Microsoft also continued to tout the continued decline of IE6, the 2001-era browser that shipped with Windows XP the same year.
"We've been talking for awhile now about getting IE6 down to zero," said Roger Capriotti, the director of IE product marketing, in a video clip posted to the browser's blog . "Obviously it takes time to do that, but the trajectory looks great."
IE6 fell to 11.4% in January, a drop of 1.6 percentage points, its largest decline since August 2009. The newer IE7 fell half a point to 8.3%.
But Microsoft has historically been unable to retain all the users who ditched older editions. At the pace over the last 12 months, IE will become a minority browser by this time next year, Vizzaccaro said. "Microsoft is 10-12 months away from worrying about that," he said.
The timetable is tighter if the accelerated pace of the last three months is an indicator. In the last 90 days, IE has lost 3.2 points, which if sustained would push the browser under the 50% mark this July.
Net Applications also noted that Apple's iOS operating system climbed above 2% for the first time, showing that fears of iPad and iPhone cannibalization of Mac desktops and laptops may be unfounded.
"Clearly, iOS and Mac OS can co-exist," said Vizzaccaro.
Net Applications calculates browser usage share from data acquired from the 160 million unique visitors who browse approximately 40,000 Web sites it monitors for clients. The company's January browser data is available on its site.
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