Sunday, July 16, 2006

Firefox use growing around the world, study says

After a brief period of little growth this spring, The Mozilla Foundation's open-source Firefox web browser is again gaining ground on Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE).

In its latest study on web browser usage, Netherlands-based OneStat.com says that Firefox gained 1.14% in June and is now used by 12.93% of surfers. That's up from 11.79% who used Firefox in May, while IE use declined by 2.12% to 83.05%.

"We thought that Firefox growth had slowed down," says Niels Brinkman, a co-founder of OneStat.com. "It seems it's increasing again. That's a little bit of a surprise to us."

The study results were released just before Mozilla.org released the first public beta of the next version of Firefox. Beta 1 of Firefox 2.0 was made public last week.

Last November, OneStat.com's survey pegged Firefox browser usage globally at 11.51%, up 2.82% from April 2005. IE at the time had a global usage share of 85.45%, down 1.18% from April 2005.

OneStat.com uses real-time web analytics to look at which broswers are being used to view websites and to determine their popularity across the internet, Brinkman says.

The other popular browsers globally, according to OneStat.com, are Apple Computer's Safari, with 1.84% usage; Opera, with 1% usage; and Netscape, with 0.16% usage.

In the US, the most popular browsers are IE, which is used by 79.78% of surfers; Firefox, which is used by 15.82%; Safari, which is used by 3.28%; Opera, which is used by 0.81%; and Netscape, which is used by 0.2% of web surfers.

Usage rates for IE and Firefox in Canada and the UK are similar to the U.S. statistics. But in Australia, Firefox is much more popular and is used by 24.23% of web surfers. Microsoft's IE is used by 69.35% of Australian surfers, according to the study. In Germany, Firefox is even more popular: 39.02% of surfers there use it, compared with 55.99% who use IE.

Dana Gardner, an analyst at Interarbor Solutions in Gilford, N.H., says the growing use of Firefox arises from several factors, including better performance and fewer security problems than IE.

"I think it's been an astonishing ramp-up

Continued

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