The open source Apache Web Server is starting to lose its dominance to Microsoft.
Internet research and security services firm Netcraft is now reporting that across the nearly 717 million websites it has surveyed this month, Apache serves 46.96 percent of them.
To understand the significance of that figure you have to realise that is the first time that Apache's share has fallen below 50 percent since December, 2009. In the good old days of November, 2005, Apache held the internet server market in a vice-like grip with a 71 percent market share.
Eweek said it initially thought Apache's numbers were declining against open-source upstart nginx.
Nginx has been making friends and influencing people recently, but looking at Netcraft numbers, Apache is losing share not to nginx, but rather to Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS).
From July to August, Microsoft gained 3.10 percent, while ngnx gained 0.96 percent.
While Microsoft is gaining, its total web server market share for the month of August currently stands at 22.75 percent, so it's still less than half the market that Apache commands but, unlike Apache, it is growing.
In August, Microsoft IIS has gained 0.84 percent, to hold an 11.78 share of all active sites. In contrast, Apache lost 0.92 percent and still holds an industry-leading 53.62 percent active site share.
Microsoft's success appears to have been down to hosting vendor GoDaddy which moved 25 million sites from Apache on Linux to Microsoft's IIS 7.5
It's still way too early to write Apache's obituary. After all, it is the largest web based server software, however, it does look like the signs of the prophets are written on the subway walls.
Microsoft IIS could overtake Apache in the same way as IE overtook Netscape, although at a much slower pace.