New Web browsers from Microsoft and Mozilla Corporation showed strong gains with users in November, according to Web metrics firm Net Applications. According to the company, usage of Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) 7 browser tripled last month, while Mozilla Firefox 2.0 showed even stronger growth, pushing usage to 5 times the previous month's rate.
Of course, growth statistics can be somewhat misleading, as products with tiny market and usage share numbers can more easily post big gains. IE 7 usage in November, for example, was just 8.4 percent of all browsers, while Firefox 2.0 was used by just 3.61 percent of all browser users, according to Net Applications. In October, only 0.69 percent of users were browsing with Firefox 2.0: Thus, Firefox was able to show big growth numbers for November on lackluster usage.
The bigger picture shows that IE, overall, is continuing to lose small amounts of usage share to Firefox. In November, all versions of IE accounted for 80.56 percent of Web usage, down from 81.28 percent in the previous month. Firefox, meanwhile, leaped to 13.5 percent of the market, up from 12.96 in the previous month. Other browsers, like Opera and Apple Safari showed negligible changes from the previous month and negligible usage share.
If IE were to fall below 80 percent of the market in December, it will be the first time in over 6 years that IE's usage share was that low. However, some believe that the huge functional and security gains that Microsoft made with IE 7 might be enough to turn things around. The fact that the software maker is rolling out IE 7 to hundreds of millions of users as a critical update via Automatic Updates won't hurt either.