latest data from Net Application, in November, Mozilla's Firefox browser surpassed 20% market share for the first time in its history, while Microsoft's IE7 now only commands under 70% of the browser market. Google's Chrome, which had been hovering around 0.75% after its initial release, saw a small growth spurt at the end of 2008, while Apple's Safari made significant gains during the last year.According to the
Even though Net Applications' global data for December is still preliminary, IE's decline during 2008 is remarkable, especially given its former dominance of the browser market. During the last year, every other major browser gained market share at the cost of IE. Firefox grew from 16.98% in January to over 21% in December, Safari gained 2 points, and while Opera's slow growth seems to have stagnated at the end of the year, it still gained 0.1% over the year. Only the deprecated Netscape browser saw its market share decline to under 0.5%.
Net Applications thinks that that the U.S. election, the Thanksgiving holiday, the rising unemployment in the U.S., and the extra weekend in November led to an increase in residential browsing during that month, but the general trends clearly also continued during December.
Will IE8 Make a Difference?
It will be interesting to see if the upcoming release of IE8 will be enough to turn Microsoft's fortunes in the browser market around. While we like the beta version of IE8 as a general purpose browser, it still doesn't have the extensibility and speed of Firefox. Google is also working on an extension architecture for Chrome, which will allow developers to port their Firefox plugins over to Google's browser and give users even more alternatives to IE7 and IE8.