It's not flat if you tilt it 45 degrees: IE usage share in EU remains steady

Amid reports that Internet Explorer's usage share in Europe is "falling faster than a team of skydiving elephants," an examination of the source of the data being cited reveals the possibility of a separate universe with weightless elephants and an IP address. The latest live statistics from global Web analytics firm StatCounter shows the continuing "weekend dip," where IE usage drops and Firefox usage peaks, as solely responsible for the latest round of victory claims from at least one supporter of Europe's browser choice screen for Windows users.

European usage share for IE on February 1 stood at 45.63%, representing the amount of Web traffic traced to European addresses whose browsers identified themselves as IE. Firefox usage on that day stood at 39.18%. The browser choice screen was unveiled on March 1. As of last Friday, March 19, IE usage share for the continent was charted at 45.77%, with Firefox at 37.9%.
But then came the weekend, when apparently the big cargo bay doors were opened and the elephants were herded out the back. IE usage share dropped to 43.57%, and Firefox share climbed faster than a pack of rocket-propelled wildebeests, to 39.29%.

The entire two-point drop, as is always the case on weekends, is attributable to declining business PC use and increasing home PC use, where installation of the user's choice of browsers is much greater. Firefox's slightly declining overall usage share may perhaps be completely attributed to a steady uptick in adoption of Google Chrome, up almost 2% in Europe during the weekend peak periods since the start of February. Opera's usage share is also increasing, but very, very gradually.

The report that likely fueled the fire for the hyperbolic metaphors cited falling usage share for IE in the UK, France, and Italy. A check of StatCounter's drill-downs for these countries (you can do this yourself by first clicking on the StatCounter link below the chart above) reveals exactly the same phenomenon at play here as for the aggregates: Periodic weekend dips are being interpreted as nationwide trends.

Elsewhere in the world, the falling elephants phenomenon this weekend may possibly be attributable to last Sunday night's House vote on health care reform.

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