According to NetMarketShare, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has finally fallen below 50% in the browser war. The data shows that Internet Explorer now owns 49.58% of the browser market share for web traffic. For the first time, Internet Explorer has dropped below 50%. To illustrate the free-fall, Internet Explorer owned 64.6% of the desktop browser market share alone in November 2009.

Firefox and Google Chrome continue to rise, with 21.20% and 16.59% of the browser market share respectively. Even though Apple continues to sell more and more mobile devices with its Safari browser, the company only holds 8.54% of total browser usage.

The difference in browser share could be due to applications being available on the Firefox and Chrome platforms, whereas Internet Explorer seems stale at this point.

With more Google devices shipping with Chrome and Chrome OS, you can expect the market share for Chrome to rise dramatically in 2012. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer will more than likely continue to plummet.

Internet Explorer may be struggling but Microsoft’s Hotmail is growing… thanks to the iPhone.