Microsoft's Internet Explorer halted the steady market share advance of The Mozilla Foundation's Firefox browser in July, a Web site monitoring company announced Friday.
Last month, IE, by far the most used browser, regained lost ground and pushed back the upstart Firefox for the first time since version 1.0 of the open source browser debuted late last year, according to NetApplications.com, a maker of applications for monitoring and measuring Web site usage.
Firefox's share shrunk to 8.07 percent from 8.71 percent in June, while IE grew its market slice to 87.20 percent in July from 86.56 percent last month.
Between January and June of this year, Firefox had posted monthly market share gains of between 0.5 percent and 1 percent at the expense of IE, according to NetApplications.com, which compiles its browser usage data from more than 40,000 Web sites monitored by its HitsLink.com service.
July's results surprised NetApplications.com's Chief Operating Officer, Dan Shapero. While he didn't expect Firefox to gain on IE forever, he did expect that Firefox's market share would slow down before it shrunk, he said.
However, Firefox's advances in the market against IE have been extremely impressive and at this point it's impossible to tell whether July's results are the beginning of downward trend for the open source market or a one-time anomaly, he said.
NetApplications.com has said in the past that reaching a 10 percent market share would be a milestone for Firefox which could help it win acceptance in the corporate market.
Apple Computer's Safari ranked third and grew its share slightly to 2.13 percent from 1.93 percent, while America Online's Netscape, which once ruled this market, slid a bit to 1.50 percent from 1.55 percent. Opera Software's Opera came in fifth with a 0.49 percent market share.