Why is Internet Explorer struggling with market share despite being a Microsoft product?

karthik chandrappa March 23, 2013

I am not sure whether it is considered as a tech question or not, but I am rather surprised that even though Internet Explorer is a Microsoft product, it is not doing well in second browser war.

Why is Microsoft not doing something to tackle this issue or is it a mindset of geeks that everything from Microsoft is no good? Please share your opinions!

  1. dragonmouth
    March 26, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    "I am rather surprised that even though Internet Explorer is a Microsoft product, it is not doing well in second browser war."

    Why do you assume that just because IE is a Microsoft product it must be the best? Throughout its history MS has not been an innovator, it has been a follower. MS waits for other software companies to develop new features, then it implements them. Throughout its history Microsoft has been playing catch up. Even MS-DOS and Windows were/are copies of another company's products.

  2. Rajaa Chowdhury
    March 25, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I have installed IE10 on my Windows 7. It was claimed to be much faster than IE9 with full HTML5 support. However, I do have also Firefoix and Chrome latest version and to be very honest I find their performance and usability much better than IE10.

  3. 1hegame
    March 24, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Time has changed for Microsoft.

  4. Junil Maharjan
    March 24, 2013 at 4:41 am

    mostly because it came late to the browser games. when mozilla was making firefox better and google was developing chrome, IE was still holding to the old browser without making it better for the user. then most of the website designers followed firefox compatibility for their website which some of the website still do. IE was unstable, unsecure and lacked support. firefox was innovating and when chrome came, the users saw that a browser could do more than search a website.

  5. ValPrajj
    March 23, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    because IE invades privacy and requests genuinity of the systems and doesnt let you login through live.com also if your OS isnt legit!!! hence users feel disgusted with the browser and op for mozilla and chrome

    • Alan Wade
      March 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      So if you rip off your OS you should be disgusted with I.E.? Maybe you could try buying an OS and be disgusted with nobody.....

  6. Paul Pruitt
    March 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    It's not as fast and clean and the memory footprint (I believe but am not sure) is higher than as Chrome.

    I do believe Microsoft is working on IE to make it simpler and faster. If their Windows 8 theme logos are any indication of present company philosophy, everything is going simpler and cleaner...along the lines of Chrome.

    The Windows 8 concepts are hard to learn at first but I think they are simpler and for the better. Microsoft however is not holding peoples hands to explain them how to use the OS. I think is a calculated move many sites and software use to promote the sense of discovery and fun, at the risk of frustration on the part of the user.

    • Paul Pruitt
      March 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm

      Although annoying at times, the Window that pops up and asks if you want to shut down add-ins to load IE faster and tells you how much time each one is contributing to the slow down, is a good start of a feature.

  7. Alan Wade
    March 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    There are lots of good points of view over this, mine is that when other companies started making browsers they had to make them better than I.E. just to get a foot in on the market share. Microsoft has to concentrate on many things so havnt devoted enough time and effort in keeping I.E. out on top whereas the likes of Firefox and Chrome have. Of course, this is only my point of view.

  8. susendeep dutta
    March 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Although,others point of view is absolutely correct,one must not forget that it is still racing with Google Chrome for 1st position in market share.

    Microsoft can only make its browser progress only if it understands current market position and situations.It has to be fast and stable in performance.

  9. Carlos Remonza
    March 23, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    The reason I don't or rarely (I'm using IE to download other browser and that just it) IE isnt really compatible with css design as Jan Fritsch already stated. Furthermore, i dont expect users to install addon in their IE just to experience what the website actually is because this could be opening some security holes in IE. Therefore its better to use other browser that can be downloaded and the user can use it without any need to install addon out of the box directly.

  10. Oron Joffe
    March 23, 2013 at 10:56 am

    There are some very good answers on the page already. I believe that it is Microsoft "hate", as Jan put it, by some, and the more rapid and responsive development by others. Firefox introduced extensions, Chrome introduced very fast browsing and a very clean interface, Opera introduced far too many features to be mentioned.Meanwhile, Microsoft followed slowly behind, improving its compatibility with standards, speeding up performance and introducing extensions (by other names) which were not as flexible. Add to that the European requirement to ask the user which browser they would like to use as their default one, and you find that the overall momentum has moved away from MS.

  11. Rob Hindle0
    March 23, 2013 at 10:49 am

    There are many reasons. The market share Microsoft do have is largely down to non-tech users just sticking with the name they know. But even those users must have encountered more tech-savvy urging them to try Firefox or Chrome. Some are wary of downloading software because we've been warning them software downloads are risky. Even then, if they try Firefox or Chrome they may not appreciate the benefits, many of the advantages come from add-ins and technical features. At the same time those users are faced with a different user interface and they don't like change.

    The only real factor that might make them change is when there's a web site that they really want to use but it fails in MSIE - and that's unusual because many web developers have to spend hours testing and inculding tweaks to make their web sites work OK in MSIE (sometimes way back to MSIEv6 that even MS are trying to kill off) - otherwise their client will be complaining "it doesn't work...".

    There are two reasons IE managed to hang on to market share they have for so long. People retaining old PCs and outdated operating systems will take the "if it's not broke don't fix it" approach - and may be apprehensive that the alternatives may not work well on their old PC/OS. Secondly corporates don't like change. When you've got a fleet of a few thousand PCs in, say, a global Bank what you need is very strict adherence to a standard build otherwise support costs skyrocket.
    Let me give an example of that policy. Where I worked we bought thousands of standard Dell PCs. Then Dell started to ship them as standard and for no extra cost with a CD drive. We didn't want users to be able to load CDs and had to pay Dell extra to remove the CD drives! At one point we had to pay Microsoft extra so we could use an obsolete version of Windows as new PCs were coming in with a license for the current version which didn't allow use of the old version.

    If MS had a grain of sense they'd find some way to adopt, recommend and support a better browser (like Google used to with Firefox) because, after all these years of being worst, despite efforts to improve, they must realise it's a fail. It also costs them a lot to develop and support and provide it for free and it causes them reputational damage. Remember MS based the original IE on a browser they bought, Spyglass.

    In the early days Browsers were purchased products and MS were originally selling IE.
    MS indulged in a number of practises to encourage use of IE and which some might consider underhand. At one point they were giving PC sellers free copies of IE but with a price sticker of $10 and a cashback voucher for the buyer to reclaim their $10 from MS - the PC sellers were encouraged to sell the product as the $10 was pure profit and the buyer would reclaim it from MS - so in effect MS was paying $10 (plus the cost of producing and distributing the CDs) to get IE onto peoples PCs.
    A bit later MS disrupted the market completely by changing to handing IE out free, virtually wiping out the business of single product companies like Netscape.
    Web developers were once offered a valuable bundle of MS software conditional on using it to build web sites relying on features unique to IE.
    When the regulators took an interest in MS' uncompetitive practises MS tried to claim that IE was an essential component of the operating system so couldn't be removed - until some third party programmers produced a "Windows without IE" demonstration.

    Those practises themselves might be seen as a tacit admission by MS that the product couldn't win on the basis of its merit.

  12. ha14
    March 23, 2013 at 10:27 am

    If Windows itself is very good operating why some switch to Linux and Others to MAC? the same thing is with IE, perhaps microsoft concentrate itself on the OS rather on the gateway to the world with IE. Bad IE reputation gained through years open the door to Other internet browsers that can be customized and make them personal.

  13. SaapeXD MoHods
    March 23, 2013 at 8:14 am

    They probably arn't putting much effort to Internet Explorer since its FREE product.

  14. Jan Fritsch
    March 23, 2013 at 5:21 am

    I believe it is a mixture of "hate" on IE, market development and negligence of MS. I don't think the geeks had a direct influence on that since they/we've been using other browsers for a long long time.

    Microsoft has neglected the development of IE for a long time. They've been slow on fixing security issues, implementing support for web standards (if at all) and rendering of code (see "CSS hacks for IE"). That resulted in a lot of people switching browsers for security reasons and to experience web sites the way they should be. And then there are of course the thousands of features, extensions or add-ons for other browsers that IE never had.

    Another point surely is that the EU went through with banning IE as the default browser on Windows. So when people are offered the browser choice they ask other people - often the geeks - about which one to chose and the answer usually isn't IE.

    I don't think IE is irrelevant on the browser market ~ I just think they need a decisive direction change like they did with Windows Mobile/Phone.

  15. Harshit Jain
    March 23, 2013 at 4:49 am

    The main reason is that people think that new IE versions are as poor as old versions. When people switched to different browser many years ago, IE was a very bad browser. But now the image of IE is very poor in the minds of people and they have become mmore acquainted with other browsers. IE 10 simply has no killer features to make it worthy to make the switch. Firefox and Chrome provide more features and are good enough for most people. So, IE is now struggling.

  16. Bruce Epper
    March 23, 2013 at 3:46 am

    I think IE is losing market share BECAUSE it is a Microsoft product. Their design decisions for their consumer products have taken a downturn and it is affecting their entire product line. Their interfaces look like they used Playskool designers instead of professionals. They have made it harder and more cumbersome for power users and professionals to do their work with MS products. And the performance of IE10 on Win7 blows big time. I had to roll back to IE9 because of how frequently IE10 crashes (several times per hour) for the sites that insist on using IE. I use Firefox for everything else.

    I just hope that I can get all the remaining ducks in a row so I can get myself down to a single Windows machine that is for dedicated gaming and all of my other machines using ANYTHING other than Windows. Two are currently using LinuxMint 13 (one is dual-boot with Win7), one XP system for running older software where I haven't found suitable replacements, my former primary PC (that I am working on at the moment) is still on Win7 right now until I get a few more automation items straightened out on another machine which will be moved onto this one once it becomes yet another Linux box. I have 10 other machines on the list to cannibalize and resurrect. All resulting machines will be running Linux.

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