The latest browser stats are causing some discussion – mainly because of this
article
by InformationWeek, which pours water over Microsoft’s claims about IE7:

“Although Microsoft recently touted the 100 millionth installation of Internet
Explorer 7, Web measurement firms said that the new browser is simply being swapped out
for older editions and hasn’t had an impact on Firefox’s continued climb.”

According to Net
Applications
, the browser share is slowly – but surely – moving down for IE and up
for Firefox:

What’s curious though is that Maxthon isn’t
showing up in any of these browser share reports. We noted in a recent post that
Maxthon reportedly has 30% of the browser market in its home country of China, second
only to IE and ahead of Firefox. China is the second-biggest Web market in the world, not
far behind the US and projected to pass it in the not too distant future. So if Maxthon
has 30% of the China browser market (and I have to say I’ve yet to see any report
confirming that figure), then surely it would rank pretty well on browser share reports
that companies like Net Applications and WebSideStory produce? Perhaps they are not
measuring international markets – but they should.

The Linux Journal puts it very
well
, noting that Maxthon’s installed base is probably already near that of
Firefox:

“Put that figure [Maxthon’s 30% of the Chinese browser market] together with the fact that
there are currently 132 million Internet users in China, up 30% from last year, and
likely to grow even more in the future, and you have a situation where Maxthon’s
installed base probably already rivals that of Firefox.”

Maxthon may struggle though to make a mark on the rest of the world. On the previous
R/WW post about Maxthon, Jeremy
Liew
(an ex-GM of Netscape) left this comment:

“We found that in the minds of the public there is only room for two browsers: the
default and one alternative. Maxathon is the default option in China. Firefox is the
default in most of the rest of the world. I think it will be hard for Maxathon to make
too much headway in the rest of the world – they may find themselves competing against
Firefox more than they compete against IE.”

The bottom line: will Maxthon eventually affect Firefox’s market share? I agree with Jeremy
that Maxthon is more a of threat to Firefox than IE, despite being built on IE
technology. And (ahem) check out the most recent post on the Maxthon blog, entitled: Watch out Firefox
– Here Comes Maxthon!
🙂 OK, to be fair that title was taken from another
blog
.

Do you think Maxthon is set to burst Firefox’s browser market share bubble? Firefox may well have little to worry about in the Western market, but globally the Asia market is increasingly important. So browser market share in China is crucial.