Internet Explorer drops below 50% market share

This is the end of an era, and everyone is better off because of it.

In the dark ages when Internet Explorer was the Internet, there was no innovation, little standards support and not a bright future for the Internet (and you basically has to use Windows to get the most out of the Internet). Microsoft went more than five years between updating Internet Explorer. Can you imagine that?

Today major Web browsers — save for Internet Explorer — receive updates multiple times a year. Firefox, Chrome and Safari came long to give us open source options that supported standards. These browsers rapidly iterated and gave us new features like tabbed browsing.

Yes, Internet Explorer didn’t get tabbed browsing until version 7 in 2006, years after other Web browsers had this feature. Can you imagine having to open a new browser window for every webpage you were viewing? Internet Explorer was a usability nightmare.

Google’s Chrome is standing the shoulders of giants today and is rocketing towards the top. It came years later than the other open source browsers, and is indeed based on Apple’ WebKit engine in Safari, but it’s a shinning example of what browser innovation can be. Google is rapidly adding new features to Chrome and is pushing Safari and Firefox to innovate and iterate even faster (I personally use Safari and Chrome and occasionally Firefox).

Today we’re all better off for the increased competition. Gone are the days when many websites would only render properly on Internet Explorer. Gone are the days when the only way to really browse the Web was to use Windows.

This is truly a big day for the Internet, technology and usability.