Firefox Held Nearly 10 Percent Share at Year’s End

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser slowly but surely lost significant market share to Firefox over the past year, according to the latest monthly traffic report released Wednesday by Web metrics tool vendor Net Applications.

“[IE] ended 2004 with 90.31 percent browser usage market share, and steadily lost ground, ending 2005 with 85.05 percent market share,” Net Applications said in a statement announcing the year-end stats.

It continued that while Microsoft intends to have a new version of IE out this year, the Redmond company is also cutting support for the Mac.

Meanwhile, Mozilla Firefox started 2005 with a 4.64 percent share, slumped during the summer months, and then surged ahead towards the end of the year when Firefox 1.5 was released, to finish with 9.57 percent, the Net Applications statement said.

Interestingly, Apple’s Safari browser cut ahead of Netscape to hold third place, with 3.07 percent, in the year-end rankings. Netscape climbed as high as just over 2 percent during the summer, but finished down almost half of that at a mere 1.24 percent.

Firefox’s ascendancy reinforces signs all year that it is catching on with users.

One wild card in 2006 will be the upcoming release of Apple Mac computers based on Intel CPUs. Additionally, Microsoft is hard at work on versions of IE for both the pending Windows Vista as well as for Windows XP.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.