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The IE-Based World May End in 2012

The trend lines look menacing for Internet Explorer's days as the de facto Web browser standard, a role IE held due to its long-standing dominance in market share.

According to figures released by StatCounter for all of 2011, the Google Chrome browser ended the year with 27 percent of global share, while Microsoft's IE closed out with 39 percent. At the beginning of 2011, Chrome claimed 16 percent of global share and IE had 46 percent share.

It follows other recent Chrome milestones noted by StatCounter, including eclipsing Firefox as the No. 2 worldwide browser in November and Chrome 15 becoming the most popular Web browser version for the first time on a weekly basis in mid-December. (Chrome overtook IE 8 for the weekly win.)

On the StatCounter chart, Chrome's rising line looks sure to intersect with IE's falling one sometime in 2012 -- and it looks like it will happen earlier in the year rather than later.

To be sure, as other media outlets have noted, StatCounter isn't the only word on browser share. At the end of the year, Net Applications put IE's overall share at 52 percent, Firefox's at 22 percent and Chrome's at 19 percent.

Nonetheless, IE has been losing share at a relatively unchecked rate for years now. While the market researchers may differ about the rate of decline, the fact is that on at least one of the two major measures, Microsoft probably won't hold the lead at the end of 2012. Big shift.

[Click on image for larger view.]
Top five browsers of 2011. Source: StatCounter

Posted by Scott Bekker on January 03, 2012