Chrome Gains As IE Slips Below 60 Percent

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Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has slipped below the 60 percent mark market share for the first time in years, as Chrome continues to grow

The battle for market share in the browser sector continues to surprise, after Google’s Chrome web browser grew to 6.7 percent market share through April.

The gain, noted by market stats watchers Net Applications, comes after Google cracked 6.1 percent share through March. Chrome grabbed 5.6 percent market share through February.

Internet Explorer Slips

Microsoft Internet Explorer grabbed 59.95 percent, falling below the 60 percent mark for the first time in years.

Mozilla Firefox gained a bit to 24.59 percent from 24.52 percent in March. That browser, once considered a major threat to IE, continues to hover around the 25 percent mark.

Perhaps buoyed by the iPad, Apple’s Safari browser rose a tad to 4.72 percent, up from 4.65 percent share from March.

Chrome Growth

But it is Chrome’s ascension that is the real story here. Chrome launched in September 2008 and while growth was anemic for the first several months of the browser’s life, the application got its legs under it in the latter half of 2009.

The fledgling browser held only 1.6 market share through March 2009, toiling its way to 2 percent in May last year and 3.2 percent in September, before jumping to 4.6 percent in December.

Chrome began seeing great pickup after 8 December, when Google launched beta versions of Chrome for Mac and Linux. Chrome notched 5.2 percent of the market through January and 5.6 percent through February before hitting the 6.1 percent figure last month.

Chrome needs only to gain a percentage point of share every two months to top 10 percent by December, which is all but a certainty given the browser’s current growth pace.

Google is carefully grooming its browser, regularly upgrading its versions for Windows; the company added machine translation and privacy features in March, and has been nurturing extensions.

Chrome OS

Chrome could see a boost in growth toward the end of the year, as Google is developing the Chrome Operating System. Chrome will sit atop Chrome OS, allowing users to access web applications.

Chrome OS is slated to appear on netbooks by December 2010, and perhaps in tablet computers beyond that.

If Chrome OS netbooks sell well, Google can expect greater growth for the browser through next holiday season as it takes on the role IE took on when it was bundled with Microsoft Windows.

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