Internet-connected users around the world. Developing countries like India, China and Brazil have gained hundreds of millions of new netizens, helping Internet Explorer post its first market share gain since July 2010. It now sits at 56.77% of the market, up 0.77%.
Firefox, which has always relied on its stronghold of Europe, has seen its largest loss ever, losing over 1% of its market share in a single month. This is due to Europe's very slow population growth and almost-saturated Internet market: China, for example, gained 100 million new users since the CIA last updated its statistics; the U.K., by comparison, has gained just 3 million.
As far as IE9 goes, it now represents a rather large 2% share of Windows 7 installations. Microsoft tells us that the RC has been downloaded 11 million times since its release three weeks ago, bringing its total number of beta and alpha downloads up to 36 million.
We'll end with a little bit of theorizing (and please chime in, if you have an opposing theory). Why is Internet Explorer the browser of choice in developing countries? Both Firefox and IE have great language/locale support, so it can't be that. It's not that Firefox is unknown in Asia, either -- it's huge in Thailand and Indonesia.
Could it simply be down to piracy? China is notorious for its number of pirate Windows installs, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer even claiming that as 9 in 10 copies of Windows in China are pirated. The numbers seem to bear it out, too: last month, thanks to the updated CIA figures, Windows XP had its smallest market share loss in over a year.