Chrome and Safari continued to chip away at Internet Explorer's usage share last month, while Firefox remained stalled for the fourth straight month, a Web statistics firm said today.
Meanwhile, Microsoft used the same data from Net Applications to tout the success of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) on Windows 7, where the new browser is now the second-most-popular behind the 15-month-old IE8.
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Total IE share fell by six-tenths of a percentage point in June -- the fourth consecutive month that Microsoft's browser slid by that amount or more -- to end at 53.7 percent, a new low for the browser. The drop was less than the previous three months, when IE's decay accelerated , and more in line with the average decline over the last 12 months.
At its current pace, IE could slip under the 50 percent bar before the end of this year, ending the majority Microsoft has enjoyed for more than a decade.
Mozilla's Firefox remained flat last month at 21.7 percent, and Opera Software's Opera fell three-tenths of a percentage point -- its largest decline in nearly four years -- to end June at 1.7 percent.
Last month's winners were again Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome, the only two browsers to consistently boost their usage share during the last year.
Safari climbed by two-tenths of a point to 7.5 percent, a record for the browser bundled with all Macs, iPhones and iPads, while Chrome increased by six-tenths of a percentage point to end June at 13.1 percent.
Chrome is on pace to break 15 percent by October, just a little over three years after Google introduced the browser.
Although IE9's introduction in mid-March has not stemmed Microsoft share bleeding, the new browser has made significant inroads on Windows 7, Microsoft said today. "IE9 has now become the most popular modern browser on Windows 7 in the U.S.," maintained Roger Capriotti, the head of IE marketing at Microsoft.
According to Net Applications, IE9 accounted for 19.6 percent of all browsers on U.S. computers running Windows 7, and for 15.6 percent of all Windows 7 machines globally.
Microsoft has repeatedly touted IE9 as its first "modern" browser, meaning it supports HTML5 and other new Web standards.
But IE9 still lags behind IE8 on Windows 7, both in the U.S. and worldwide. Globally, the older browser owns a 47.9 percent share on Windows 7, more than three times that of IE9. IE9 has not yet matched the usage share of either IE6 or IE7 because the new edition doesn't run on Windows XP.
The casting of IE9 as "the most popular modern browser on Windows 7" is also peculiar, what with its second-place standing behind IE8, and the earlier contention by the company in 2009 that the then-new IE8 was "a modern version of Internet Explorer."
However, IE9 did pass rivals Firefox and Chrome in usage share on Windows 7 last month for the first time: Mozilla's and Google's recent browsers, Firefox 4 and Chrome 12, accounted for 11.3 percent and 8.5 percent of the global Windows 7 market, respectively, said Net Applications.