Microsoft’s once dominant Internet Explorer now accounts for less than half the web browser market, according to recent figures from StatCounter.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer now has a 49.87pc share of the global browser market, the first time it has fallen below 50pc.
Although Microsoft’s browser remains the dominant browsing platform, rivals such as Google and Mozilla are snapping at it heels.
According to the latest figures from StatCounter, Mozilla’s Firefox web browser enjoys a 31.5pc market share, while Google’s Chrome browser accounts for 11.54pc of the market, up from 3.69pc in September last year.
“This is certainly a milestone in the internet browser wars,” said Aodhan Cullen, chief executive of StatCounter. “Just two years ago, Internet Explorer dominated the worldwide market with 67pc.”
The decline of Internet Explorer in Europe – where Microsoft’s browser now accounts for 40.26pc of the market, compared to 46.44pc last year – could be due in part to the browser “ballot box” Microsoft is compelled to offer computer users in the wake of a European Commission ruling.
The Commission ordered Microsoft to roll out the ballot box after deciding that the company’s practice of pre-installing Internet Explorer on Windows machines could be viewed as anti-competitive.
The ballot allows computer users to choose from a list of 12 web browsers, and is pre-installed on new computers running Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system, and is pushed to computers running Vista or Windows XP via a software update.
Microsoft is bound to observe the Commission's ruling for the next five years. The ballot system is available in all EU member countries.