Google was again the main beneficiary of the losses suffered by Mozilla and Apple, adding to its lead over both in June, when it had a combined desktop + mobile user share of 22.6 percent, 1.5 percentage points higher than in April.
Together, the stock Android browser and the newer Chrome -- primarily, though not exclusively on Android -- accounted for 39.4 percent of all mobile browsers by Net Applications' count. With Safari's downward trend and Google's pair on the upswing, the latter could take first place from Apple on mobile as soon as October.
But it was Chrome on the desktop that powered Google's rise in combined user share for June. The browser added 1.6 percentage points to its desktop-only number, averaging 19.3 percent for the month. That was a record for desktop Chrome, which debuted in September 2008.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) continued to dominate the desktop, where its user share was 58.4 percent for June -- the highest since February 2011 -- but on mobile, IE remained stuck in the low single digits: 2 percent for the month. That put IE's combined share at 48.4 percent, the same as in April.
Overall, IE remained in a much stronger position than Firefox, as Microsoft has managed to reverse a long-running decline in IE's desktop share. But Microsoft faces the same dilemma as Mozilla: Without tablet and smartphone traction, which will rely on Windows gaining ground on the platforms, IE will slowly lose influence as mobile gradually erodes the personal computer's decades-long position as the first choice for browsing.
Norwegian browser maker Opera Software held a combined user share of 2.2 percent in June, up from 1.8 percent in April. Its mobile browsers, Opera Mini and Opera Mobile, accounted for 62 percent of the total. A recent deal that places Opera's Android browser as the default on new Nokia-branded, Microsoft-sold smartphones powered by an Android variant may fuel further increases.
Net Applications measures browser usage on smartphones, tablets and personal computers by tabulating approximately 160 million unique visitors each month who browse to the sites it monitors for customers.
When desktop and mobile browser data are combined, Google has a solid lock on second place, with almost as much user share as Mozilla and Apple put together. (Data: Net Applications.)
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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