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Firefox regains some lost browser share ground

Chrome's market share hits 6%, IE unaffected by EU ballot, says NetApplications

April 2, 2010 03:58 PM ET

Computerworld - Firefox last month regained some of the ground it's lost since November 2009, but the open-source software is only holding on at this point in the face of a surging Chrome, a researcher said today.

"Firefox is just holding steady," said Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice president of NetApplications.com, a California-based Web metrics firm. "In the last six months, it hasn't really moved much."

By the end of March, Mozilla's Firefox accounted for 24.5% of the browsers that surfed to the client sites that NetApplications monitors, an increase of 0.3 of a percentage point over the month before and the first time in the last four months that the browser has gained ground. Six months ago, Firefox owned a 23.8% share.

Even with the increase, Firefox's share remains lower than its peak of 24.8% in November 2009.

"It does seem that Chrome is taking away gains that Firefox would normally get," Vizzaccaro added, referring to Google's browser, which has been on a tear of late. "But in the context of Chrome's growth, Firefox holding steady is not necessarily a bad thing."

Chrome again boosted is share last month, increasing by 0.5 of a percentage point to finish March at 6.1%, an all-time high. Chrome has gained share for 17 consecutive months, according to NetApplications. Its growth also continues to accelerate: Chrome's average monthly increase over the last six months is double that of the average of the six months before that.

"Google has a huge advantage over Mozilla because it has far more avenues for distribution," said Vizzaccaro. "More people know about Google than do Mozilla."

Over the past 12 months, Chrome's share has increased nearly four times more than Firefox's, an impressive feat in Vizzaccaro's eyes. "Chrome has been looking at two entrenched competitors," he said, referring to Firefox and Internet Explorer (IE). "It's getting most of the share lost by IE."

Microsoft's browser lost 0.9 of a percentage point last month to finish with a share of 60.7%, yet another record low. The drop was nearly double IE's decline in either February or March, perhaps putting to rest the idea that IE's slide may have been slowing. In the last year, IE has lost 7.8 percentage points.

Apple's Safari posted a small increase to 4.7% for March, while Opera Software's desktop browser remained flat at 2.4%.

Mozilla continued to make major strides in converting users of older versions to the newest Firefox 3.6, which debuted in January. Last month, Firefox 3.6 became the most-used edition of Mozilla's browser, replacing Firefox 3.5: By the end of March, 45.9% of all Firefox users were running the newest edition, while 37.9% ran 2009's Firefox 3.5 and 13% ran the even older Firefox 3.0.



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