Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) again lost market share last month, although at a slower rate than the previous two-month stretch, but still ended at a new low of 67.6 percent as rivals continued to steal users, a Web metrics firm reported Sunday.
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Overall, Microsoft's browser lost 0.6 percent of its market share last month, ending January with 67.6 percent, the lowest number since Net Applications began tracking browser data in 2005. In the last 12 months, IE has slipped about 8 percentage points in market share, nearly as much as the 9.8 percent drop during the preceding 24 months.
However, January's drop was nowhere near the 1.6 percentage points IE lost in December 2008 or the 1.5 percentage points it gave up in November.
The one bright spot for Microsoft was the slight ground gained by Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) after the browser reached the Release Candidate 1 (RC1) milestone.
IE8 posted a 0.92 percent market share for the month as a whole, and accounted for slightly more share, 0.99 percent, in the six days since Microsoft issued the RC1 build last week. The next major upgrade to IE, Version 8 has been slowly gaining market share since its Beta 2 launched late last August.
But for the third month in a row, Microsoft's main competitors -- Mozilla, Apple, and Google -- all gained share at IE's expense.
Mozilla's Firefox increased its share by 0.19 percentage point to finish January with 21.5 percent of the market, a new record for the open source browser. In the last 12 months, Firefox's market share has climbed 4.3 percentage points.
Within Firefox's share, the move by users to Version 3.0, which debuted in June 2008, and away from Version 2.0, continued last month. Approximately 85 percent of all people running Firefox have now upgraded to Version 3.0, according to Net Applications, which collects browser share data from the users who visit the thousands of Web sites the company monitors. Mozilla made a third upgrade offer to Firefox 2.0 users on Jan. 8 in a last-ditch attempt to get them to migrate to the newer edition.