Thursday, February 4, 2010

IE’s Enterprise Resiliency: One Explanation

In an earlier posting, we documented how enterprise IT shops were bucking the web browser market share trend by continuing to use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer extensively across their Windows-based client systems. At the time, we speculated that this was due to IE-specific requirements for legacy in-house applications, and that the significant penetration within these shops of both Firefox (50%) and Google Chrome (24%) indicated that users were likely running multiple web browsers on their PCs: IE for internal applications; and one of the popular alternatives for surfing external web sites.

Additional data mining of the exo.repository has revealed that a significant percentage of the systems sampled indeed show evidence of multiple web browsers in use. For example, process records from 31% of the systems sampled show that they run both Internet Explorer and Firefox, while 18% run IE + Chrome. The chart below illustrates this relationship:

Figure 1 – Users Running Multiple Web Browsers

The above data is significant in that it confirms our earlier speculation about possible overlap in browser usage. Furthermore, it serves to challenge the conventional wisdom regarding web browser market share. While IE’s presence across the broader Internet may have declined in recent years, it’s stranglehold on enterprise IT application compatibility, development practices and in-house deployment standards remains as firm as ever.

The above statement is true despite the significant inroads made by Firefox and Google Chrome within the enterprise. While users may continue to install IE alternatives, they’ll do so as supplements to – as opposed to replacements for – Microsoft’s browser. For many IT shops, including those that need to maintain compatibility with legacy IE-specific applications, Internet Explorer will remain the default option for the foreseeable future.

Note: The above statistics were generated from the over 6 billion process records collected from the nearly 23,000 registered, active users. If you’d like more information about the, including how to reproduce the above chart object on your own site or blog, please visit