IE overall usage slips, but IE 8 gains

All of Internet Explorer's rivals gained overall from August to September, though IE 8 did increase in popularity. Firefox gained the most among IE's competitors.

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From August 2009 to September 2009, Internet Explorer lost a bit of usage share compared to rival browsers.
From August (top) to September (below), Internet Explorer lost a bit of usage share compared with rival browsers. Net Applications

All four of Internet Explorer's main rivals gained a larger share of users worldwide from August to September, new statistics show.

According to Net Applications, which tracks browser usage globally through a network of 40,000 Web sites and some statistical processing, IE slipped from 67 percent to 65.7 percent of users.

Firefox has steadily won over more users since version 1.0 arrived nearly five years ago, and it continued the trend with an increase from 23 percent to 23.8 percent. Apple's Safari rose from 4.1 percent to 4.2 percent, Google Chrome from 2.8 percent to 3.2 percent, and Opera from 2 to 2.2 percent. Although a few tenths of a percent may sound small, multiplied by the millions of browser users over the Internet, it can mean a large absolute number of people.

Firefox passed an important milestone over the month-long period, with the newer Firefox 3.5 replacing version 3.0 as the leading version. The newer version furthers Mozilla's ambitions to upgrade Web technologies with new features such as faster JavaScript and built-in video.

Microsoft has restarted what had been a somewhat dormant browser developer program, releasing IE 8 earlier this year. But IE 6 still is the leading version of Microsoft's browser, followed by IE 7 in second place.

In a bright spot for Microsoft, though, IE 8 usage increased from 15.1 percent to 16.8 percent, as IE 6 and IE 7 dropped.