Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) can't slow the market-share decline of its Internet Explorer Web browser.

IE9 is a resounding success, according to Microsoft. According to Net Applications, 9.95% of all Windows 7 users are already using the new browser. Of course, Windows 7 commands just over 25% of the operating-system market, which means that the overall market share of IE9 is rather small.

Net Applications estimates IE9's share at 2.41% for April, up 1.32 points from March. However, IE8 dropped by 1.45 points to 33.64%, IE7 lost 0.55 points to 7.51%, and IE6 dropped 0.24 points to 11.34%. Bottom line, IE lost 0.81 points in April and stands at 55.11%, a new 12-year low.

Net Applications also sees a net loss for Firefox, which was down 0.17 points to 21.63%. Firefox 4 was at 5.43%, up 3.75 points from March. Firefox 3.6 was down 3.66 points. Mozilla apparently has an efficient direct upgrade path in place, even if it seems as if the company loses a few users along the way -- possibly to Chrome.

Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) browser was up 0.37 points to 11.94%, a new record high. It was Chrome's ninth consecutive month of market-share growth. However, Safari grew faster, gaining 0.54 points to 7.15%. Net Applications believes that this growth has to do with the overall growth of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) software platform.

We still can't quite follow Microsoft's product strategy. IE9's main task is to limit the growth of Chrome and regain market share for Microsoft: IE9 and IE10 are critical for the application platform that will arrive with Windows 8, Microsoft needs IE for cloud services such as Office 365, and IE remains an essential tool to prevent users from switching to Google and Chrome -- which locks users to the company's search engine and advertising revenues.

It's good to hear that Microsoft has almost a 10% share through Windows 7, but that is, unfortunately, not good enough -- especially since Chrome is gaining and IE is losing market share.

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