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Internet Explorer gains ground for second month

After years of decline, IE boosts its market share for the past two months, according to a market researcher. Safari also hits a new high, topping 5 percent share.

After years of losing ground to Firefox and other rivals, Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser posted its second consecutive monthly gain in share, according to a market researcher.

For July, Internet Explorer snagged 60.74 percent market share, according to Netmarketshare. That's up from 60.32 percent share in June and up nearly a full percentage point since May, when the company saw its market share dip below 60 percent.

"Last month, we saw coverage about Internet Explorer posting a worldwide gain in usage share," Microsoft's Ryan Gavin said in a blog post. "That encouraging news continues today...Most interesting is the fact that Internet Explorer 8 continues to be the fastest growing browser with a 0.98 percent increase worldwide in July--and now represents more than 30 percent of browser usage worldwide. In the U.S., Internet Explorer 8 picked up share for the third month in a row."

Microsoft has been heavily promoting its browser, including with a new TV ad campaign. The company has also benefited from strong sales of Windows 7.

However, Apple's Safari also hit a new milestone, accounting for more than 5 percent market share for the first time, up from 4.85 percent in June.

Both Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome lost a bit of share in July, marking the first time in recent memory that Google's browser failed to gain share. Mozilla accounted for 22.91 percent of Internet usage, down from 23.81 percent a month earlier, while Chrome dropped ever so slightly to 7.24 percent, down from 7.16 percent a month earlier.

Separately, Netmarketshare also found that usage of Windows 7 passed Windows Vista for the first time, though Windows XP continues to be used more than twice as much as both Vista and Windows 7 combined.