Microsoft started to automatically upgrade Internet Explorer users on a variety of Windows editions earlier this year. The "silent" upgrades debuted in Australia and Brazil initially in January, and the software maker is gradually rolling them out to other countries throughout 2012.

As expected, the automatic updates appear to be affecting the usage share in Australia and Brazil, with Internet Explorer 9 gaining percentage points in both countries, corresponding with a dip in Internet Explorer 8 usage. Statistics from StatCounter show a particularly sharp increase of Internet Explorer 9 usage in February, following the auto-upgrade in January. Although Internet Explorer 8 usage appears to be dropping in favour of IE9, older versions such as IE6 and IE7 remained largely untouched — something that Microsoft will need to address if it wants to continue pushing Internet Explorer 6 usage down.