That's 84 million browsers that were not IE being downloaded by
users who otherwise presumably would have used IE. After all, if they already
knew about the other browsers and knew how to download them, they wouldn't need
a browser screen.
There are companies who track web browser
use via web analytics services (web sites use third parties to audit their
traffic so they can bill their advertisers). HTTP headers contain information on
what web browser someone used to visit a web site, and some of those web
analytics companies make summaries of that information public. We can look at
that data to see if there were any changes in web browser usage over the time
period in question.
Here's some popular data from Statcounter
Global Stats. This data covers Europe from July 2008 (the earliest they
have) up to February 2013 (the newest they have). If we look at the line for
Microsoft IE, what we see is a steady decline throughout that whole period.
There was no recovery or even slowing of the decline between May 2011 to July
2012 (the period when the browser ballet was not working). Indeed, by May 2012,
MS IE had fallen to third place behind Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. In the
time since, MS IE has continued to decline, with MS IE versions 9 and 10 having
no apparent ability to halt or even slow the decline.
If we look at the
actual data, we can't in fact see influence from the browser ballet. MS IE
market share declined steadily before the browser ballet, it declined at the
same rate while the browser ballet was initially in effect, it declined at the
same rate while the browser ballet was "suspended", and it continued to decline
at the same rate when the browser ballet was enabled again.
words, the presence or absence of the browser ballet had no visible effect on
how many people used MS IE. Nothing Microsoft has been able to do in the past 5
years or more has been able to slow their seemingly inexorable fall in market
share. Indeed, the "technical difficulty" in the browser ballet system has been
helpful to people who are analysing the market because it shows that browser
users simply don't want MS IE and seem to be able to choose for themselves what
Any readers in the USA, need to realize that their own local
experience doesn't apply to Europe. The equivalent graph for the USA shows that
MS IE being the number 1 browser throughout the same period, although it does
show a similar overall steady decline. In other words, Americans seem to be in
love with MS IE (although less so now than earlier), but Europeans never liked
it very much and were much more willing to use a different browser without any
prompting by the EU. All these arguments about "the average person only knows
how to click on the big blue 'E' button" may apply to the USA, but they simply
weren't true for Europeans.
Here's the raw data for anyone who wants to
analyse it themselves. This data covers Europe
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