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Firefox nearly doubles and Safari gains in '06 browser wars

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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