For the first time since Netscape, less than half the people browsing the web use Internet Explorer.
At one point in the 1990s, Microsoft's Internet Explorer enjoyed an almost 90 percent market share for web browsers. For many users, that blue "E" icon was synonymous with "internet." The ubiquitousness of Microsoft's browser and its policy of bundling it with the Windows operating system is what led to the famous antitrust trials last decade. But now, with the growth in popularity of Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari and Mozilla's Firefox, Explorer's kung fu grip on the internet is loosening. Explorer was only used by 49.9 percent of users in the month of September, according to StatCounter.
"This is certainly a milestone in the internet browser wars," said StatCounter's CEO, Aodhan Cullen. "Just two years ago Internet Explorer dominated the worldwide market with 67 percent."
It's important to note that stat-tracking of this kind is not an exact science, and that other internet statistics still places Explorer on top. For example, Net Applications reports that IE is still being used by 59.7 percent of the web-browsing audience.
Still, Explorer is losing ground. And given its lack of innovation and general slowness when compared to Chrome and Firefox, it's not hard to see why.