Netcraft's latest numbers on web server market share are out, and show a sharp drop for Microsoft IIS. The June survey shows a decline of more than 7.8 million sites on IIS, dropping Microsoft's server marker share from 28.3 percent to 24.8 percent, a drop of 3.5 percent.
The falloff is even more dramatic in active sites, a separate metric Netcraft uses to differentiate between parked domains and actual web sites. Microsoft's share of active sites plunged 7.6 percent in the June survey to 28 percent.
What's behind the decline? Netcraft cites "a reduction of activity at Microsoft Live Spaces," the company's free blogging platform. The numbers obviously aren't good news for Microsoft's cloud ambitions, especially in light of continued gains for Google, which saw its market share jump 1.3 percent as it added sites on its Blogger service. The Chinese blogging service qq.com has also shown extraordinary growth in the Netcraft survey in recent months, and now hosts more than 30 million sites.
Free blogging platforms have been a growing factor in the Netcraft survey in recent years. Gains at Live Spaces helped Microsoft steadily improve its server market share between March 2006 and October 2007. A migration to Windows by domain registrars Go Daddy also helped Microsoft gain ground on the open source Apache web server.
Microsoft's advocates have often asserted that Windows fares far better in the enterprise than is reflected in the Netcraft survey. A rival survey from Port 80 briefly tried to establish a competing metric that was more favorable to Microsoft's footprint, but it looks like the Port 80 data hasn't been updated since 2007.
Progress at Live Spaces may not be the metric Microsoft prefers as a benchmark for its progress in cloud computing. But for now, its one more data point where Microsoft is struggling and Google's momentum continues.