Browser metrics: IE slide continues, Firefox slips

Meanwhile, Google's Chrome stabilizes at under 1%, metrics firm says

Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer continued to lose market share in September, a Web metrics firm said today. Meanwhile, Google Inc.'s Chrome stabilized at under 1%, and although Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox dipped slightly in market share, more than half of Firefox 2.0 users accepted an offer to update to Version 3.0.

For the seventh month this year, and the second consecutive month, IE lost ground in the battle for browser market share, Net Applications Inc. reported. During September, IE accounted for 71.5% of the browsers used to connect with the 40,000 sites that the vendor monitors, down from August's 72.2%.

IE's share is down 4.5 percentage points since the first of the year.

Net Applications attributed part of September's IE decline to the introduction of Chrome, which Google launched early last month as a beta for Windows XP and Vista.

Even though Chrome came out of the gate strong -- it garnered a 1% share within hours of its debut -- it has faded somewhat since then. According to Net Applications, Chrome's share has stabilized at about 0.7%, just slightly more than Opera Software ASA's flagship, which had previously held down the No. 4 spot, behind IE, Firefox and Apple Inc.'s Safari.

Firefox, which lost market share for just the second time in 2008, accounted for 19.5% of all browsers by the end of September, off from August's 19.7%.

However, Mozilla's offer to automatically update users of the older Firefox 2.0 to the newer Firefox 3.0 was a success, said Net Applications. It measured a major shift from Firefox 2.0 to 3.0 after Aug. 25, when the company began the program.

Since late August, 51% of those using Firefox 2.0 have switched to the new Firefox 3.0, said Vince Vizzaccaro, Net Applications' executive vice president of marketing. While Firefox 2.0 owned 11.5% of the market and Firefox 3.0 accounted for 7.7% in August, last month the versions' positions had flipped: In September, Firefox 2.0 had only 5.8% of the market, while Firefox 3.0 owned 13.3%.

Other Net Applications data showed that September marked the first time that IE6's market share fell under 25%, while Safari's part of the market climbed to 6.7%. Safari was the only major browser to boost its share last month, something that Vizzaccaro had earlier attributed to the lack of a Mac OS X edition of Chrome.

Microsoft's newest browser, IE8, also posted gains as it increased its share from 0.22% to 0.37%. The browser's second beta launched Aug. 27.

Net Applications' browser share and trend data is available online.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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