Internet Explorer Market Share Gains Could Accelerate With IE9 On The Horizon

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And the competitive Turner hates nothing more than being a laggard.

So Microsoft customers and channel partners can expect an aggressive marketing push from Microsoft behind its Internet Explorer in the browser arena, with the expected beta for IE9 next month sure to fuel the fire.

Yesterday Net Applications, an Internet metrics research firm, released statistics for the month of July that showed Internet Explorer picking up market share against the Firefox open-source browser and Google’s Chrome.

While Internet Explorer’s market share had been steadily declining for some time, falling below 60 percent in May, the Microsoft product regained market share in the last two months, to 60.32 percent in June and 60.74 in July, according to Net Applications.

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Firefox, which had been steadily gaining market share, peaked at 24.59 percent in April and has seen small declines each month since then to 22.91 percent in July. Chrome, which hit 7.24 percent market share in June, fell to 7.16 percent last month.

Part of IE’s uptick could be a halo effect from the success of the Windows 7 desktop operating system. Windows 7 is spurring a round of PC hardware upgrades and that means more exposure for IE. The Vista debacle, in contrast, certainly didn’t encourage a lot of consumers to adopt desktop software from Microsoft.

Some industry pundits have pointed to a series of television commercials Microsoft has been running showing consumers freely giving away their personal information – a not-so-subtle dig at open source technology.

And the drums for IE are about to get louder. Last week, while briefing financial analysts, Turner disclosed that Microsoft would debut the beta for Internet Explorer 9, the next generation of the Web browsing software, next month. Until now Microsoft has been offering “platform preview” releases of the product, the most recent of which came out in June.

Microsoft has not provided a target date for when IE9 will be generally available, though speculation is the new release won’t be out until 2011.