Within just two days, more than two million people have downloaded the beta version of Microsoft’s newest Internet browser.
That’s a pretty fast adoption rate, especially among an experimental version of a browser that users need to intentionally download.
The IE 9 beta site has clocked in more than nine million unique viewers, which is also pretty impressive but it means only about 20% of the people who go there end up downloading it.
“All in all, we are encouraged about the very early response to the IE9 release this past week,” said product manager Roger Capriotti in an official Microsoft blog post.
Internet Explorer still has a majority market share in the browser world, but its once chokehold on the market has dwindled to the point where it controls only about 60% of all browser usage. Firefox continues to grow as does the newest player, Google’s Chrome. Continued growth for Apple with the release of Safari on Windows, and of course the iPad, is also taking bites away from IE.
That’s why IE 9 may be the most important release of the legacy browser to date. It needs to do more than just keep up with the times. It need to innovate; it needs to give users a reason to switch, or switch back, to Internet Explorer.
It’s one of the sleekest browsers on the Internet, the amount of real estate devoted to the actual website content is huge and a sure appeal for many. There’s not a lot of functionality that IE9 is bringing to the table for the first time, but if it can make Firefox and the others look less special, then it wins.