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IE9: Downloads beat Angry Birds, lag Firefox and Opera

2.3 million hits in perspective

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Microsoft is claiming 2.3 million downloads of Internet Explorer 9 in the first 24 hours since the browser was officially released on Monday.

As is customary among tech vendors releasing download stats, there's no way of validating the numbers' authenticity or assessing what they mean.

Microsoft's stat certainly sounds impressive – as it's no-doubt intended to – largely because it's a "big" number over a short period of time.

Context is king, though, and The Reg is here to serve with some numbers of its own.

IE9 has apparently been downloaded faster than the beta released on September 15 2010, when Microsoft claimed two million downloads over two days. That in itself moved faster than the IE8 beta in August 2008 (1.3 million downloads during the first-five days of that early browser' release).

IE9 is apparently beating the IE9 beta and release candidate combined. The company has claimed 40 million downloads for both. It's been 171 days since the beta, so - based on some simple arithmetic that doesn't account for surge following the codes' immediate availability - that's 235,294 downloads a day for both.

Compared to Apple's Safari 4.0 for Windows released in June 2009, IE9's holding its own. Apple claimed, again without any external verification, that Safari 4.0 landed six million downloads on Windows in its first three days. Again, simple math would put IE9 ahead of Safari 4.0.

IE9 is not as popular as Opera 11 and Firefox 3.0, however. Opera Software in December 2010 claimed 6.7 million downloads for its latest browser on the first day. Mozilla claimed eight million downloads in the first 24-hours following the Firefox 3.0 release in June 2008. But the numbers don't reveal how many were on Windows versus Mac or other platforms.

What about non-browsers? IE9 is beating Angry Birds, the meme phenomenon that hit five million downloads in December, working out at 161,290 downloads a day.

Microsoft's app is beating total downloads for everything from the Mac version of Apple's App Store in January 2011 - a nicely rounded one million according to Cupertino.

But it's lagging behind Nokia's Ovi: the cell pone giant says there are three million daily downloads of apps from its store, although these numbers are questionable. These could include re-downloads of apps that failed to install properly, and Nokia doesn't say if these are free or paid apps.

All of them, however, are blown away by Adobe Software's Flash, resident on most PCs connected to the internet. Adobe claims eight million downloads of the Flash Player on an "average" day. It's not clear who is downloading, why, or how many times.

What have we learned?

IE9 is beating downloads of the pre-release code, which is what you'd expect as testers and early adopters re-download to the finished product. Microsoft doesn't explain how many of these are in the 2.3 million. IE9 is also in the ballpark next to Apple's Safari, App Stores, and some games that are supposedly the "future" of the web.

Microsoft's browser, though, is doing poorly against Firefox and Opera. And nobody beats Flash. ®

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