Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta Reaches 20 Million Downloads

beta version

But IE continues to lose ground in browser market share against competitors, especially Google's Chrome browser: Internet Explorer lost 1.4 points of market share just in December, according to statistics compiled by Net Applications.

The latest download figure for the IE 9 beta was provided by Roger Capriotti, director of Internet Explorer product marketing, in a Jan. 1 blog post. The new browser has generally received positive reviews since the IE9 beta became available Sept. 15.

IE9 is expected to be generally available sometime this year. Some reports have suggested the IE9 release candidate of the product could be out as early as the end of this month.

All versions of Internet Explorer held a combined 57.08 percent market share in December 2010, according to Net Applications' statistics. That's down from 58.44 percent in November and 66.92 percent in December 2009.

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But in his blog Capriotti argued that the real drop has come in the market share held by the aging IE6 and IE7 releases of the browser, down more than 40 percent between the end of 2009 and the end of 2010, while usage of IE8 increased nearly 40 percent during the same timeframe.

Mozilla's Firefox browser, meanwhile, has been stuck around the 23 percent market share level for a year. In December it held a 22.81 percent share, up slightly from 22.76 percent in November, but down slightly from 23.29 percent in December 2009. But that browser could get a boost this year when the much-anticipated Firefox 4 becomes available.

The big winner in 2009 was Google's Chrome browser, which increased its share of all browser usage to 9.98 percent in December 2010 from 2.64 percent a year earlier, surpassing Apple's Safari browser to take third place.