Latest statistics from StatCounter shows that Internet Explorer 6 has finally dropped to a less than 5 percent share in the US. The browser which first released in 2001 has sunk to just over 4.6 percent in May 2010. It accompanies an even faster decline from IE 7, whose market share dropped to 16.6 percent. Only IE8 gained share among Microsoft’s browsers, crossing the 30 percent mark for the first time to reach 30.5 percent of use.

The IE platform as a whole dropped very slightly in the last month to reach 51.9 percent and was mostly affected by Chrome. Google’s browser grew from 7.7 percent of the field in April to nearly 8.1 percent in May. Other alternative browsers stayed flat or declined, as Firefox fell to 29.3 percent and Safari was virtually steady at 9.1 percent.

Similar patterns played out worldwide, but IE6 share is still a factor for some web developers as developing countries were still likely to have many more older computers or to have skipped on browser upgrades. IE8 only just overtook IE6 in Asia, where the older app still has 20.8 percent of the market. Africa is witnessing the effect as well, as IE6 and IE8 are only just now on the verge of trading places.

The 9-year-old browser has increasingly been seen as a liability for the web as its relatively inaccurate browsing has often forced web developers to limit features or spend extra time checking compatibility. Security has also been an issue, as later Internet Explorer versions have had both fewer exploits and more features to help guard against phishing or other common browser security breaches.

Link to stat counter