The dark horse in all of this: mobile. Everyone expects mobile Web browsing -- including with tablets -- to soar in the near future. Windows Mobile accounts for a measly 0.02 percent of all hits detected by Net Applications in May, while WP7 didn't even rate a roundoff error. Android ran on machines that accounted for 0.76 percent of all hits in May, and iOS ran on a noteworthy 2.38 percent. IE9 has been announced for Windows Phone 7, and it's widely anticipated to ship with Mango, but the effect on overall browser share will be negligible unless WP7 (and IE9 on tablets) prove wildly popular. I won't hold my breath.
Want to bet that, a year from now, IE has dipped well below 50 percent, and Chrome (including native Android browsing) sits around 20 percent, with Apple products not too far behind? I'd even venture a guess that IE6 will still be gunning at 10 percent or more. Old habits -- and old proprietary systems -- die hard.
Note: Net Applications measures browser market share by collecting information on about 160 million visits to Net Applications affiliated sites per month. The hit counts are then adjusted, according to Net Applications, "proportionally based on how much traffic we record from a country vs how many internet users that country has. For example, although we have significant data from China, it is relatively small compared to the number of internet users in China. Therefore, we now weight Chinese traffic proportionally higher in our global reports." Changes in weighting implemented by Net Applications three months ago increased Internet Explorer's market share numbers, and decreased Firefox's.
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