Apple's Safari last month posted its biggest increase ever in usage share, beating perennial champion Chrome in the gain game, Web metrics vendor Net Applications said today.
The browser bundled with Apple's revenue troika of Mac, iPhone and iPad boosted its share by six-tenths of a point, its largest one-month increase, enough to put it at 8.1% for July, a record.
According to Net Applications, iOS devices like the iPhone accounted for more than a third of Safari's browser share.
But while Safari climbed -- something it's done 17 straight months -- Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) dropped by nine-tenths of a percentage point, its biggest decline since January 2011, and ended July at 52.8%, a new low for the browser.
If IE's decline continues at the pace of the last three months, it would fall under the important psychological line of 50% in November.
Google's Chrome was the only browser other than Safari to improve share in July, growing by three-tenths of a percentage point to finish the month at 13.5%. That keeps it on track to break the 15% bar by October.
Both Mozilla's Firefox and Opera Software's Opera lost ground, slipping two-tenths and one-tenth of a point, respectively, adding to those browsers' long-standing problems.
Firefox, which kicked off a rapid-release schedule in late June that will result in a new version every six weeks, now accounts for 21.5% of all browsers, more than three points down from its peak in November 2009.
With just 1.7%, Opera is in share territory it last saw in December 2007.
Net Applications attributed IE's continued tumble to desertions by users running Windows XP. But it's a different story on Windows 7, said Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Net Applications, noting that when all versions of IE are combined, Microsoft's total share of the Windows 7 market actually increased by two-tenths of a point to 54.8%.
"There are indications that [Microsoft's] strategy is working," said Net Applications early Monday, referring to the Redmond, Wash. developer's decision to not support IE9 on XP, and instead focus on Windows 7.
Lately, Microsoft has not been shy about disparaging Windows XP, most recently telling customers, "It's time to move on" and leave the decade-old operating system behind.