Since the release of Internet Explorer 9 earlier this year, the browser landscape has continued to change rapidly. In early 2012 Internet Explorer 10 will be released — the second IE release in about a year — with a number of important advancements. Firefox will have fully adopted the same release cycle as Google Chrome with version 6 and 7 due by years end. Firefox 6, due August 16th, will be the third version of Firefox released this year! Browsers are getting released early and often and upgrades are now automatic in Chrome and Firefox, often without the user's knowledge.
Often overlooked in the hype over the browser wars is the role that the OS plays in all of this. Windows 7 is now the most popular OS in the United States; it passed Windows XP in April. It's set to become the number one operating system in the world sometime in October or November this year. Many commentators chastised Microsoft for not releasing a version of IE9 for Windows XP but that doesn't seem to have been a bad strategy for Microsoft. IE9 is already making impressive market share gains although Windows XP is likely to be a major operating system on the worldwide market for some time, it will likely still have around 30% market share by the time of the 2012 presidential elections. That means that the long tail of decline for the older IE versions is likely to be kept alive by the stubborn decline of Windows XP.