It's been almost two months since Microsoft launched its much improved version 9 of Internet Explorer. Some of you will remember the big launch at South by Southwest and the gloating about early download numbers from Microsoft's chief marketeer Ryan Gavin that quickly followed.
Then we shipped Firefox 4.
Almost immediately after Firefox's first 24 hours stomped the IE numbers into the dirt, Microsoft and their friends tried to change the subject with a lot talk about how it wasn't the downloads but the usage that mattered. So I posted this chart showing that Firefox was not only crushing IE in download numbers but it was also off to a much stronger start on actual browser usage.
Quickly the Microsoft reps and fans returned with "But we haven't even begun to fight. Just wait until Windows Update starts pushing IE out to the full installed base." I responded with this post and its accompanying chart showing that even well after Microsoft started pushing their browser through Windows Update, Firefox 4 was still lapping IE9 and I reminded people that Mozilla still had not flipped it's big Firefox Update switch.
This Thursday we finally turned on Firefox Update, making the upgrade offer to all of the users of older versions of Firefox and here are the early results:
IE 9 will never catch up to Firefox. I'm quite pleased that Microsoft has finally released a modern browser but it will be a year or two before they can move the bulk of their IE 7 and IE 8 users forward. So today, and for the foreseeable future, Microsoft will be number three in terms of usage among the modern browsers.