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Microsoft's browser share dips below 60 percent

Continuing its years-long slide, Internet Explorer is now being used by fewer than three in five Internet connections, Net Applications says.

Internet Explorer's market share dipped again in April, falling below 60 percent as Chrome and Firefox gained. Net Applications

Microsoft's browser market share continued to fall in April, with Internet Explorer now in use for fewer than three in five Web connections.

IE's share of the market in April was 59.95, down from 60.65 percent in March, according to Net Applications. Google's Chrome grabbed the lion's share of that, increasing to 6.73 percent from 6.13 percent, while Firefox also gained nearly a tenth of a percentage point, to finish April with 24.59 percent.

The decline for IE at the expense of Google and Mozilla is the continuation of several years of market share losses for Microsoft. In May 2008, Microsoft had 75.94 percent of the market, while Firefox had 18.3 percent and Google's Chrome wasn't even out yet.

Even a year ago, Microsoft's market share was nearly 8 percentage points higher. Since then, Google, Mozilla, and Apple have all further eroded Internet Explorer's share of the market.

For some time now, Microsoft has said it hopes to better compete in the browser market. At the Mix 2010 event in March, Microsoft released a technical preview for Internet Explorer 9, which will user a Windows PC's graphics horsespower to aid graphics and text rendering. In recent days, though, much of the attention on IE9 has been around Microsoft's announcement that the browser's built-in HTML 5 video support will be limited to the H.264 codec.

Microsoft IE general manager Dean Hachamovitch responded to criticism of that decision in a blog post on Monday, saying that H.264 offers a "more certain" path than other formats.

"Relative to alternatives, H.264 maintains strong hardware support in PCs and mobile devices as well as a breadth of implementation in consumer electronics devices around the world, excellent video quality, scale of existing usage, availability of tools and content authoring systems, and overall industry momentum--each an important factor that contributes to our point of view," he said. "H.264 also provides the best certainty and clarity with respect to legal rights from the many companies that have patents in this area."