IE Use Grows Worldwide, but Europe Loves Firefox

Microsoft this week touted global market share gains for Internet Explorer 8 over rival browsers, citing July data from Net Applications.

In May, IE's browser market share stabilized. It had previously been on a losing streak, dropping a percentage point each month from July 2009 to April 2010, according to Net Application's data. This week, Ryan Gavin, senior director for Internet Explorer business and marketing, noted an upward trend. Net Applications' data now show small gains for IE in July.

"Net Applications reports overall Internet Explorer share grew 0.42% worldwide in July, while Firefox lost 0.90% share and Chrome dipped 0.08% in share," Gavin wrote in a blog post. "Most interesting is the fact that Internet Explorer 8 continues to be the fastest growing browser with a 0.98% increase worldwide in July -- and now represents more than 30% of browser usage worldwide."

In July, Net Applications showed Internet Explorer (all versions) with a 60.7 percent global market share. Mozilla Firefox trailed at 23 percent, followed by Google Chrome with seven percent and Apple Safari with five percent.

Other browser market trackers exist besides that of Net Applications. These trackers consistently show Internet Explorer to be the predominant browser, although the stats and conclusions tend to differ somewhat.

For instance, StatCounter found that IE had an overall 53 percent market share worldwide in July. Firefox placed second at 31 percent use, while Chrome had a 10 percent share and Safari held at four percent. StatCounter, in contrast to Net Applications, sees IE continuing a downward trend since July 2009. Firefox follows a relatively flat trend, while Chrome shows a continuing an upward trend, accord to StatCounter.

Stat Owl showed IE overall with a 62 percent market share worldwide in July. Firefox followed at 22 percent, with Safari at nine percent and Chrome at 7 percent. Like StatCounter, Stat Owl showed the IE market share continuing a downward trend. Both counters disagree with Net Applications with regard to IE's market share status.

All three counters agree that Chrome has been increasing, or even doubling, its market share over the last five months or more.

A different picture is shown when looking at browser use in Europe. According to July StatCounter data, Firefox is a close competitor to IE in Europe with 38 percent market share compared with IE's 43 percent share. One article even suggests that Firefox is poised to overtake IE in the European market.

Those following the browser wars can expect the stats to shift yet again as Microsoft advances its efforts on its latest browser, Internet Explorer 9. According to Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer, IE 9 will be released as a beta sometime in September. Turner delivered the news as part of Microsoft's Financial Analyst Meeting last week.

IE 9 is currently available as a test "platform preview" release for Windows 7 and Vista (but not XP). Microsoft has been releasing test versions of IE 9 every eight weeks, but they've so far lacked the functionality of a beta. IE 9 will offer faster JavaScript performance and native video playback using HTML 5 technology, Microsoft has said, citing various test results beating the competition.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.