IE's browser share jumps after accounting change
New CIA data results in a one-time pop for Microsoft browser, big drop for Firefox
Computerworld - Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser gained more market share last month than at any time in the last three years, but at least part of the boost came from an accounting change by Web metrics firm Net Applications.
Meanwhile, Microsoft argued that its share should be calculated only as a percentage of the browsers run on Windows.
According to Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Net Applications, IE's usage share rose by nearly eight-tenths of a percentage point to finish February at 56.8%. It was first time IE climbed since July 2010, and was the largest one-month increase since Net Applications started tracking Microsoft's browser.
But Net Applications attributed part of the increase to a change in how it weights browser data.
Like most Web measurement firms, Net Applications has more data on some countries -- the U.S., for instance -- but relatively small samples from others, such as China. So to produce what it believes is a more accurate representation of browser usage, Net Applications weights its Chinese data proportionally higher because that country has an greater percentage of the world's Internet users than the U.S.
Starting with February's numbers, Net Applications used revised online population numbers provided by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that showed a large increase in the global percentage of Chinese users, with a corresponding drop in the worldwide percentage of users from the U.S., the U.K, Canada, France, Germany and other developed countries.
"This shows that China is far more influential in browser usage than anyone realizes," said Vince Vizzaccaro, vice president of marketing for Net Applications.
Using the revised CIA Internet population data caused IE's share to jump because the vast bulk of that nation's users run Microsoft's browser, not a rival like Mozilla's Firefox or Google's Chrome.
According to Vizzaccaro, the new numbers "correct an increasing inaccuracy over time as population shifts occur and reflects reality more closely than unadjusted numbers."
The result? IE jumped, and Firefox fell.
Firefox's share of the global browser market dropped by a full point, it's largest change in nearly two years, to end February at 21.7%, a mark equivalent to its December 2008 share.
"If you look at Firefox, for example, it's very dominant in Europe," said Vizzaccaro. "But it loses global share since many of the countries in Western European now have a lower percentage of global internet users."
Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari still posted gains even with the new CIA data applied, although their increases were smaller than the average of the preceding three months.
Chrome climbed by two-tenths of a percentage point -- off the seven-tenths of a point average between November 2010 and January 2011 -- to close the month at 10.9%, a new record for the browser. Safari gained a statistically-insignificant six-hundredths of a point, less than a fifth of its three-month average, to end February at 6.4%.
- Chrome users won't give up, keep pressing Google to restore old-style new tab page
- Google quashes 31 vulnerabilities, restores Metro mode 'steppers' with Chrome 34
- Firefox's UI face-lift on track for April debut
- Ex-Mozilla engineer blames Microsoft's rules for Metro Firefox's death
- Mozilla patches 20 Firefox flaws, plugs Pwn2Own holes
- Google reverses field, promises to restore Chrome's scrollbar arrows
- Update: Google ships Chrome 33, patches 28 bugs
- Mozilla's top exec defends in-Firefox ads, revenue search
- Mozilla taps in-Firefox ads as it searches for more revenue
- Mozilla ships Metro Firefox beta for Windows 8
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools The client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency.
- Why Projects Fail CIOs are expected to deliver more projects that transform business, and do so on time, on budget and with limited resources.
- The New Business Case for Video Conferencing: 7 Real-World Benefits Beyond Cost-Savings This whitepaper provides insight into the value of video conferencing in today's business environment, and how organizations are using visual collaboration to find...
- Audit Ready and Asset Optimized: The Solid Promise of an Intelligent Software Asset Management Solution In this paper Frost & Sullivan examines the benefits of enterprise-grade Software Asset Management solutions, and how these solutions serve as the convergence...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Desktop Apps White Papers | Webcasts