Microsoft's IE8, Google's Chrome post record gains in browser share

But IE numbers still dropping as rivals -- including Firefox, Safari -- gain users

Google's Chrome and Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) were the big winners last month in the browser share sweepstakes, according to Web measurement company Net Applications.

Chrome's usage share climbed by 0.4 of a percentage point, from 1.4% to 1.8%, the largest one-month increase since the browser debuted last September. The gain represented a 27% surge over April.

Microsoft's newest browser also posted its biggest-ever increase, gaining 3.7 percentage points to end May at 7.6% -- a one-month growth rate of over 91% -- as the upgrade process rolled out to more users.

Microsoft launched IE8 in March, but didn't begin offering IE6 and IE7 users an upgrade until the third week of April. Not until May, however, did Microsoft open the Windows Update throttle for the IE8 offer. The browser will not be pushed to corporate PCs managed by Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) until July, at which time IE8 should receive an additional bump in share.

IE8 presents a special tallying problem for Net Applications, the company said today. The trouble stems from IE8's "compatibility view" feature, which lets users display sites as rendered by the older -- and often Web standard-incompatible -- IE7. "This has lead to underreporting of Internet Explorer 8, since about one-fifth of IE8 browsing in our sample is done in compatibility view mode," Net Applications noted on its Web site.

Starting in mid-May, Net Applications began differentiating between "normal" IE8 mode and what it calls "IE8 Compatibility Mode," then adding the two to get the total estimated share of the new browser.

IE8 was Microsoft's only silver lining in May, as its other browsers' share continued to plummet. IE7 lost nearly 3.7 percentage points to finish at 40.8%; the ancient IE6, meanwhile, dropped 0.6 percentage point to end the month at 16.9%.

Tabulating the IE8 gains against the losses of IE6 and IE7, Net Applications pegged Internet Explorer overall as losing 0.6 of a percentage point, putting Microsoft's browser in charge of 65.5% of the total share. As in months past, that was another record low.

Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari both gained ground in May, continuing the trend where those two pick up most of IE's losses. Firefox ended the month at 22.5%, a gain of just 0.03 percentage point, while Safari climbed 0.2 percentage point to close the month at 8.4%, a record for Apple's browser.

Firefox's puny increase was significantly off its 0.3 point average for the last 12 months, and effectively stalled the open-source browser's march to the next major milestone of 25%, which Net Applications' data had earlier predicted Mozilla would reach by November. According to the newest numbers, Firefox now won't make the 1-in-4 mark until January 2010.

Mozilla may see a boost when it unveils the final version of Firefox 3.5, which is nearing "release candidate" status and should make final by the end of July.

Net Applications measures browser use by tracking the computers that visit the 40,000-some sites it monitors for its clients. The May browser data is available on its Web site.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags FirefoxGoogle Chromesafariweb browsersinternet explorer 8

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?