Microsoft Still Rules Web Browser Roost but Rivals Gain Share

06 January 2009

ALISO VIEJO, California: Microsoft's Internet Explorer still dominates the global web browser market, despite an accelerating erosion in its market share, reports internet research specialist Net Applications.

Currently, Microsoft accounts for 68% of the world browser market – thanks primarily to its integration into Windows software, a move that in the 1990s enabled the competition-crushing colossus to nuke its sole competitor, Netscape Communications.

But an influx of competition, notably from Mozilla Foundation's open-source competitor Firefox, has nudged Microsoft into a slow glissade down the slippery slope leading to an abyss for tired brands. 

In the May-December period Firefox notched an impressive gain in market share, loosening Microsoft's hold on the market from 74% to 68% - a slippage for the latter of eight percentage points.

Over the same interval, Firefox strengthened its global share from 18% to 21%, a rise of 16.6 percentage points. 

And to compound Microsoft's woes, there are two other threatening new kids on the browser block: Apple's Safari [reconfigured for Windows and in the opinion of this writer, the fastest of the browser bunch] and Google's Chrome – which has just moved from beta to alpha mode.

Safari's 6% share rose to 8% (33 percentage points) over the metered period; while Chrome, released in September, grew from 0.7% to just over 1%.

To access further browser market share data from Net Applications click here.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff