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Microsoft's IE steps back from the brink of irrelevance

Gregg Keizer | July 10, 2014
Microsoft has managed to reverse years of sometimes-sharp decline in Internet Explorer's user share and revive interest in the browser it bundles with Windows.

Eighteen months ago, when Computerworld first reported on the browser's comeback, IE on mobile accounted for a puny 1% of smartphone and tablet browser user share. Since then, IE has doubled its share to an almost-as-anemic 2%.

Few statistics better illustrate Microsoft's failure on mobile.

In overall browser user share — desktop + mobile — IE remains the leader, thanks to the desktop, at 48.3%. But as mobile browsing slowly becomes a bigger portion of all browsing — at the moment, it's desktop over mobile by more than 4:1 — Microsoft's inability to attract eyeballs to its smartphone and tablet browsers means the company risks losing the war even if it has won the battle to bring back IE on the desktop.

Internet Explorer first appeared in 1995, and will celebrate its nineteenth "birthday" on Aug. 16.

Over the last two-and-a-half years, IE's user share has recovered a small but significant portion of what it had lost to Firefox and Chrome since 2005. (Data: Net Applications.)


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