Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) last month lost the largest amount of usage share in three years, a Web metrics firm said today.

The slide of IE, which dropped 1.8 percentage points to 52.6% during October, came on the heels of a fall of nine-tenths of a point in September. Only IE's November 2008 plummet of more than 2 points was larger, according to data from Net Applications.

In the last three months, IE has lost 3.3 points, or 6% of its total share as of July 31, the biggest three-month drop since October-December 2009.

As has now become rote, Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari were the winners in the browser race in October, boosting their shares by 1.4 and four-tenths of a percentage point, respectively.

Chrome ended October with a 17.6% share, while Safari accounted for 5.4% of all browsers used globally during the month. Both were records in Net Applications' tracking of desktop browser usage share.

Microsoft did not directly address the continued decline of IE today, but instead stuck to the message that it has used for much of the year, that Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) has increased its share on Windows 7, the company's newest operating system.

Full story: Computerworld