Internet Explorer 9 reaches 23m downloads; increases market share

The Internet Explorer 9 Beta has been the talk of the Internet, promising strong performance, fast rendering speeds and, best of all, HTML5 support.

The IE team reports that Internet Explorer 9 Beta reached the 23 million downloads milestone, with over 0.5% of users worldwide. While the browser is still in beta and nearing its RC (Release Candidate) milestone, more users will jump on the bandwagon, growing the browser's market share even more. The IE team reports that on Windows 7, Internet Explorer 9 Beta accounts for 1.82% of all users worldwide. Windows XP, still the most dominant operating system, is not compatible with IE9.

Apart from the success of IE9 Beta, its predecessor, IE8, continues its growth, according to Net Applications. Internet Explorer 8 saw a 1.18% growth in January, over one and a half times the growth of Chrome (0.72%). Internet Explorer still remains the top browser in the world, with over 34.79% market share.

Internet Explorer 6 continues its slow and steady death, with a loss of 1.77% in January. Once the top dog in the browser wars, the aging browser continues to lose market share as many users switch from Windows XP to Vista or Windows 7. IE6 now sits as the third most popular browser, behind Firefox 3.6 and ahead of Chrome 8.0.

Download the Internet Explorer 9 Beta here.

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48 Comments

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I use a virtual machine to start with. Every time I reboot I get a fresh OS....So everything i run is within the sandbox of the VM.
As far hating IE for what it is and not was... I do.

Trust microsoft for security? You have got to be joking... that would be like trusting McAfee for your antimalware protection...

ozyborn said,
IE any version on my PC? NEVER.....

I use firefox with addons and Opera.

Which are currently the most insecure browsing configurations.

Hate IE for what it IS, not what it WAS, there are times products do redeem themselves, and even with IE7 and IE8, they are at least highly secure because of protected mode.

IE9 is completely new code, with a new concept of how a browser works and might be worth a minute or two of your time to see if it has redeemed itself from the day you decided you hated IE when IE was worthy of being hated.

I have no idea why anyone would ever want to touch IE let alone version 9. I moved away from FF because of very similar issues as Bloatware IE and security issues don't get me started!.

For me I've had my fill of Microsoft's garbage browser, along with Mozilla's mess with it's latest FF browser. Chrome seems to be heading in the right direction, but with some serious flaws in it's addon's and very minimal support..it just adds to the mess of the browser wars. Not sure anyone is going to come out of this a clear winner. If I was betting on a browser it would be Chrome, as I said it's got it's problems and its got issues with it's mods, but overall it isn't going to end up as clunkety clunk as the other 2 browsers.

Firefox went from being small fry to large over night...which is amazing consider the erroneous and misguided statements about it...its no better than IE which MS needs to stop making right now.

sylvantos said,
I have no idea why anyone would ever want to touch IE let alone version 9. I moved away from FF because of very similar issues as Bloatware IE and security issues don't get me started!.

For me I've had my fill of Microsoft's garbage browser, along with Mozilla's mess with it's latest FF browser. Chrome seems to be heading in the right direction, but with some serious flaws in it's addon's and very minimal support..it just adds to the mess of the browser wars. Not sure anyone is going to come out of this a clear winner. If I was betting on a browser it would be Chrome, as I said it's got it's problems and its got issues with it's mods, but overall it isn't going to end up as clunkety clunk as the other 2 browsers.

Firefox went from being small fry to large over night...which is amazing consider the erroneous and misguided statements about it...its no better than IE which MS needs to stop making right now.

However, the very issues you complain about with Chrome are the very reason why I won't touch it outside of niche uses, and why it will never be a default browser for me - not on *any* of the three operating systems I run semi-generally (Windows, Sabayon 5.5 and OS X 10.6.4 - I have not upgraded to 10.6.6 due to application incompatibilities.) In Windows, the IE 9 beta is my default, followed by Firefox and Chrome (on the Windows side, I use Chrome strictly for Facebook, which is Flash-heavy). In Sabayon and OS X, Firefox is not only my default, but my *only* browser. (My only use for Safari was to grab Firefox 4 beta for Mac.)

sylvantos said,
I have no idea why anyone would ever want to touch IE let alone version 9. I moved away from FF because of very similar issues as Bloatware IE and security issues don't get me started!.

For me I've had my fill of Microsoft's garbage browser, along with Mozilla's mess with it's latest FF browser. Chrome seems to be heading in the right direction, but with some serious flaws in it's addon's and very minimal support..it just adds to the mess of the browser wars. Not sure anyone is going to come out of this a clear winner. If I was betting on a browser it would be Chrome, as I said it's got it's problems and its got issues with it's mods, but overall it isn't going to end up as clunkety clunk as the other 2 browsers.

Firefox went from being small fry to large over night...which is amazing consider the erroneous and misguided statements about it...its no better than IE which MS needs to stop making right now.

1) IE9 is completely new code.
2) IE9 introduces a new concept to the world of browsers where web content and pages are shoved as close to machine level code as possible - thus making the entire web page processed like a JIT does for javascript.
3) IE9 is the most standards compliant browser in or out of beta thus far.
4) IE9 is often 10-100x faster than Chrome and FF when it comes to dynamic rendering of HTML5 content. (This is because of #2 and the GPU computing features and the GPU rendering features that are new to IE9.)
5) IE on Vista and Win7 are truly the most secure browsers, as they run in a sandbox with low security rights and use a broker to even read the favorites from the file system. This is far beyond's Chrome's self imposed sandbox.


If #4 above seems insane, simply goto http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/ and note the differences between Chrome (even the latest Chromium/Chrome build with GPU features) compared to IE9. -You can install just the developer preview version of IE9 if you don't want to monkey with the full browser to test this out for yourself.


If you love Chrome, you need to make your voice known to Google or the Webkit teams that they need to rethink how a browser works and break the layers of processing a web page down and adopt a 'compile' concept for handling everything, not just javascript or you will see a future where people will have to open IE9 to get the expected peformance out of rich HTML5 pages, which is what HTML5 is all about.

When there is a 100x peformance difference because of the IE team's rethinking of how a browser treats HTML as code, it might be time for the other browser developers to stop dismissing Microsoft and the IE team like you are doing and instead notice what they are doing right.

And NO, WebGL inside a HTML5 canvas is not the answer or a standard, it is a security risk and also throws away all the HTML5 RIA concepts.

Edited by thenetavenger, Feb 2 2011, 10:18am :

Is there some way to make it so addons don't have an entire toolbar to themselves? I like how in firefox or chrome how they are just on the right side of the address bar but in IE9 I have a whole bar and the only thing on it is lastpass. If I could get it to switch places with the tabs that would be great.

archer75 said,
Is there some way to make it so addons don't have an entire toolbar to themselves? I like how in firefox or chrome how they are just on the right side of the address bar but in IE9 I have a whole bar and the only thing on it is lastpass. If I could get it to switch places with the tabs that would be great.

Not that I know of, but if you adopt the mindset of using the 'accelerators' or right clicks for add-on features instead of using the toolbar, you might find things work faster this way, and you no longer would need the toolbar.

This is the intended UI direction Microsoft is trying to move people to advance the GUI usability concepts - although some of the addons don't yet have the non-toolbar features so at least keep it in mind as the addons are updated after IE9 hits RC and RTM and you can move away from needing a toolbar.

I switched from IE to Maxthon when i really need more features, used to love it; multiple tabs, mouse gestures, plugins, etc, all the Things FF and chrome have this days, then Maxthon (based on IE) started to have problems with malware/viruses, and crash on me a lot, then move to Firefox, it was fine for some time, but then about 6 months ago switched from FF to Chrome cuz FF takes insane time to load, i'd tried IE 8, but no thank you, I'm happy with Chrome for now.

I wonder why IE9 runs like crap compared to both FF4 and Chrome 10 dev. on my machine??? And no I don't have any toolbars or anything installed because I hate toolbars. It's just that IE9 renders the pages so damn slow on my PC... Larger sites often freezes for a while when they load...

owziee said,
I wonder why IE9 runs like crap compared to both FF4 and Chrome 10 dev. on my machine??? And no I don't have any toolbars or anything installed because I hate toolbars. It's just that IE9 renders the pages so damn slow on my PC... Larger sites often freezes for a while when they load...

There are a few known rendering bugs like this.

Also note that current and stable video drivers are far more important for IE9, as it is using the GPU as much as 3D game at times, as it uses your GPU to compute portions of the web page, and this is not even accounting for it using the GPU for rendering the page.

There are a few known issues with video drivers as well, and the IE9 beta version is not compenstating, where the RC and RTM versions of IE9 should be monitoring GPU issues and correcting for them even with bad drivers or a flaky video card.

The GPU is aspect is one way IE9 gets its 100x speed in certain HTML5 rendering over Chrome and other browsers, and is also why IE9 cannot run on XP, as it needs the newer WDDM of Vista and Win7.

PS Also make sure you have Aero/Glass turned on, as it helps performance with IE9 and virtually all applications. Sadly many people still have the mis-conception that they are speeding up their computer by turning Aero/Glass/DWM off. This is especially true on Win7 with DX10 and newer video cards that shove more 'under the hood' processing through your GPU beyond just the 'pretty' glass and composed display. (If you don't like the glass, turn off transparency, but don't revert to 'basic' or 'classic')

IE9 should start to jump with the RC and later the final, the beta still has problems which is why I didn't stick with it (though i'm using the newest leaked 6003 build).

I tried 8073.6003 but had to go back to that first leaked pre-RC, 8027.6000 after my banking site couldn't even render without crashing. 8027.6000 has been stable about 95% of the time, as opposed to about 70% with the official Beta. Looking forward to that RC soon though!

osm0sis said,
I tried 8073.6003 but had to go back to that first leaked pre-RC, 8027.6000 after my banking site couldn't even render without crashing. 8027.6000 has been stable about 95% of the time, as opposed to about 70% with the official Beta. Looking forward to that RC soon though!

Beyond the crashing, banking sites are very cautious about beta versions of browsers and will often decline any attempts at using your account. Which is annoying for beta testers, but smart to do until they have tested their site against the browser properly.

thenetavenger said,

Beyond the crashing, banking sites are very cautious about beta versions of browsers and will often decline any attempts at using your account. Which is annoying for beta testers, but smart to do until they have tested their site against the browser properly.


True: I cannot access Wachovia Bank secure site with IE9 Beta, I have to Chrome.

Tpiom said,
Only 35% now...?!

IE is falling fast. Good riddance!

that percentage isn't right, IE is still above 50% but not by much

that percentage isn't right, IE is still above 50% but not by much

Not on our website (around 100 000 unique sessions a month). Last year (2010) it was around 46%.

But it doesn't matter that much now.

We don't suport IE 6 anymore. We will stop to support IE 7 and 8 when they will drop under 5% (should be faster than IE6). And it looks like finally IE9 will almost fully support standard. Better support for svg would be nice but one step at a time.

Edited by LaP, Feb 1 2011, 7:42pm :

Neo003 said,
If a site isn't working properly in IE9 (Neowin.net) who's fault is it, Is it IE9 itself or neobond's.
Since Neowin uses the detection of browser version, it sets off IE9 thus causing it to act funny. The IEteam has been talking about feature detection over browser detection.

Neo003 said,
If a site isn't working properly in IE9 (Neowin.net) who's fault is it, Is it IE9 itself or neobond's.

Only problem I have with Neowin in IE9 is that posts in news stories, usually made be me, disappear for no reason.

I'm really looking forward to the RC. IE9 is fantastic, even with some of the stability issues I have been dealing with over the past few months.

I used it at home but am waiting for next update before installing it on the road. It was STILL crashing WAY WAY WAY to often. Addons or no addons, that's too much.

jimmyfal said,
I used it at home but am waiting for next update before installing it on the road. It was STILL crashing WAY WAY WAY to often. Addons or no addons, that's too much.

You are doing something wrong with it. It barely crashes for me at all..maybe one a week if not less.

jimmyfal said,
I used it at home but am waiting for next update before installing it on the road. It was STILL crashing WAY WAY WAY to often. Addons or no addons, that's too much.

Hmm, never crashes for me

jimmyfal said,
I used it at home but am waiting for next update before installing it on the road. It was STILL crashing WAY WAY WAY to often. Addons or no addons, that's too much.

Driver issues perhaps?

IE 9 deserves it - it's simple and beautiful and it offers more of the web and less of the chrome.

Die IE6, just DIE!

I've already removed all my CSS hacks for IE6 from most of my sites. I'm tired of catering to this old incompatible browser. If your business must use IE6, then enjoy an ugly misdisplayed web. I just don't care anymore, even with lost conversions. I hope others will soon follow.

ScottDaMan said,
Die IE6, just DIE!

I've already removed all my CSS hacks for IE6 from most of my sites. I'm tired of catering to this old incompatible browser. If your business must use IE6, then enjoy an ugly misdisplayed web. I just don't care anymore, even with lost conversions. I hope others will soon follow.

Pretty much this..

ScottDaMan said,
Die IE6, just DIE!

I've already removed all my CSS hacks for IE6 from most of my sites. I'm tired of catering to this old incompatible browser. If your business must use IE6, then enjoy an ugly misdisplayed web. I just don't care anymore, even with lost conversions. I hope others will soon follow.


+1. I can share your sentiment. Websites catering for IE6 break in other browsers. IE6 is a cancer and it should die.

ScottDaMan said,
Die IE6, just DIE!

I've already removed all my CSS hacks for IE6 from most of my sites. I'm tired of catering to this old incompatible browser. If your business must use IE6, then enjoy an ugly misdisplayed web. I just don't care anymore, even with lost conversions. I hope others will soon follow.

+1

ScottDaMan said,
Die IE6, just DIE!

I've already removed all my CSS hacks for IE6 from most of my sites. I'm tired of catering to this old incompatible browser. If your business must use IE6, then enjoy an ugly misdisplayed web. I just don't care anymore, even with lost conversions. I hope others will soon follow.

+1 I try to make corporate websites compatible with ie6 else I just dont care for it.

ScottDaMan said,
Die IE6, just DIE!

I've already removed all my CSS hacks for IE6 from most of my sites. I'm tired of catering to this old incompatible browser. If your business must use IE6, then enjoy an ugly misdisplayed web. I just don't care anymore, even with lost conversions. I hope others will soon follow.


IE7 is also very nasty. It was merely Microsoft's first step up from the hell hole that IE6 had caused. IE8 is somewhere along the way, but still quite flawed especially if comparing to the competition and nothing I'd recommend if you're looking to help make the web a better place. IE9 is finally getting respectable although there are numerous areas of improvements still, if talking web standards and comparing to Firefox 4 or Chrome 8.

It's crazy that IE6's legacy caused so much damage that it has lingered in the IE product line for so long.

Finally, in 2011, we are getting the browser equals that we should have had all along.

I'm looking forward to IE 10 with respectable HTML 5 support once the standard has finalized enough for Microsoft's tastes to implement better support and not just Canvas + Video tag support.

Northgrove said,

IE7 is also very nasty. It was merely Microsoft's first step up from the hell hole that IE6 had caused. IE8 is somewhere along the way, but still quite flawed especially if comparing to the competition and nothing I'd recommend if you're looking to help make the web a better place. IE9 is finally getting respectable although there are numerous areas of improvements still, if talking web standards and comparing to Firefox 4 or Chrome 8.

It's crazy that IE6's legacy caused so much damage that it has lingered in the IE product line for so long.

Finally, in 2011, we are getting the browser equals that we should have had all along.

I'm looking forward to IE 10 with respectable HTML 5 support once the standard has finalized enough for Microsoft's tastes to implement better support and not just Canvas + Video tag support.

IE8 and 9 are already completely standards compliant. HTML5 and CSS3 are still draft specifications and it's a bad idea to support every part of them at the moment. This could actually cause an IE6 situation again, albeit on a much smaller scale. Just look at the new Apple website. It uses proprietary HTML5 tags (only works on webkit browsers), which is kinda ironic.

floopy said,
IE8 and 9 are already completely standards compliant. HTML5 and CSS3 are still draft specifications and it's a bad idea to support every part of them at the moment.
Supporting a small amount of the spec correctly doesn't make you 'completely standards compliant' in a reasonable fashion - you also need to support a sizeable proportion (which IE9 is doing). A lot of the HTML5 and CSS3 specs are quite stable - I agree, some of it is not. However, there's a limit, and IE8 is not at a reasonable level.

ScottDaMan said,
Die IE6, just DIE!

I've already removed all my CSS hacks for IE6 from most of my sites. I'm tired of catering to this old incompatible browser. If your business must use IE6, then enjoy an ugly misdisplayed web. I just don't care anymore, even with lost conversions. I hope others will soon follow.

I cannot believe that people are still using IE6... Are they insane.

Jonessie said,

I cannot believe that people are still using IE6... Are they insane.


You can blame it on lazy company IT who are too lazy to deploy newer versions of IE. At my previous company, we can only use IE6 because if we use different versiosn of IE or other browsers, the UI used to control the machine simply won't work.

Northgrove said,

IE7 is also very nasty. It was merely Microsoft's first step up from the hell hole that IE6 had caused. IE8 is somewhere along the way, but still quite flawed especially if comparing to the competition and nothing I'd recommend if you're looking to help make the web a better place. IE9 is finally getting respectable although there are numerous areas of improvements still, if talking web standards and comparing to Firefox 4 or Chrome 8.

It's crazy that IE6's legacy caused so much damage that it has lingered in the IE product line for so long.

Finally, in 2011, we are getting the browser equals that we should have had all along.

I'm looking forward to IE 10 with respectable HTML 5 support once the standard has finalized enough for Microsoft's tastes to implement better support and not just Canvas + Video tag support.

1) IE6 in contrast to today sucks, but when IE6 was released other browsers were not any better than IE6. The problem is that IE is not a forced upgrade, where it is hard to find someone using any other browser version technology from the same timeframe. (IE6 was hard to shove upgrades to users because of the site built around that time in corporations was booming and IE6 was also being used by the OS for UI rendering in the shell - something that stopped with Vista.) -There is also the facts about IE4 through IE6 and standards and how why Microsoft's IE4 even though it didn't fully compy with standards, handled page rendering better, especially on modems and flaking connections that people had at the time. (Also many of Microsoft's standards were not adopted in the final standards, yet ironically, it was Microsoft's XHTMl work that defined the next generation of standards.) With regard to rendering better but being compliant it is like this: A missing end table tag in IE4 would go ahead and display the table if no further page data was received, but the standard said it shouldn't display the table at all. And on a flaky connection, this why people prefered IE4 over Netscape4. And ironically/sadly this is also why IE always failed ACID tests so horribly, as it is tried to render the content even if it was mangled.

2) "not just Canvas + Video tag support." Huh? Are you confusing Safari or Chrome with IE9? As what you are saying describes them far more accurately than IE9. To the point that they are almost solely focusing on the canvas and video aspects and using WebGL for rendering that instead should be done in HTML5 and other 'true' standards.

Without the 'JIT' approach to all aspects of a Web page like the IE teams is doing, Chrome, Firefox, etc are not even close to getting the performance out of HTML5 that they should be and the IE9 team is getting easily, and this doesn't even take into account the GPU assistance aspects that IE9 is using that are several layers below Chromium and Firefox's Direct2D final rendering.

So until Chrome, Firefox, etc move to a more modern 'handling' of web pages and content and treat the page as much like a compiled application/code they will not have the performance IE9 has for HTML5, and this is why they are instead focusing on using the HTML5 canvas and hacking in something as insane as WebGL - which is a kludge to get faster rendering without having to do redesign the browser engine.

(And WebGL is a security nightmare, as it is essentially handing the keys over to any site that wants to run WebGL content, and giving it HARDWARE access via OpenGL, even down to shader code. Which will make the security horrors of ActiveX from 8 years ago look like childs play in comparison. Instead of malicious code getting through to your GPU, imagine a malicious site using direct GPU exploits/flaws to fry people's video cards.)


Seriously, go look at what IE9 is doing in relation to all the current and proposed web standards, especially HTML5. IE9 is not only the most compliant, but has brought attention to the standards that there are differences in how the standards are interpreted and the different standards interact with each other.

(Go to the IE9 HTML5 test site, and look at the 'Falling Balls' or the Dotted Line demos, and notice how differently Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari each handle just these two simple examples, and are all 'technically' rendering them correctly according to the current standards drafts but without regard to standards interoperability or final rendering should look as it is not properly defined.)

Edited by thenetavenger, Feb 2 2011, 9:16am :

XIII said,

You can blame it on lazy company IT who are too lazy to deploy newer versions of IE. At my previous company, we can only use IE6 because if we use different versiosn of IE or other browsers, the UI used to control the machine simply won't work.

You mean you can blame Microsoft for not having any sort of automatic or even manual update in older IE versions. Most people who use(d) it didn't/don't know how to go to the IE page and download the new versions, and so without automatic update a lot of users are screwed.

De.Bug said,

You mean you can blame Microsoft for not having any sort of automatic or even manual update in older IE versions. Most people who use(d) it didn't/don't know how to go to the IE page and download the new versions, and so without automatic update a lot of users are screwed.

I am talking about corporate networks. About the users' end, most of them are still using XP anyways so why bother ?

De.Bug said,
You mean you can blame Microsoft for not having any sort of automatic or even manual update in older IE versions. Most people who use(d) it didn't/don't know how to go to the IE page and download the new versions, and so without automatic update a lot of users are screwed.
WinXP has Windows Update, which also supplies IE. Never has it been the case that most people go to the MS site to get updates.