Rival browsers gain on Internet Explorer

Firefox's gain is responsible for the bulk of IE's loss in the worldwide browser usage changes from July to August.

Internet Explorer rivals generally gained market share in figures from July, shown at top, and August.
Internet Explorer rivals generally gained market share in figures from July, shown at top, and August. Net Applications

After resetting its methodology to better account for global variations, Net Applications' browser usage statistics have resumed an earlier trend in which Internet Explorer's main rivals edged ahead.

Mozilla's Firefox had the most notable gain, from 22.5 percent to 23 percent, while Google's Chrome rose from 2.6 percent to 2.8 percent. Apple's Safari was flat at 4.1 percent, and IE dipped from 67.7 percent to 67 percent. Opera, in fifth place just before this week's release of Opera 10, was essentially flat at 2 percent.

The browser wars are back in full swing. Though IE remains dominant, rivals are racing to build in new features to make the Web a better foundation for applications--the vision Netscape had back in the first generation of browser wars of the 1990s. Only recently has Microsoft joined the HTML 5 discussion in earnest.

This time profitable powerhouses such as Google are pushing this Web applications facet of cloud computing, and even Microsoft is embracing the trend with an online version of Office en route. Using the browser and the Web to run applications has a lot more meat on its bones after a decade of work.

Microsoft is working to wean the world from IE 6, the version of the browser that shipped with Windows XP, and has made some progress, according to Net Applications' statistics.

Version 6 still rules the IE roost, but it's dropping in usage.
Version 6 still rules the IE roost, but it's dropping in usage. Net Applications

IE 8 usage increased from 12.5 percent to 15.1 percent usage from July to August, while IE 6 dropped from 27.2 percent to 25.3 percent. IE 7 decreased from 23.1 percent to 21.1 percent.

Mozilla's newer version 3.5 of Firefox, released in June, also made gains from 4.5 percent to 8.9 percent. Firefox 3.0 dropped from 16.2 percent to 12.5 percent.

Using a modern browser is important when it comes to bringing the Web application technology to fruition. Older browsers lack support for advancements in page layout and graphics, HTML features such as built-in video, and perhaps most crucially, fast execution of Web-based JavaScript programs.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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