"With a gain of .99 percent last month and a net gain of 1.2 percent global usage share over the past five months, Internet Explorer has stabilized and even reversed its usage-share declines of the last few years," Web metrics firm Net Applications noted in its publication of the March web usage share results.
As is so often the case, a picture is worth a thousand words. Net Applications provides the following graph that highlights the trends in web browser usage over the past six months:
As ever, Microsoft is highlighting its successes with the most recent IE version, IE 9, running on the most recent Windows version, Windows 7. In a post to its Exploring IE Blog, Microsoft Director Roger Capriotti says that IE 9 is outpacing rivals on Windows 7 by a very wide margin.
"We continue to see great strides made against our core metric: IE 9 share on Windows 7," he writes. "This month in the US nearly 50 percent of Windows 7 users are experiencing the best the web has to offer with IE 9." According to the Net Applications numbers published by Microsoft, IE 9 is responsible for 48.8 percent of US-based web traffic from Windows 7, compared with 14.6 percent for Google Chrome and 11.6 percent for Mozilla Firefox.
Looking at the worldwide figures, IE 9 still has a commanding lead: 34.5 percent compared with 21.2 percent for Chrome and 13.3 percent for Firefox.
"Internet Explorer has reached an inflection point," a Microsoft representative told me. "This month we launched our television ad and set up a fun Tumblr site to showcase just how far IE has come. We are starting to see the results of a revitalized Internet Explorer, a brand that has gotten its groove back ... it is clear that a shift is occurring."
Indeed, in just the first three months of 2012, IE has grown from 51.87 percent usage share to 53.8 percent, growth of about 2 percentage points. Meanwhile, usage in both Chrome and Firefox has fallen in that same time frame by about a half percentage point each. Before the start of 2012, IE had been on a lengthy and slow downward trend.