Having read so much guff about Microsoft's masterful job of creating a browser that after five years has finally "caught up" to its competitors or "narrowed the gap", it's interesting and telling to hear that Internet Explorer's market share still declines.
According to a report from web metrics firm Net Applications, as detailed on website Information Week, IE's market share dropped from 82.1% to 81.3%, while Firefox share grew from 12.5% to 13% in October. Yes, there were many conversions from IE6 to IE7 but there were also many defections away from Internet Explorer to Firefox if these statistics are to be believed.
I have had both Firefox and Internet Explorer sitting on my desktop for about two years now. I recently upgraded both browsers. My only reason for keeping Internet Explorer on the desktop was for the odd occasion where a website required it.
Now that I have upgraded to IE7, I will state once again that it's a big improvement on IE6. However, after five years of development, one would think that Microsoft could have come up with something that was at least as good as Firefox 2.0 - but it's not. It's still behind it's main competitor.
Personally I don't like Microsoft's new menu-less interface. In fact, for me it was not particularly intuitive, so I turned on the basic menu again to get back some feeling of familiarity. However, I know that's just my opinion.
So where is Firefox ahead of IE7? One key area - performance. Firefox definitely accesses pages faster as far as I'm concerned - probably about 20% faster. For the average web surfer with a fast broadband connection, this might not matter that much. For me, who regularly posts and edits content on a website, the difference in the back-end is especially pronounced.
The other main problem for IE7 users is that, if Microsoft runs true to form, there is no guarantee that Microsoft will regularly update and improve its new browser. It took five years last time! With Firefox, you know that you're going to get continual incremental improvements. That's the nature of open source development.
My only gripe is that there are still web sites out there that require Internet Explorer to run properly. Hopefully now that Firefox has a respectable market share, that situation will change soon.
0.8% market share every month? at this rate microsoft will drop 9.6% by next year. Firefox will have roughly 50% share by 2010 if they fill the gap MS leaves behind.