Little by little, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is losing its market share. While the losses aren’t anything huge, the numbers for April show that it has hit an all time low for any modern version of the browser.  It is now back in the range of what it enjoyed with Internet Explorer 4 in 1999 according to ConceivablyTech.

Lets take a look at how this year is treating the five big browsers thus far.

Jan. 2010 Feb. 2010 March 2010 April 2010
Chrome 5.22% 5.61% 6.13% 6.73%
Firefox 24.43% 24.23% 24.52% 24.59%
Internet Explorer 62.12% 61.58% 60.65% 59.95%
Opera 2.38% 2.35% 2.37% 2.30%
Safari 4.53% 4.45% 4.65% 4.72%

What’s causing this decline?  Well, honestly your guess is as good as ours.  It isn’t like the bottom has fallen completely out, but more than a full percentage point drop for a browser that comes installed on every new Windows-based machine has to say something about people being fed up with it.

chromediscIt does appear Google’s Chrome is getting the majority of the converts, as we also pointed out back in March.  If you look at the data from NetMarketShare, where these numbers come from, and go back even further, it is just a slow battle between these two.  Since the beginning of the year, Chrome has been jumping nearly half a percentage point each month, while IE has been losing more than that, but some of it is going to Firefox and Safari.  If it was only going to Chrome you could say it was marketing on Google’s part, but it seems to me that it is just a slow attrition of people looking for alternatives to IE.

This shakeup in the market doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon, so it will be interesting to watch this over the next few months, but at some point Microsoft is finally going to have to sit up and take notice, or it may find itself too far into a hole it can’t get out of.  The assumption is that we won’t see IE9 until Windows 8 as most major Internet Explorer releases have been tied to a new version of the OS.  It may be time for Microsoft to break with tradition and get something out now as the next version of the operating system isn’t expected for another two years, and that could be well past the point of no return for its browser.

What do you think?  What is causing Internet Explorer to slowly lose so much of its market share?