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Firefox nearly doubles and Safari gains in '06 browser wars

Propelled by the release of its Version 2.0 in October, the free Firefox web browser saw almost a 50% increase in use during 2006, according to one web measurement firm. The open-source Firefox browser was used by 14% of computers online at the end of 2006, according to Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Net Applications. That was 46% higher than its 9.6% share of the browser market at the beginning of the year. The biggest loser was Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which also released a new version, Internet Explorer 7, last year. Even so, its market share fell to 79.6% from 85.1% at the start of 2006. Apple Computer Inc.'s Safari web browser rode increased sales of Mac computers to finish the year with 4.2% of the market, up from 3.1% at the beginning of 2006. Safari is only available on Apple hardware running Mac OS X. The Opera web browser also grew its share to 0.9% of the market from 0.6%, after signing deals with cell phone makers and game console makers such as Nintendo to have the software bundled with those devices. AOL's Netscape was, like Internet Explorer, also a loser. It started the year with 1.24% but saw its share of the market fall to 0.9%. No responsibility can be taken for the content of external Internet sites.

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