, which ended March with an average of 21.8 percent share, also lost a portion, falling to 21.63 percent for April.
That leaves Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Chrome with a gain of 0.37 percentage points of growth for April -- bringing its share to 11.97 percent. The other recipient of users' largess, meanwhile, Apple's (NASDAQ: APPL) Safari, grew from 6.61 percent in March to 7.15 percent in April, the figures show.
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