Microsoft, not surprisingly, applauds Net Applications' country-by-country weighting system, going so far last month as to explicitly challenge the accuracy of the data from another metrics company, Ireland's StatCounter, which also publishes monthly browser share numbers.
Net Applications did not reply Sunday to questions about whether it revised its weighting formula last month, and if so, what impact that had on IE's share.
Microsoft mentioned the overall gains of IE in passing on Sunday, but as it's done for months, focused on increases of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9).
Almost since IE9's debut, Microsoft has ignored IE's aggregate performance -- which admittedly has been dismal until late -- and instead focused on the growth of its newest browser among Windows 7 users, a combination the company has regularly claimed is the only measurement that matters.
By Net Applications' numbers, IE9 accounts for 34.5 percent of the world's browsers used on that operating system, an increase of more than four percent points from February, and owns a 48.9 percent share of the Windows 7 browser market in the U.S., a jump of 8.5 points.
The browser's global share of all operating systems, however, is significantly lower, at 15.2 percent, but even that was a bump of 2.6 percent points, the largest single-month gain since IE9's March 2011 launch.
Other editions of Microsoft's browser didn't fare as well: IE8 lost 2.5 percent points to fall to 25.4 percent, while IE7 dropped to 4.5 percent. IE6, the nearly 11-year-old browser that Microsoft has been trying to bury, stayed flat at 6.9 percent.
StatCounter, however, told a different tale.
The Irish company, which neither adjusts its statistics for each country's online population nor discards Chrome's pre-rendered pages, said that IE controlled 34.8 percent of the browser market, down nine-tenths of a point, while Chrome grew by more than a point to end March at 30.9 percent. Firefox, said StatCounter, remained stable at 25 percent.
Net Applications calculates browser usage share with data obtained from more than 160 million unique visitors who browse 40,000 websites that the company monitors. More browser share figures can be found on the company's site.
Internet Explorer share has ticked up this year, while Chrome has lost a little ground. (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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