updated 03:15 pm EST, Mon December 21, 2009
Chrome, Safari make small gains too
Firefox 3.5 has overtaken Internet Explorer 7 as the most popular single version of a web browser, according to new data from StatCounter. As of last week, the Mozilla browser took 21.93 percent of traffic, or just enough to edge out IE7's 21.2 percent. Microsoft still has the edge in overall share, but the data points to IE8 growing at a slower rate than Firefox.
Safari 4 hs been growing slightly in recent weeks but has been largely flat at 3.03 percent. Other browsers, excluding Opera's 0.42 percent, reached 9 percent collectively, but individually didn't typically have enough market share to stand on their own.
The rise isn't given an explanation but can be credited to Firefox's added speed, compatibility and cross-OS support, which includes Linux and Mac OS X where Internet Explorer is using a comparatively aging web engine and is limited to Windows PCs. Some of Microsoft's total Internet Explorer share is also based on corporate PCs and older systems in the developing world, many of which still run the default installation of Internet Explorer that shipped with Windows XP or Vista.
Firefox and other browsers are poised to get further help as the EU browser ballot will make Firefox an option for those who otherwise would never have tried an alternative.