"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated," says Internet Explorer, as Microsoft's default Windows web browser regains some of the market share previously lost to its major competitors Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

All versions of Internet Explorer combined together have gained a percentage point from December's market share of 51.87% to 52.96% in January 2012. Meanwhile, both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox slid down a bit. Firefox' market share shrank from 21.83% to 20.88%, while Chrome's slid from 19.11% to 18.94%. Safari likewise lost some market share, from 4.97% in December last year to 4.90%. These are according to figures released by NetMarketShare.

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IE Still Dominant Among Windows Users ...

Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 gets credit for helping boost market share for this still dominant, but ailing, operating system, which may be attributed to the increase in sales of Windows 7-powered computers. IE9 is now the primary web browser for Windows 7 users, with 36.2% share of Windows 7 machines.

Learning Opportunities

Aside from simply gaining ground due to a growing Windows 7 installed base, though, Microsoft also attributes this increase in market share to the demand for a "modern browser" experience, which requires compatibility with the latest web technologies, such as HTML5. For one, Microsoft has recently partnered with content providers to bring out games and other apps meant for HTML5-capable browsers, such as a Web version of Cut The Rope.

... But Chrome Still Rules

However, if we break down today's popular web browsers by their individual versions, Google Chrome 15 is still the most popular browser, having surpassed Internet Explorer 8 late last year. Do note that Google pushes updates to its Chrome users, which means most (if not all) Chrome users are up-to-date.

In terms of the web browser competition, it's still anybody's game. Windows may come shipped with Internet Explorer 9, although advanced users and web developers have expressed a preference for alternatives such as Chrome and Firefox. And with mobile devices -- such as tablets and smartphones -- gaining traction as web-browsing devices, expect the browser landscape to change further, in terms of market share.