Despite last month's promising debut of Internet Explorer 9, the world's most popular browser has fallen below 50% for the first time, according to StatCounter.

StatCounter Global Stats, which looks browser market share by browser and not by version, shows Internet Explorer occupying just below 50%, down from nearly 60% a year ago.

StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen said that "this is certainly a milestone in the Internet browser wars," noting that just two years ago, IE dominated the browser market with 67%. In the time since, however, both Chrome and Firefox have grabbed large pieces of the market.

When you look at the browser wars on a more regional level, IE is still above 50% in North America, while it has dropped as low as 40% in Europe. In Asia, IE is even more dominant, with nearly 60% of the market. Almost universally, Firefox holds a strong position in second place. Worldwide, Chrome holds the third spot easily, though the browser battles it out with Safari in North America.