For the past few years, it looked like Microsoft's Internet Explorer was well on its way to being usurped by spunky fan favorites. Early on it was Mozilla's Firefox that presented the biggest threat to IE's reign in the browser market, but more recently it's been Google's shiny Chrome browser that appeared to be on its way to the top, perhaps taking the lead this year. But then a funny thing happened. IE's share started to rise while Chrome's has been eroding.
Overall IE usage is up for the second time this year, closing out March 2012 with a 53.83 percent of the browser market, according to data compiled by Net Applications. That's the highest it's been in six months, dating back to September 2011 when IE's share was 54.39 percent.
"With a gain of .99 percent last month and a net gain of 1.2 percent global usage share over the last five months, Internet Explorer has stabilized and even reversed its usage share declines of the last few years," Net Applications noted.
While IE has been slowly reasserting itself as the world's most popular browser, Chrome's share slipped for the third straight month. Chrome closed out March with an 18.57 percent share of the market, down from 18.9 percent in February and 18.94 percent in January. Google's browser has yet to post a gain in 2012.
Firefox, once the biggest threat to IE's browser dominance (and in terms of positioning, it still is), ended March with a 20.55 percent share of the market, down from 20.92 percent one month prior, and down from 22.75 percent from one year ago.