I just noticed that W3Schools put up their December 2008 browser numbers and that gives us this nice graph:
What’s new since my last update?
IE7 is definitely in a plateau that started in May 2008; during that 8 month period, IE7′s market share on W3Schools has never escaped a one percent range between 26 and 27%; that’s amazingly flat!
IE6 has sunk to sub-20% levels (note also the graph based on NetApplications data).
Firefox has pretty much risen to a level where it equals all IE combined (<2% difference).
IE+FF is still >90%; Chrome+Safari+Opera is still <9% (all of those combined are ~99% of the market).
So what should we expect from the W3Schools numbers by the end of next year?
First, IE6 will probably halve in usage (thus to ~10%). That will put it where IE5 was at the start of 2005 (read: obsolete).
Firefox will continue its steady rise and probably end 2009 around 55% though possibly higher depending on how well FF 3.1 (and 3.2? :) goes.
Paradoxically, with each new IE browser release, the total IE share will almost certainly drop; IE7 won’t be doing that much better than it is now and IE8 will start the replacement cycle all over again. As people are forced to confront something new, they will temporarily consider alternatives and some of those people will switch. The current ‘minor’ browsers (Chrome, Safari and Opera) will each gain some market share, though again, it will be interesting to see if any can break out of the ‘minor leagues’. Once the already open-source Chrome is truly cross-platform, that may happen (and I would be glad if it does, since monoculture is a BAD thing).
Update: Note this chart of the browsers used on Ars Technica:
“Firefox’s lead remains unmistakable, and the default browsers for Windows and Mac OS still show their presence. Chrome’s lead over Opera is much more significant at Ars—and widening.”