There was a time when internet explorer was the king of browsers. Web designers went through hell trying to push forward new techniques with CSS while still trying to support IE4, IE5 and IE6. Those days are long gone but what is their percentage in this modern age compared to their dominating days?
Back on the 18th May 1998 Microsoft was taken to court for illegally thwarting competition in order to protect and extend its software monopoly by bundling Internet Explorer in its operating system. At that time IE had a whopping share of the browser market and it grew and grew over the proceeding years.
In 2003 the IE usage peaked at 85% but that marked the end of its heyday. In its wake it left a lingering trail of agony for web designers who were required to create pixel perfect websites across ALL browsers and browser versions.
When IE7 was released in 2006 many web designers (myself included) were over the moon that CSS was better supported. We were so excited to push the limits of styling but IE6 just wouldn’t die. It took another 6 years before IE6 dipped into single digits and companies I worked for were more compliant about leaving IE6 behind.
IE8, released in 2008, was another step towards better CSS support but again, it was another 3 years before it reached it peak and STILL IE6 was in double digit usage.
It wasn’t until 2009 that another browser (Firefox) overtook IE in the browser wars. Other browsers started coming out with amazing developer tools which made bug fixing so easy. The problem was the other browsers were mostly fine. If it worked on one it was pretty much guaranteed to work on the others. The problem was IE and the dev tools on IE were dreadful.
By March 2012 the other big player, Chrome, overtook Firefox and IE for the first time. Over the next 4 years Chrome surged ahead and now takes an impressive 70% of the market share, leaving Firefox (17,8%), IE (6.1%), Safari (3.6%) and Opera (1.3%) far behind.
I have access to a lot of statistics for a lot of websites. After trawling through them all I haven’t found a single one with IE users above 3%. That 3% is for all versions of IE, not just a single version.
As a web designer since 1997, I gleefully celebrate the demise of IE, purely because of all the grief it caused me and many other web devs. I’ve recently removed all the external scripts supporting IE8 and IE9. They no longer justify the bandwidth.
If you’re new to web design be thankful, the early years were bitterly painful and you no longer have to contend with the issues us older web designers had to!