Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) continues its dominance of the Web browser market, despite recent releases from open-source challenger Mozilla and its commercial sibling, Netscape. According to a twice-yearly study from market researcher StatMarket, IE now controls 96 percent of the market--up from 87 percent a year ago. Netscape, meanwhile, has fallen off the charts, with just 3.4 percent of the market--down from 7 percent in March and 13 percent a year ago. And competent newcomer Mozilla, whose critical 1.0 release came after years in beta, has managed to attract less than 1 percent of the market. (The more recent Mozilla 1.1 release improves performance and adds a few new features.)
"The newest versions of Netscape have failed to win over users so far," said StatMarket Vice President Geoff Johnston. "Unless \[Netscape parent company\] AOL makes a move soon, Netscape may find itself battling Opera for the last 1 percent to 2 percent of the market."
AOL, which attracts 30 million subscribers, could significantly reverse Netscape's fortunes by bundling that browser, instead of IE, with its service. Today, AOL announced the release of Netscape 7.0, which features Mozilla-like features such as a tabbed UI and integrated email, news, and chat applications. But whether any product can undo IE's market dominance is unclear at this point, according to StatMarket. "The browser war is in fact a massacre," Johnston said.