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It seems almost quaint to recall that in 2003, Internet Explorer dominated 95 percent of the browser market.  In 2010, oh how things have changed. According to the measurement firm NetApplications, the once-ubiquitous Microsoft browser has reached a "historic low" accounting for less than 60% of the market. For years Americans associated the browser's iconic blue "e" logo with Internet access. Now challengers like Firefox, Safari and Chrome have chipped away at its hegemony. What explains Internet Explorer's downward trend?

  • The Competition Is Killing Microsoft, writes Emil Protalinski at Ars Technica: "IE continues to slip, Firefox and Opera are fairly static, Safari is very slowly moving forward, and Chrome is pushing ahead at breakneck speeds."
  • IE Deserves to Die, writes Zack Whittacker at ZDNet: "Internet Explorer is old and sluggish. It occasionally pees on the rug, and you have to take it for a check-up every few months - and it always ends up costing you dearly. It's a bit like an old dog which you have, and you care about, and will sincerely miss it when its gone, but it's starting to become a bit of a burden."
  • Google's Advertising Definitely Helped Chrome, writes Cyril Kowaliski at Tech Report: "Chrome's success might not seem entirely surprising in light of Google's advertising efforts. The company doesn't just pimp Chrome on its search engine; YouTube, too, invites users to try "a new web browser," and ads all over the web--sometimes on major sites like trumpet Chrome's merits. Even non-tech-savvy users are bound to succumb to temptation and click those links, and it looks like they're in no hurry to switch back to IE."
  • And the Future Will Only Be Brighter for Chrome, writes Clint Boulton at eWeek: "If Chrome OS netbooks sell well, Google can expect greater growth for the browser through next holiday season as it takes on the role IE took on when it was bundled with Microsoft Windows."
  • Still, Average People Don't Care About Web Browsers, writes Kit Eaton at Fast Company: "Does the average end user care about this one jot? Most probably not. This inertia is the reason IE has kept its market dominance so long. Technically speaking it's not the most advanced browser, and in terms of a user experience, it's very far from being perfect. But it's on so many Windows machines, and so many people have used it as their only portal to the Net for so long that it becomes habitual. It's likely that the legally enforced browser ballot (to combat MS's monopoly) in Europe is contributing to the stats ever so slightly...though this does presuppose that a user faced with this potentially baffling choice doesn't just jab at the icon for a familiar program they know and have oft-used."
  • Nielsen Disagrees, notes Daniel Ionescu at PC World: "Nielsen data on the other hand... suggest that Internet Explorer has not lost much ground against its fellow rival browsers, and still commands 70 per cent of the market, while Mozilla has only 18 percent."

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