Microsoft browser market share slips slightly

By Reuters
Seattle, 04 Nov 2004
Microsoft`s share of the browser market slipped slightly in recent months but still dominated with 92.9%, an Internet analytics firm said yesterday.

The world`s largest software maker`s Internet Explorer browser market declined from 95.5% in June mainly due to the increasing popularity of Firefox, a free browser made by the Mozilla Foundation, according to WebSideStory, a provider of analytical Web usage data.

Firefox now enjoys a 6% market share, WebSideStory said, up from 3.5% in June. The Mozilla Foundation, the group of programmers that jointly develops the Firefox browser, inherited much of the underlying software code from Netscape, the Web browser that was instrumental in the Internet`s growth in the 1990s.

Netscape was overtaken by Microsoft`s Internet Explorer in the late 1990s, sparking the Justice Department`s landmark anti-trust case against Microsoft, which reached final settlement with limited penalties in 2002.

The rest of the browser market was mainly made up by Apple Computer`s own Safari browser and the Opera browser, which saw their joint market share rise slightly above 1%,

Critics of Internet Explorer argue that Microsoft has essentially stopped innovating the browser after gaining its overwhelming market share. Microsoft said that it will focus on enhancing Internet Explorer`s security features and on a major upgrade for the next release of Windows, code-named Longhorn, due out in 2006.