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There certainly appears to be more than a little enthusiasm for browser numbers these days, and it’s great to see early adopters adopting the latest browsers across the industry. With Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 4.0, and Chrome 10 all hitting their final releases recently, drawing instant comparisons around downloads or initial usage is a natural temptation, but unfortunately you can’t do it quite yet. Here’s why.
Every browser has a mechanism for updating their users from a previous version of a browser to the latest and greatest. For IE9, it is done through Windows Update. In the case of FF 4.0 and Chrome 10 their update mechanisms are turned on as part of their initial release to web (RTW). In the case of IE9 which RTW-ed on March 14th, we just turned on Windows Update for IE9 RTW yesterday – even then only for existing IE9 Beta and RC users. We have yet to turn on any updating for any Windows customers who have not previously downloaded the IE9 Beta or IE9 RC. So, every IE9 download is from a customer actively seeking out Internet Explorer 9 and downloading it. No automatic update or in-product prompts. As a matter of fact, of the downloads we’ve seen through Sunday, March 27th, over 90% have come from non-IE9 RC and Beta users. And remember, we report completed downloads – not attempted downloads where a user may hit a download button repeatedly but without fully downloading IE9.
Internet Explorer 9 will not be broadly rolled out on Windows Update until the end of June. We do this because we have hundreds of millions of business customers that rely on Internet Explorer and require an appropriate window of time to plan and test their deployments. We also have a responsibility, as the most popular browser on the planet, to ensure that IE9 is introduced in a timeline that allows web site developers to have the chance to ensure their site is 100% ready. The net of all this is that any comparison of browser share adoption at this point is premature at best, and misleading at worst. In a few months we’ll be better placed to look at the share of the latest browser versions and get a sense for relative progress and adoption.
IE9 on Windows 7 is our focus: To truly move the web forward and give developers and designers new capabilities that will make their experiences as rich as native apps, you can’t optimize for the lowest common denominator. IE9 is the best browser on Windows 7 because it takes full advantage of the capabilities of everything around the browser: the modern Windows operating system and modern PC hardware. When you look at adoption of browsers it’s easy to report the top-line result across all operating systems, but it’s a narrow view of what’s actually happening. Adoption on Windows 7 is what we care about most. That is the experience that we built for developers, designers, consumers and enterprises around the world. That is the experience that will push the web forward. Other browsers support other platforms, so if you want to draw comparisons you really need to take account of addressable base. With IE9, you essentially need to multiple by a factor of almost 3x to account for the difference in current addressable base.
Unlike other browsers, we have a singular goal, which is to give Windows customers the single best way to experience the web. That’s what drove our development of IE9, and continues to drive us. We’ve been humbled by the customer reaction and reviews and continued pace of IE9 adoption over the last few weeks. We have had millions of new users to IE9 since RTW - these are users that never downloaded the IE9 Beta or RC, and many that appear to be people who had previously turned away from IE and are giving it another chance with IE9. Windows Update for all our Windows customers will start sometime next month and by the end of June we will have a great sense of the enthusiasm on Windows 7 for IE9. Until that time, don’t get too wrapped up in the browser number gymnastics currently going on.
Ryan Gavin Senior Director, Internet Explorer Business and Marketing
just think how many downloads you'd have if you hadn't dropped the ball with Vista
by June IE will not be major browser one thing and second thing is why you guys left Windows XP users lots of business users still on windows XP. The way FF and chrome implemented sync users are going to get lot benefit from that and IE again lost one more war. you guys have developed a browser which would have competed FF 3 or chrome 1 or 2. And I feel IE 9 is way behind than FF or chrome in both form factor and functionality. and whatever you say about usage share IE is not going to be a major browser. countries like India which used to be the major IE market has downloaded highest number of FF in ASIA.
Automatic updates are not enabled for Firefox either. At the moment, users have to go into the Help menu in order to download Firefox 4. There are no prompts to update either.
According to support.microsoft.com/.../894199 and the IE twitter account, Windows update offerings to customers on the RC or betas started last week, not yesterday.
@ashuatriashu it is pretty obvious that you are just bashing IE9, most critics seem to all agree that IE9 is on par with all other major browsers. IE could use a sync feature, but when you talk about "form factor" it is also pretty obvious that both IE and FF took a hint from Chrome when it comes to "form factor". All tests seem to point that each browser performs well on the tests designed for individual browsers (FF did best on its own test, as did Chrome and IE...big shocker) but overall, the difference between the browsers seem to be 1 second to milliseconds. Also, the article is about adoption and how easy it is for companies like FF to put a spin on how many downloads they had in one day...the fact is, those numbers are made to make fanboi's feel better about which browser they downloaded. Chrome 1 & 2? Really? At this point your just salty...Chrome 8 and 9...would have just sounded better right? Microsoft and Chrome (Google) have similar release patterns so my guess is those 2 browsers will end up having the better browser as far as time goes, just because they are planning more updates unlike FF which seems to be stuck in it's early 90's idea of when to release updates for it's application. Anyways, I like the fact that Microsoft is in position to sync the browser with the phone/other browsers in time, as does Chrome with Android...true FF does also, but how integrated can they get without an OS behind them...just saying...
The firefox 3.x software does not look for FF4 but the next 3.x.x update. You can try it if you want. This is really a true adoption of FF4 on the basis of word of mouth.
@LaptuaZ "most critics seem to all agree that IE9 is on par with all other major browsers"... give me just one, who is not affiliated with Microsoft. IE9 is not even half of those browsers, let alone being in competition. (see: clubajax.org/ie9-html5-tests-99-bogus )
Also see this reply, which gives a solid answer to every nonsense around: robertnyman.com/.../a-reply-to-microsoft-statement-about-ie9-vs-firefox-and-google-chrome-adoption-rate
I do not quite agree with the point you're making Windows 7 and "addressable base". According to fresh statistics (marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx) XP still has a 54% marketshare, whereas 7 has a 24% share, add to that an 11% Vista share. While I agree that it's a technically sound decision to move to newer APIs, it's a really poor market decision, if you're looking to spread IE9. Why do over 50% of netizens stick with XP? I think a common reason is that their computers are simply too slow to run Vista or 7. To the extent that that's true for XP users, the stated goal of Windows 7 adoption is a pipe dream, until those users replace their old machines. Thus, I think, the 3x factor is grossly overestimated.
When are you going to announce it's availability on WSUS?
Ok Ryan, IE9 goes to customers, but where is Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image for IE9?
I see ( www.microsoft.com/.../details.aspx ) only IE8.
Please release it! Hurry!
I'm seeing it offered up on win7's this morning.
How about a little more definitive 'this is when we will start offereing it" for those of us trying to help patchers and anticipate questions in the forum?