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Internet Explorer usage drops below 50%

Microsoft's reign over web traffic has seen a negative shift, with its share of the market dropping to below 50 per cent for the first time in its ten year history.

According to NetMarketShare, the proportion of overall web browsing accessed through Internet Explorer (IE) has now decreased to 49.6 per cent – despite almost 53 per cent of desktop browsing still being accessed through the Microsoft browser.

In 2004, Internet Explorer owned more than 95 per cent of the web browser market.

The decline is largely contributed to the Internet Explorer's lack of presence in the mobile and tablet markets – which together now account for seven per cent of all internet traffic in the United States, according to comScore.

As of October, Firefox – which launched in 2004 – was the second most popular web browser, accounting for 21.20 per cent of traffic. This was followed by Google Chrome with almost 17 per cent.

While Safari accounted for just half of the web traffic Google Chrome achieved, it has the added advantage of claiming more than 62 per cent of mobile traffic as it is the default browser in Apple's iPhone and iPad.

The latest browser threat to IE, Google Chrome, was introduced in 2008 – a decade after Microsoft was taken to court in an antitrust case for illegally bundling Internet Explorer with Windows operating systems and its competitor at the time Netscape crumbled.

Technology news website ZDNet was quick to point out that seven and a half per cent of Internet Explorer’s customer base were currently using the obsolete IE 6 – meaning that the percentage of users working with current versions of IE-8 for XP and 9 for Vista and 7 is actually about 42 per cent.