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Safari jumps to 61 percent of mobile browser share

Apple's mobile browser saw a 6 percentage-point leap in Web traffic last month, according to stats out today from Web tracker Net Applications.

Net Applications

Safari has won back some of the ground it lost recently to rival mobile browsers.

Apple's iOS browser captured 61.79 percent of all mobile browser Web traffic seen by Net Applications in March. That was a healthy rise from the 55.41 percent tracked in February.

Safari remained firmly in the lead last month, followed by the default Android browser in second place with a 21.86 percent share and Opera Mini in the third spot with 8.4 percent. But Safari has seen its share of Net Applications' Web traffic rocked by the competition.

After rising steadily in past years, Safari's share has been treading water over the past year or so. Its 61.79 percent share last month is just slightly higher than the 60.5 percent in March 2012.

Over the same time, mobile shares for the Android browser, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome have inched up. The trend isn't exactly shocking given the increasing popularity of Android and the launch of more Windows Phone handsets and Windows 8 tablets, both of which feature IE as the default browser.

Among specific mobile browser versions, Safari 6.0 came out on top with a 38.5 percent share, followed by the Android browser 4.0 with 21.5 percent.

On the desktop side, Internet Explorer 10 has been climbing up the ranks, grabbing a 2.9 percent share last month. That proved a respectable gain from 1.6 percent in February, 1.3 percent in January, and slightly less than 1 percent in December.

Until recently, the latest version of IE was found only on Windows 8 PCs. But Microsoft released IE 10 for Windows 7 in late February.

Net Applications

Otherwise, the desktop browser arena saw little action last month, with the shares of most of the major players pretty much flat from the prior few months.

Internet Explorer overall stayed safely on top with 55.8 percent of the traffic for desktop browsers. Firefox was No. 2 with 20.2 percent, followed by Chrome with 16.4 percent.

Chrome had threatened to oust Firefox for second place almost a year ago. But since then, Chrome's share has dropped, while Firefox has remained about even.