Sometime in 1998 or 1999, Internet Explorer (IE) became the number one Web browser in the world. It did so thanks to Microsoft illegally bundling IE with Windows. But, while Microsoft lost the anti-trust case, instead of being broken up as it was first ruled, Microsoft only had its hands slapped and Internet Explorer’s main competitor, Netscape, was destroyed. By 2004, Microsoft’s IE owned 95%+ of the Web browser marker. That was then. This is now.
In that same year, Firefox started taking market-share from IE. At first IE lost ground, ironically enough, because of its de facto victory over Netscape. For years, Microsoft neglected improving IE 6, and Firefox was able to quickly establish itself as the better option. Then, when Chrome was introduced in 2008, it made the Web browser races far more competitive.
In October 2011, according to NetMarketShare, IE is barely above the 50% mark of desktop browsers with 52.63%. That only tells part of the story though.
On the smartphone/tablet market, IE is a total non-player with IE and Microsoft Pocket IE combined having only 0.17% of the market. Put the total Web browser markets together, and you’ll see IE has finally dropped below the 50% mark. IE now has only 49.58% of the total market.