IE7 is the New IE6.
Last October I wrote about some milestones in web browser marketshare. Specifically, I was looking forward to IE7 overtaking IE6, and to Firefox overtaking IE6. Well, both of those have finally happened, at least on this site, and a little more besides. Take a look at these stats from May 2008:
|1.9%||Mozilla||(still not sure if this is SeaMonkey or a catch-all)|
Back when I wrote the original post, I had a series of 5 or 6 milestones in mind, but decided to keep it simple and only post the first two. The next one after Firefox passing IE6 was for Firefox 2+ to pass IE6. I should have been checking in more frequently, since it already has.
So what’s next? Well, I expect to see the following in the next year or two:
- Firefox 3 replacing Firefox 2. It’s already got a strong pre-release following. (Fx2 will stick around while there are still Win98 and WinMe users, but they’re already at less than 1% here and falling.)
- Firefox 1 fading into the sunset in favor of newer, more capable releases.
- Netscape disappearing into history. (It’s already below 1% here.)
- IE6 dropping below 25%, 20%, 10% (watching it go to single digits will be satisfying), and finally 1%.
- Safari approaching 10%. It’s holding steady here, but keeps climbing globally.
Things I’d like to see, but am less confident about in the near-term:
- IE6 disappearing from the radar. There are hold-outs, both at the user and the sysadmin level, plus a sizeable minority on Windows 2000. Plus I think Microsoft is committed to supporting IE6 through the lifetime of Windows XP, which means they’ll keep shipping security fixes until 2014. On the other hand, IE 5.0 is technically still supported as part of Windows 2000, but I see very few IE5 visitors these days.
- IE8 replacing IE7, for most of the same reasons it’s taking so long for IE7 to replace IE6.
- Opera breaking out of its steady marketshare and hitting a solid 5%. That would make them much harder to ignore. (10% would be better, since Safari’s still struggling for recognition at 6%.) Of course, to get there they’ll have to pull off a major publicity coup.
- IE dropping below 50%. Could be done, but it’ll be tough. If there’s no majority browser, it’ll be very difficult to justify building a site for one browser only.
Of course, these will probably all happen faster locally than globally, since the audience seems to skew slightly toward the alternatives, but then local stats are the ones that actually matter for a specific site.
The ISC reminds us that IE7 will be pushed out to WSUS next week, which should help get rid of IE6. Yeah, I’d rather more people switched to Firefox or Opera, but I’m at the point where I’d love to be able to stop worrying about IE6’s shortcomings when trying to build sites. IE7’s shortcomings are much easier to work around. (Sorry to keep harping on this!)
The inventor of Norton Antivirus talks about computer security and has some rather interesting ideas on what policies are worth pursuing…and what policies aren’t. Long passwords? Great for protecting a stand-alone machine, but on a 10,000 machine network, they only need to crack one. Patch everything? Not every vulnerability gets exploited. I’ll have to read the Slashdot thread when I have time; that should be really *ahem* interesting.
I’ve been using the Opera 9.5 previews across the board since September, and the Firefox 3 beta 2 on my secondary work computer for the past month, and I just can’t bring myself to go back. The full-history search available in both browsers has got to be the most useful new feature I’ve seen in a browser since inline spell-check.
Really, the only things holding me back from jumping up to Firefox 3 on my main computers at home and at work were Firebug and some of the HTML validator extensions. Firebug is complicated enough that I didn’t want to rely on the Nightly Tester Tools to disable the compatibility checks. Then I found out that there’s a Firebug beta that does work with Firefox 3. That was enough. Last night I took the plunge.
Meanwhile, things look good on the ditch-IE6 front. After last month’s false alarm due to a local maximum, it looks like IE7 has solidly overtaken IE6 on this site! For the first 13½ days of January, Internet Explorer accounted for 62.5% of total hits. IE7 was 33.5%, and IE6 was only 28.4%. Even better, that’s barely over 1 percentage point from Firefox’s 27.2%!
Most likely, a lot of people got new computers for Christmas. New Windows boxes would mostly be Vista, and would ship with IE7. Another factor might be techies visiting their relatives and helping clean up/update their computers. They might have taken the opportunity to install IE7 or Firefox.
I know global statistics still show IE7 only taking up 25%–35% of overall Internet Explorer usage, but stats on this site show a slightly different story (usually skewed toward the crowd more likely to install/upgrade a browser). For the first three days of December, I’m seeing more IE7 users than IE6.
Not by a lot. IE7 has 32.7% and IE6 has 30.3% of the total. And I expect it’ll level out or even reverse as stats from a regular work week filter in. But still, something has finally surpassed that moldering, zombified, shambling heap of a web browser.
Next step: getting Firefox’s numbers (currently 26.8%, also above the global levels) over IE6.
Come on, let’s put a stake in this relic. It’s done.
As for the stats, the gap has closed somewhat in the last 2 days, with IE7 at 31.6% and IE6 at 31.2%. This is definitely looking like a home/office split. I’m going to have to write a script sometime to do a daily breakdown of browser versions and see if this actually fits.
Update (Saturday): Yes, IE6 has caught up. 32.2% to 31.1%. *sigh* It turns out I was just seeing a local maximum. 🙁