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IE Usage Falls Below 90 Percent in Both Major Surveys

Two Web analytics companies that track usage of Web browsers now agree that Microsoft's Internet Explorer usage share is below 90 percent due to competition from the open-source Firefox browser.

WebSideStory and OneStat.com each released new surveys this week. WebSideStory put IE's usage share at 89.85 percent with Firefox at 5.69 percent. OneStat.com, a Dutch firm, put IE's share at 87.28 percent with Mozilla Firefox at 8.45 percent. (OneStat.com lumps Firefox share in with that of other Mozilla browsers). While OneStat.com's survey has had IE's share below 90 percent since November, it is the first survey in which WebSideStory found IE below 90 percent.

The numbers are especially relevant this week in the wake of Microsoft's decision to release a version 7.0 of Internet Explorer and the Mozilla Foundation's milestone of 25 million downloads of its Firefox browser in 100 days.

"It seems that global usage share of Mozilla's Firefox is still increasing and the total global usage share of Microsoft's Internet Explorer is still decreasing. It looks like browser users of Internet Explorer 5 are switching to Mozilla Firefox instead of upgrading to Internet Explorer 6.0," Niels Brinkman, co-founder of OneStat.com, said in a statement.

WebSideStory emphasized that the growth rate of Firefox is slowing. Firefox gained 0.74 percentage points in the last five weeks, 0.89 percentage points in the previous six weeks and 1.03 percentage points from Nov. 5 to Dec. 3, the period covering the Nov. 9 release of Firefox 1.0.

"This is probably to be expected as we move beyond the early adopter segment," said WebSideStory CEO Jeff Lunsford. "Growing concern over potential security holes in the browser might be another factor to consider."

Still, Lunsford said that the Mozilla Foundation's goal of reaching 10 percent of browser usage market by the end of 2005 "still appears attainable."

While Microsoft continues to enjoy a dominant position in browsers, its recent erosion of market share has been rapid after years of stability. As recently as June 2004, IE accounted for 95.48 percent of worldwide browser usage, according to WebSideStory. Earlier data from both OneStat.com and WebSideStory show Microsoft's IE held roughly 95 percent to 96 percent usage share since 2002.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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