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Number of the Month: July 2014

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Browser market share is an important issue for web developers...

all around the globe, especially since developing for older browsers has made innovation difficult.

When Google introduced Chrome for Windows late 2008 a new competitor for Firefox (Mozilla, all platforms) and Internet Explorer (from Microsoft, only on Windows), the two only browsers with a significant user base, was born. Now Chrome has replaced Internet Explorer as default browser on most computers.

A quick look at this month’s figures will bring joy to front-end developers because Internet Explorer 8 now only holds a 3% market share. These are our own statistics of a high-traffic site in our portfolio: Solo.be. If we look at the public stats on statcounter.com the number even drops to 2.3%.

Internet Explorer 8 is the last of the antique browsers still in use. It was launched in March 2008 and was the last Internet Explorer version to be supported on Windows XP.  In its heyday (in February 2011), it had a 38.3% market share. But a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. IE8 lacks the support of many great innovations and standards. If we no longer have to support IE8, we can finally embrace SVG, CSS3 and Media Queries, things all the other browsers have been doing for ages. And since all recent IE versions come with Auto Update, we will never have to worry about the really old browsers again.

More recent versions of Internet Explorer are still going strong. Stats from Solo.be illustrate that Internet Explorer 9 (4.7%) 10 (3.3%) and 11 (15.5%) currently have a total market share of 23.5%. In comparison: Safari takes the biggest slice of the cake with a 28.7% market share (mostly mobile users) while Chrome, for its part, brings us 27.2% of all our visitors.

So it would make sense for us to discontinue IE8 support this year. Google did so worldwide on November 15th 2012 (almost 2 years ago!), so why won’t we?

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