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Mozilla Coming After Interent Explorer Market Share

Microsoft's share of the web browser market fell for the second consecutive month in September, despite 6 million downloads of Internet Explorer 9 beta.

All versions of Microsoft's IE accounted for 59.65 per cent of the browsers used to access websites last month, compared to 60.4 per cent in August, according to figures released Friday by Net Applications. In July, Microsoft had a 60.74 per cent share.

Meanwhile, all other major browsers saw sequential increases in use in September. Mozilla Firefox ended the month at 22.96 per cent, compared to 22.93 per cent in August; Google Chrome 7.98 per cent from 7.52 per cent; Apple Safari 5.27 per cent from 5.16 per cent and Opera 2.39 per cent from 2.37 per cent.

Microsoft's future performance in the browser market will likely depend on the success of IE 9, which was released in beta in mid-September. On Friday, Ryan Gavin, senior director of IE business and marketing, said in the company's blog that Microsoft had seen 6 million downloads of the new browser. That number is two and a half times greater than IE 8 beta in a similar timeframe.

Net Applications found that in the last two weeks of September that IE 9 was available, its share of the browser market rose to 0.24 per cent. During the whole month, use of IE 8 rose 1.16 per cent to 29.06 per cent. Use of IE 7 and IE 6 on the other hand fell during the month, which Microsoft said was good for the industry as a whole.

"We are pleased to report that customers are choosing more modern browsers, as evident by the continued decline of IE6 and IE7 usage," Gavin said in highlighting the findings of the web metrics firm.

Whether IE 9 will significantly increase Microsoft's overall share of the browser market remains to be seen. A recent review by InformationWeek found that IE 9 was shaping up to be the best version of the browser yet. However, the magazine also noted that very few of the new features were new to the market, and Microsoft was mostly catching up with Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera.

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