Microsoft’s venerable Internet Explorer browser lost its majority position last month, according to a Web metrics vendor, falling under the 50 percent bar for the first time since it thrashed Netscape Navigator and assumed control of the browser market.

By the estimates of Irvine, Calif.-based Net Applications, Internet Explorer (IE) ended 2015 with a user share — a measurement of unique visitors to the websites of the company’s clients, and one of the few proxies for real-world browser adoption — of 48.6 percent. That was a drop of 1.5 percentage points from November, the largest one-month contraction in IE’s share since October 2011.

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