by Bill Snyder

Sorry Fanboys, Windows and IE Still Rule (Long Live Microsoft!)

Jul 02, 20133 mins
BrowsersMacOSSmall and Medium Business

Microsoft's Windows operating system and IE browser are far more popular than any software from Apple, Mozilla or Google, despite what fanboys think, according to new data from Net Applications.

If you read tech blogs you might think Microsoft is practically on its deathbed. After all, Apple and Google rule the Web, and Windows is so, well…tacky. Or so we’re told.  I hate to break it to the fanboys, but Windows still runs on more than 9 out of 10 PCs, and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the browser of choice for more than half of all Web surfers.

These statistics come from a new analysis of operating-system and browser usage from Net Applications. The market research company gets its numbers from studying Web traffic, so it’s measuring actual usage and not just collecting sales data.

Okay, I wrote one thing that’s not true. I love to break the news to the fanboys; I’m actually happy to clear up this common misconception. I’m not necessarily a big fan of Microsoft technology, but the constant dissing of Windows and IE might lead consumers to think that there’s something wrong with the software, or that they’d better switch to something else.

But that’s nonsense.

If Windows and IE work for you, who cares what the digerati think? When it comes to browsers, the three most popular options work so well that you’re likely to be happy with Chrome, Firefox or IE.

You could make a very reasonable argument that both Apple’s OS X and Linux are superior operating systems to Windows, but neither of them are nearly as popular. Linux is a niche product that’s far too geeky and limited in hardware support to make it a good choice for most consumers.

Check out these OS numbers from Net Applications: Windows has 91.51 percent of the overall market; OS X has 7.3 percent; and Linux has 1.28 percent. In spite of all the roses tossed Apple’s way, OS X’s market share has been in the 7 percent range since last August. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Windows 8 gets tomatoes tossed at it quite regularly (I admit, I’ve thrown some myself), but it is gaining share, with 5.1 percent of the market.

IE Still the Most Popular Choice

A few years ago, there were real reasons not to use IE. It was notoriously insecure and was clunky compared to Chrome and Firefox. That’s no longer the case, and from my point of view, choice of browsers today comes down to personal preference. I like Firefox, but I have nothing against the desktop versions of Chrome and IE. (Mobile browsers are a different story. If you drill down in the Net Applications report you’ll also find numbers for mobile browsers.)

The numbers for desktop browsers are as follows: IE 56.15 percent; Firefox 19.15 percent; Chrome 17.17 percent; Safari 5.55 percent; and Opera 1.58 percent.  

Take that fanboys!