back to article Microsoft: IE9 not yet 'broadly' available

With Internet Explorer 9 having lost the early download PR war to Firefox 4.0, Microsoft now claims the numbers are unimportant and that it's the "long game" that counts. Senior director of IE business and marketing Ryan Gavin has blogged that IE9 will be "broadly rolled out" through Windows Update at the "end of June" – that' …


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  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Windows 7 Browser Choice

    I'd like to add that on those new PC's that are unfortunate enough to be shipped with Windows 7, and the hapless? user selects IE as their choice of browser they get IE9. No IE8 here boys.

    Why no mention of this then Mr Microsoft Spokesperson?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      I'd say most people are fortunate to get a new PC shipped with windows 7?

      ie9 is also a vast improvement over ie8.

      Your argument has zero merit, go back to your cave, troll.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Up untill now I have always used ie

        At work I am forced to use firefox, as an online tool updates every 3 days.and it takes 2 weeks for the support guys to get round to putting their admin password in.

        However I won't use ie9. I miss my search box, and I don't want a single address / search box. And I hate the chrome look.

        And yes I have tried Chrome, opera, firefox, and ie9.

        My fav is ie8, then firefox, then opera, then there is ie9 and chrome. both of which I hate.

  2. James 20

    Bye bye Microsoft

    Funny what happens when you treat developers, web standards, customers and the whole world with contempt, isn't it?

    Speaking as someone who has spent *days* of frustration developing for MS products, I will be dancing on the grave of Internet Explorer when it finally dies the death it deserves.

    Pretty soon Google will roll out a free desktop OS and then what will Microsoft have left? The X-box?

  3. JDX Gold badge

    Auto update

    Doesn't FF4 prompt users to upgrade as well? Not to mention Chrome which barely even tells you it's doing it.

    Only the techy few will ever voluntarily go to a website and manually download/install a new browser. So insinuating IE9 only gets onto PCs through stealth is just nonsense.

    1. Ragarath

      I was going to say the same thing

      I know of hardly any "users" that go and purposefully download a browser. They just hit the update button when it appears.

      The whole article seems to be based on the fact that the users have done this, but because IE has to wait for WU it is cheating?

    2. Paul M 1


      Yes, that is true... If you conveniently forget that Firefox, Chrome et al are only on their computers because they explicitly chose them in the first place.

    3. KroSha

      FF non-auto-update

      If you are running FF3 and check for new versions, it only checks for a FF3 upgrade. You have to go to Mozilla and download FF4 manually. Once installed, it'll auto-update as normal.

      1. Rob

        I checked through FF3's update button....

        ... and it prompted me to install 4 via it's update facility.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Likewise ...

          ... once the latest 3.* update has been installed a further check will offer you 4. It's always annoyed me that the FF auto update only shows you the next point version and not the latest (presumably something to do with the way they package the partial updates). I always check, update and repeat until there are no updates found.

          On Windows 7, running as a limited user, I have to manually check for updates for FF - they don't happen automatically (reasonable) but I don't get prompted which seems an oversight to me. (Fortunately Secunia PSI can take care of FF patching when there's a security release.)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, it doesn't

      No, Firefox 3 does not automatically update to 4. You need to voluntarily download it, just like IE9 at the moment. Check more carefully next time, like by giving it a try.

    5. Tom 13

      Not necessarily.

      I run FF at work and at home. Neither has prompted me to update to 4. In fact, FF prompted for a dot level update instead of 4. I purposely downloaded and installed 4 at home. And even at prompting, it's nothing like the MS "oh shit what happened to my browser" default update configuration - FF ALWAYS asks if you want to download the update first. At work I use IE and FF in equal proportions. At home I mostly use FF, although I also have Opera and Chrome installed.

      Don't actually care for the new FF look. Maybe it will grow on me over time.

      1. Greg J Preece

        Then change it

        "Don't actually care for the new FF look"

        Only takes a few clicks to get it back to the old look. I'm with you on the look and feel thing, so that's the first thing I did. One of the nice things about Firefox is that you can mess with it until it's how you want it.

  4. Robert E A Harvey


    1.04% for Java ME?


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Accountancy tricks

    So, basically, they'll count each "I'll update it 'cos Windows Update says so, even though I use Firefox/Opera/Chrome on a daily basis" as another satisfied customer?

    1. Greg J Preece

      Two different stats

      The article is really about installation numbers, and in fairness, whether it comes through Windows Update or not, it's still an installation. I've got at least half a dozen browsers on every machine for testing. I might only ever use Firefox on a daily basis, but you can bet Chrome and Opera are including me in their installation stats.

      The ones that really matter, of course, are the web stats showing usage. Those are the ones I'm waiting for. Actually, it's the 31st - IE9's first month should be available shortly.

  6. revdjenk

    ...of course...

    ...I don't plan to update FF4 until it is in my Linux distro's repository (app store). So will Gavin acknowledge that count to be added to FF4, too? (Using chromium usually, anyway.)

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Firefox has an updater too

    I'm tired of reading how Microsoft has an update that'll prompt users to upgrade as if it's some kind of big surprise or case winning argument. Everyone else has those too, Google's Chrome being the most effective. Mozilla's is pretty good too and they have roughly the same number of users on old versions of Firefox across all platforms as Microsoft has users of older IE versions on Windows Vista & 7.

    1. Tom 13

      The huge difference being that despite increasing numbers of MAC and Linux users,

      MS still holds a monopoly position in desktop operating systems. And despite their insistent wailing to the contrary, the BROWSER is not part of the OS. At a minimum, it is unsportsmanlike conduct to leverage your monopoly position in the OS market in the Browser market. In most places it is also illegal as well.

  8. leexgx


    Safari only ended up on windows pcs due to the auto updater that should of only been installing updates for itunes and quicktime, but it also ticked Safari as well and then made it default and is most likely the most insecure browser out of any currently been made

    IE9 currently is not been offered on windows update (last time i checked any way)

    i could only recommend Opera or google chrome (not sure about firefox yet see if they have fixed the performance issues with it on lower end systems)

    1. Geoff Mackenzie

      I've tried FF4 ...

      ... on an EEE 900; I don't really consider it to be a lower end system to be honest, but I suspect most would (Celeron M 900MHz, 512Mb of core) and it starts and runs very nicely on that. FF3.x was definitely a little on the sluggish side (particularly at startup, but not great at rendering big, complicated pages with lots of graphics either).

      Trying it on some of the lower-end systems you have in mind might well be worthwhile. Apologies if I'm encouraging you to waste your time :)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Downloads are not indicitive of market share

    I've updated to both Firefox 4 and IE9 because I don't like having downlevel software.

    But I still use Firefox almost exclusively, so while Microsoft can count my download of IE9, it's not going to translate into market share for them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good point

      I run Opera on Win/Lin and Mac, but I still have all other browsers installed and up to date.

    2. Oliver Mayes

      Same here

      I use Firefox exclusively, I have several other browsers installed as I work in web development and actually bother to check compatability with multiple browsers before making sites live. (Unlike many developers I've come acros over the years).

      So even though I've probably opened IE on my home machine 4 times in the 18 months I've had it (every tiem was to help isolate a rendering issue) Microsoft no doubt count me as a user of their browser. In a few months when Windows Update insists that I update IE they'll probably also count that as an extra user of IE9. Even though I'll probably never even run it.

  10. Anomalous Cowturd

    Hey. listen up guys, I've got a great idea...

    Let's make sure our best ever browser (c) only works on <40% of the world's computers.

    That'll show 'em!

  11. Powerlord

    MS does have a point, however minor

    The only way to get IE9 now is to go to Microsoft's website (either directly or through a search engine), manually download the IE9 installer, and manually install it.

    To get Firefox 4, you just have to go to Help, Check for Updates, and then when the "Firefox 4 is Here!" dialog pops up, click "Get the New Version"

  12. Mark C Casey

    People go with what they know

    IE is being gradually squeezed out of the market. It'll take a fair few more years yet and it will always hold some minor market share due to MS pushing it through their OS, but any kind of real "I want to download a browser" market share has been lost to Firefox and Chrome.

    At work whenever a colleague brings in a laptop from home it isn't IE they're using, it's either Firefox or Chrome. Whereas before it was almost always IE.

    MS simply are not trustworthy as a browser maker, the moment they ever get into a commanding position they'll sit on their hands and do nothing. Better they have a tiny market share or none at all and leave it to the people who know how to advance the web.

  13. benzaholic

    FF users actively choose to update

    This is where MS gets to play stupid numbers games.

    Sure, they may have more installed copies of IE9 than of FF4 after Windows update, but how many of those IE9 installs will have been consciously chosen, and how many of _those_ will have taken it just to shut Windows Update up, but not intend to actually use IE9?

    Granted, FF will certainly have some popups to try to get existing users to upgrade, but that's probably not as compelling as how MS sli-i-ides things like this into "critical" automatic updates.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      At the moment, all installs of IE9 are done by manually downloading it from MS' web site. However every time firefox updates, the updates are given to you automatically when you load it.

      IE9 will eventually be on Windows update, but then again firefox either updates itself or can be obtained automatically from a repo.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Wrong! How many times?

        I'm running FF4 at home because I actively wanted to try it out.

        Firefox only prompts for point releases - and it always asks.

        At work I'm still running FF3. There is a link to update to FF4 in the 'check for updates' thing - but I'll only see that if I actively click Help > Check for Updates. It doesn't turn up by default, unlike point releases which I've set to download automatically.

  14. Colin Guthrie

    Just curious...

    ...what proportion of Firefox's updates were automatic ones initiated by the browser itself? If you compared the *manual* Firefox downloads to the IE9 downloads that might be a fairer comparison?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      FF4 is amanual update

      You have to check for an update then choose to install it. ther eis no auto notification.

  15. unitron

    Have ye heard o' the interwebs, laddie?

    Shouldn't that be

    Have ye no' heard o' the interwebs, laddie?

  16. Andrew Norton

    Well, I didn't know about IE9 being available

    .. until I read about it here in the Reg, as thy were going on about download numbers compared to Mozilla's download numbers. I know about Firefox4 being released, because Mozilla's spending their millions on making sure everyone knows. AND because every time a new beta came out, the reg was quick to point it out.

    I installed betas of both back in September. but I'd not really used them much in recent months (Opera11 and Chrome are much faster). So end of last week, I decided to benchmark them. I even managed to benchmark the betas against them. It was a little bit of a struggle to find the final release of IE9 in fact (if you went to the download site using hte beta, it assumed you had the final). Meanwhile, I restarted Firefox4 beta7 after doing the benchmarks to go look at the IE site, and it had magically upgraded for me, without even asking.

    So by 'widely available' perhaps they're talking about mass downloads. If you have the IE9 beta, you can't get the full. If you have the Firefox4 beta, you are almost forced into getting the full. It's two different approaches, that maybe reflect the differing download totals.

    After I did those two main browsers, I then went on and did a bunch of others, some old ones for reference, and then every client on the page

    1. Anomalous Cowturd

      Thanks Andrew.

      You put a lot of work into that comparison.

      Have a pint on me.

      1. Andrew Norton


        But since I moved to the US 8 years ago, and to the bible-belt at that, I don't have the ability any more (only time was in 2007) but I appreciate the sentiment.

        Since this is the 3rd (or 4th - i don't remember) time I've done it, I am getting more streamlined. And I'm working on windows7-based tests right now as well. And I just realised, I forgot to add the links to the sunspider results in the data table.

        I'm also going to write up a page with aggrigated results from all the tests, so that you can see clearly how IE, or firefox or Chrome has progressed, and how different versions compare over time.

    2. Tom 13

      Were you sick for a week or something?

      El Reg has been as ruthlessly covering the IE9 betas as they have been FF. Every time MS had another marketing shindig, someone from El Reg was there for the free food even though they knew they wouldn't be able to kick the tires on IE9. And they dutifully reported the same back on the website. And they announced it when it finally came out as well. FF got the same treatment even without the free food. Every time the flogged another test phase, El Reg flogged them for taking so darn long in development. And then dutifully announced its release, warts and all.

      1. Andrew Norton


        I'm just not a frequent Reg reader any more. 10 years ago, it was 'refresh every few hours'. today I'll pop by every few days, maybe. Part of it is the new editorial direction Andrew's taking things.

        I also did a quick search of the site, for IE9 against firefox 4, They both got a 'look to have feb release' piece, and both got a release piece, but apart from a few 'standards' based pieces that concerned multiple browsers, and a 'no track' piece, thats been about it since September, when there was a 'first look' and a 'review' of the beta. There were four more beta's between then and release.

        Firefox, by comparison, got a post about the release candidate on march10th. Beta12 pieces on feb 25 and feb26, oh and feb 21.Beta11 feb 8th. Beta10 on jan25 with a followup on feb3. Jan 17 beta9, Beta7 on November 10...

        Thats 9 pieces for Mozilla, to IE's 2. Hardly what I'd call "the same treatment"

  17. Graham Marsden
    Gates Horns

    "Microsoft now claims,,,

    "...the numbers are unimportant and that it's the "long game" that counts."

    In other words, as they always do, they're shifting the goalposts and trying to redefine the rules...

  18. Ilgaz

    They live in dream land

    Firefox, even if they add crazy things like neural networking, is a self contained browser which can be easily upgraded or downgraded.

    As IE is part of the OS, no sane person will hurry until a meaningful release (without version trickery!) iike 9.1. A lot, real lot software and sites depend on IE, especially Intranets.

    If these braindead didn't tie it to OS, if it was like mac IE; which was wasted because it is better, people would update without second thought.

    In fact if it didn't also have security bulletin attached, I wouldn't hurry with Safari updates on OSX too. I mean I wouldn't jump from 4 to 5.

  19. unitron

    Of course they disguise it as an update to Windows...

    They have to do it that way because many if not most IE users are those who don't know that they can use a browser other than the one that came with Windows, and that no, it's not really a part of the operating system.

    Since I've used the "horned" Bill Gates icon once already today, I'll give it a rest and just get my coat.

  20. chris lively

    MS has nothing to worry about...

    FF4 is a real piece of crap. It crashes (early and often), is a monster memory hog, and in quite a few ways is SLOWER than other top level browsers. About the only good thing I can say is that it can display a web page...

    So what if Mozilla released first. Personally I think FF4 is Mozilla's "Vista". Sure it has a different look, but it's a beast that should have been shot before going wild.

    MS: Take your time and do it right. Initial release numbers really don't matter.

    As for me, I'm one of the 7+ million that promptly uninstalled it and downgraded back to 3.6.

    1. Chika

      FF4 slow?

      Not sure that I can agree with you completely there. I have FF4 running under Windows 7 and openSUSE 11.4 and both run fine. No resource or memory hogging, runs reasonably compared with other browsers I use. I suspect that the problem you have is probably related to what you are running it on or with, which may be analagous to your "Vista" reference, but maybe not.

      I do agree with the idea of taking time with releases though. There is too much pressure from marketing types on all sides to put something out, even if it isn't ready, which is why you end up with crap like Vista, ME and so forth.

  21. HMB


    I've endured pain at the hands of IE, but some of these comments are very fanboi.

    IE9 is a huge step forward and doesn't require any hacks to get standard code working on it. This is a huge leap forward. The sooner IE9 usurps another IE install on a computer, the better for the entire web as web designers raise the lowest common denominator.

    There's this idea that chrome prompts the user to update. It does not. It does it silently without asking. Sure you can get a prompt if you've not restarted it in ages, but who is going to keep 100% uptime to maintain a browser version, seriously? I think this is the best strategy for the web personally.

    Windows 7 share (by trend, look it up on is increasing in a linear fashion as XP falls. It will just be a question of time before it completely replaces XP.

    If I was Microsoft, I wouldn't support XP either. Continued use of XP just makes Microsoft look like a Dinosaur. If Windows 7 hadn't of come out I'd have probably have switched to Ubuntu. XP is very tired.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: "as web designers raise the lowest common denominator."

      And part of the "fanboi" criticism is that by definition, IE9 can have no affect on the "LCD" because the LCD is [b] still [/b] IE6 which was not available for Vista or Windows, and IE9 won't run on XP.

  22. MarkOne

    Microsoft PR.

    I have intentionally avoided downloading IE9 (it's only used as my backup browser on WIndows, Opera 11 being my preferred choice), I don't want Microsoft using my downloads in their PR statistics.

    Someone out to tell Microsoft, that because they bundle IE as part of Windows, Downloads DOES NOT EQUAL USERS....

  23. Mage Silver badge

    IE10 and Win8

    Maybe Win7 will never overtake XP, as it will be bypassed by Win8.

    The mix of IE8 + IE9 will be bypassed at same time by IE10

    As to what Linux, OSX or OS11, Chrome OS, Android, WebOS, QNX etc will be doing by then, or what Firefox, Opera, Safari or Chrome will be doing?

    I have not yet updated to FF4. maybe next week.

    I'd expect a big number of FF 3.6 users to upgrade to FF4 once they are satisfied nothing bad is happening to early adopters.

    Can we have a Kittens Icon as well as Badgers as the Interweb obviously runs on Kittens.

    1. Ooo-wait-BUT!
      Paris Hilton

      we already have a badgers icon

      see icon :o)

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Who cares....

    ....really, who cares.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Enable IE9 to run on Windows XP...

    ...and MS might get a few more takers.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Gorilla ...

    It's odd to watch the slow 'shrinkage' of the 800lb gorilla in the room, too big and unwieldy to change quickly, too assured of it's own power to pay much attention to competition before it's too late.

    Lets see, microsoft late to the party on:

    Mobile devices

    Online music services

    Tablet devices

    Browser technology

    They keep relying on the installed user base as an excuse to ignore the obvious - they are being resoundly trounced in the online market, the mobile market & the entertainment market.

    It's been a slow decline, microsoft still hold a massive amount of sway in many areas, but they're not the company they used to be, hardly suprising, considering the numpty that's in the driving seat - the great denialist. He tries to 'spin reality' like Jobs does, but he doesn't have the figures to carry it off.

    1. Chika


      They were late to the market on much more than the above...

      The biggest problem is that Microsoft seldom has good ideas of its own and often get in late because someone else has created the market. Xbox? Windows Mobile? Windows? All ideas that have some form of predecessor. They only get into the market afterwards seemingly because they believe that they can cash in on their brandname.

  27. Martijn Otto

    2.3 million downloads huh?

    How many of those would be developers downloading IE9 into a virtualbox (because they run linux of course) so that they can test if the new Monster of Redmond won't break their sites yet again?

  28. Zobbo

    Not easy to install

    I tried installing it at work, even though our PC's are up to date it refused to work. The hoops you have to jump through just to download the browser are ridiculous - downloading FF or Chrome is so much easier.

  29. dave 46

    Aren't they both effectively beta?

    And take up of beta software just shows how many geeks and developers you have on board?

    If you're looking to declare a winner in some new battle of the great browser wars you've got a while to wait yet.

  30. Pascal Monett Silver badge


    Now that the race to be the best in the short term is lost, MS decides to bank on Auto-Update to reverse the situation in the medium term.

    And that could work, for there are certainly Win7 PCs without Firefox that MS can push IE9 to.

    Still, whatever numbers come out of MS now concerning IE9 "adoption" will oficially be due to Auto-Update, not to personal useage, meaning that a number of people with Win7/Firefox (like me) will probably be counted by MS in the IE9 camp because of Auto-Update statistical shenanigans.

    In other words, MS has always lied, is lying now and always lie.

    Business as usual, in other words.

  31. Mint Sauce

    IE9 broke my interwebs

    IE9 sneaked itself onto my W7 box and actually I quite liked the newer interface. However it refused to work with both a Cisco VPN, and an Aviosys IP camera server. Both times reporting errors that the host was not responding or somesuch. After wasting an hour fiddling with internet settigns I solved the problem by uninstalling it and reverting to IE8.

    FF4 and Chromium both continued to work so I guess IE9's 'improved security' is a bit too overzealous sometimes. In standard Microsoft fashion, the Help was no Help at all...

  32. Ian Thomas

    Give it a chance

    Most of the people who are likely to download a browser without prompting won't be using IE as their main browser, so it's not surprising that marketshare hasn't rocketed.

    Give the corporations a chance to roll it out to their desktops and let Microsoft push out an update for non-technical folks and it'll start seeing some more significant gains.

    Oh, by the way, there was a blog post on complaining about exactly this sort of article written about Firefox. His complaint was that they were comparing direct downloads of Firefox 4 with auto-updates of Firefox 3.6.

  33. thesykes

    Chrome installs

    How many Chrome installs are there due to Google's bundling of it with some versions of Google Earth? The latest version gives you the option to not install Chrome, but, it's not so long ago that it was not optional.

    1. Tom 13

      Fewer than there were people who said

      "Ooh, look! A new browser to try."

    2. Andy Livingstone

      No thanks

      With Google Updater scheduling itself for every hour, sorry but not for me.

  34. georgeclooneylookalike

    just because doesn't mean you use it. I downloaded IE9 just to see what a crock of shit it was compared to Opera (and to see how many features I have had with Opera for ages have been pinched by M$)

  35. Citizen Kaned


    IE9 is a dropped bollock.

    we run winxp here (i have a win7 machine though) and there is no way we will be moving to win7 any time soon. for our business it offers nothing new.

    the fact that winxp is still massively popular means IE9 will never really do that well. every other browser maker seems to realise they shouldnt be ruling out winxp.

    with all the IE bashing i expect that all other browsers all work as expected eh? firefox manages to reinstall addons you have deleted, chrome decides whether or not to remember certain passwords and often cant be arsed to spell check even if you have it enabled. oh, and lets not forget browser sniffing used to not work for opera as they couldnt set it up right.

    personally i use chrome for speed. and ie a fair bit for all the intranet development i do.

    there never has been a 'great' browser, they all fail spectacularly in certain places.

  36. MikeHuk

    It was actually 10 million

    If you count the automatic updates for people who were beta testing Firefox 4 it was 10 million in 24 hours. Another point is that as far as market share is concerned I'm sure a lot of people download all the browsers as new releases are available. I have IE 9, FF 4, chrome 10 and Opera 11 but my browser of choice is Firefox 4. In practice I find very little difference in speed in any of them, they are all fast enough not to notice the difference.



    i downloaded the beta of ie9 on my mothers pc and it was fine but i hardly used it i just wanted to see what had changed. then i downloaded the final version from windows update and guess what happend yep it said it was restarting her pc but instead it shutdown and wouldnt power back on but me mother figured how to get it back on buy pushing 3 buttons on top of the desktop aswell as the power button. so all in all ie9 sucks i am never going back to ie if thats how microsoft treat there customers

  38. Anonymous Coward


    Here we go again. IE sucks FF is the best. OK fanboys we get the bloody message. Now please shut the f*** up unless you have something new, interesting or genuinely constructive to say.

    Either that or El Reg please don't allow comments on any article about sodding web browsers.

  39. JDX Gold badge


    You life must be rather empty that you avoid downloading something just for that reason.

    Mozilla and MS will both move the goalposts to fit whatever the data is, it's political not technical. And downloads are irrelevant, usage share is the important thing

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