Apple's Safari grows faster than Chrome in July

Meanwhile, Internet Explorer continues to bleed share

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That's not going to be easy -- Net Applications measured Windows XP usage share at 49.8% last month -- but it seems users have gotten the message. In the last two months, XP has dropped 3.3 percentage points; the aged OS has lost 12 points in the last year.

IE9, which Microsoft released last March, now accounts for 6.8% of all browsers, a 1.1-point gain during July. For the first time, IE9 global share was larger than IE7's.

July's increase was smaller than the previous two months, when IE9 added a combined 3.2 points. The fall-off may be due to Microsoft wrapping up the automatic download and installation of IE 9 on consumers' Windows 7 and Vista PCs at the end of June.

When only Windows 7 users are counted, IE9 had an 18.5% global share, a jump of nearly three percentage points since June.

Yet IE9's gains continue to fall short of what's necessary to make up the losses suffered by the company's other editions. In July, IE6 dropped nine-tenths of a percentage point to end at 9.2%; IE7 fell by three-tenths of a point to 6.3%; and IE8 plunged by eight-tenths of a point to 29.3%.

IE6's share was under the 10-point mark for the first time since shortly after its 2001 release. Microsoft has aggressively pushed IE6's demise, telling customers for the last two years that they need to be retire the 10-year-old application.

Another sign that IE9 hasn't turned the tide is that since its March debut, Microsoft has lost 3.1 percentage points of share, while Safari has picked up 1.4 points and Google has gained 1.9 points.

StatCounter, a European rival of Net Applications, also said IE, Firefox and Opera lost share in July, and that Chrome and Safari expanded theirs. StatCounter, which measures usage differently -- it does not weight its data by country, as does Net Applications -- had IE at an all-time low of 42.5%, Firefox with 28%, Chrome at 22.1% and Safari with just 5.2%.

Net Applications calculates browser usage share with data obtained from more than 160 million unique visitors who browse 40,000 Web sites that the company monitors for clients. More browser statistics can be found on the company's site.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more articles by Gregg Keizer.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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