Netscape browser market share drops to 25 per cent

Netscape Communications, a few years ago the undisputed leader in browsers, continues to lose momentum to Microsoft.

Today only one out of four people accessing the Net use Netscape's Navigator, while in March it was one out of three, according to Geoff Johnston, director of marketing and communications at WebSideStory, a company that tracks Internet traffic.

WebSideStory gathers data in real-time from 114,000 Web sites worldwide using the company's HitBox Web traffic analysis software. The results, published at http://www.StatMarket.com, shows, that 75.3 per cent of the hits registered on August 2 were powered by Explorer, and only 24.7 per cent by Netscape Navigator.

According to Johnston around 31 million individual visitors left their footprint at the measured sites. Microsoft's Explorer 4.x versions were the most frequently used (44.7 per cent), followed by the 5.x versions (24.9 per cent). Netscape Navigator 4.x was positioned third (22 per cent), followed by Explorer 3.x (3.6 per cent), Navigator 3.x (2.3 per cent) and WebTV (1.4 per cent).

The tracking software is primary used by smaller sites and not by Internet giants including Yahoo and Amazon.com. That doesn't affect the accuracy of the statistics, however, since much of the traffic on the smaller sites is coming from the larger sites, according to Johnston.

The data also shows that the use of Netscape drops every weekend. "One could speculate that it was because Explorer is pre-installed on most home PC's," Johnston said. "However we only report the data. We are not analysts."

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Dorte Toft

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