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IE9 up as desktop browser shares flatline

Microsoft's browser battles back amid stagnating competition while mobile blooms

According to analytics and internet market research firm Net Applications, browsing figures are again throwing up some surprises. The organisation stated that mobile browsing has for the first time exceeded 10 per cent in its sample, which "actually underestimates the total amount of browsing share on mobile devices, since our sample does not contain data on apps, like maps". Vincent Vizzaccaro of EVP Marketing, suggested the influx of new devices perhaps accounted for the surge and was an ongoing trend: "With the new iPad mini, iPhone 5, Kindle Fires, Samsung Galaxy devices, along with an expected strong push by the new Microsoft Surface, the growth in mobile and tablet usage compared to desktop usage should continue to grow rapidly for the foreseeable future."

On the desktop, too, there were some surprises. IE9 has surpassed a 50 per cent share on Windows 7 in the US, and IE as a whole still holds over half of the overall market. Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera either had minor recent losses or remained essentially static in terms of share, although Net Applications noted Chrome prerendering is becoming more prevalent, now accounting for 11.1 per cent of its sample of websites – way up from 4.3 percent in February.

Although Internet Explorer had for a long time been the bane of web developers and other technical folk, hence concerted efforts to get users to switch, its gradual strengthening suggests this is no longer the case. Edgeofmyseat.com director Drew McLellan concurred: "Convincing someone to change software is a big commitment, as you then have to act as their technical support person. If they use a lot of JavaScript-intensive sites, I might suggest Google Chrome, and Firefox has a huge wealth of add-ons available, but for general casual web browsing, IE does a solid job and most users would have no need to switch. I'd struggle to find a good reason why most users would need to switch to something else if they're happy with what IE provides."

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