November was the first full month of availability for both Windows 8.1 and OS X 10.9. After the initial surge in October, Windows 8.1 increased its usage share of the Web by fifty percent. OS X 10.9, however, almost tripled its share—bringing Apple’s operating system within spitting distance of Microsoft’s.
In the browser space, the launch of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 (as an automatic update, no less) has seen that browser more than double its share in a month.
The state of the desktop browser market as a whole was largely unchanged in November. Internet Explorer, Safari, and Chrome were up marginally, gaining 0.14, 0.06, and 0.02 points respectively. Firefox and Opera saw slight falls, dropping by 0.16 and 0.03 points, respectively.
The mobile market shows a bit more variation. Chrome continues to pick up steam, gaining 1.48 points. Internet Explorer was also up, adding 0.26 points. BlackBerry was down sharply, falling 0.75 points. Safari was also down a little, falling by 0.17 points.
The migration between Chrome and Firefox versions follows the predictable pattern provoked by those browsers’ automatic updates. The newcomer here is Internet Explorer 11. It made its debut with Windows 8.1, and in November it was released for Windows 7 as an automatic update. Rather than the near-immediate global rollouts of those browsers, Microsoft favors a staggered release for Internet Explorer, with the browser being pushed out on a country by country basis.
The advantage of even this limited automatic updating is immediately clear. Internet Explorer 10 lost 1.44 points in November, and Internet Explorer 11 gained 1.78 points.
Internet Explorer 6 and 7 are slowly declining. Nonetheless, there’s clearly a big Internet Explorer 8 sized problem in Microsoft’s browser strategy. This is the newest version of Internet Explorer that works on Windows XP. Much as Microsoft might wish these users to upgrade to a newer operating system, they plainly haven’t.
In a very practical way, they’re holding back the rest of the Web, and even policies such as Google’s decision to support only the current and previous browser versions on many of its services (meaning that the company only supports Internet Explorer 10 and 11) hasn’t done anything to shift these users. Something needs to be done about the problem, especially with Windows XP itself only having a few more months of security updates available, but it’s not clear what Microsoft’s answer is, or if it even has one.
The operating system share has some surprises. Windows 8’s market share wasn’t growing explosively, but it was at least growing. The release of Windows 8.1—an operating system that’s almost universally superior to Windows 8—should, if anything, have helped stimulate that growth. But that appears not to be the case. The total share between the two operating systems (8 and 8.1) was 9.25 percent in October. In November it had barely grown to 9.30 percent.
The contrast with OS X continues to be striking. OS X 10.9 went from 0.84 percent share in October to 2.42 percent in November. This is still behind Windows 8.1’s 2.64 percent—but not by much.