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Microsoft's Internet Explorer maintained its title as the world's number-one browser last month, but who came in second? Stats from Net Applications indicate that Chrome is edging closer to pushing Firefox out of the number-two spot, but a report from StatCounter says Chrome has already surpassed Firefox.
According to StatCounter, Chrome had 25.69 percent of the global browser market in November, whereas Firefox had 25.23 percent—the first time Chrome has surpassed Firefox.
"We can look forward to a fascinating battle between Microsoft and Google as the pace of growth of Chrome suggests that it will become a real rival to Internet Explorer globally," Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, said in a statement. "Our stats measure actual browser usage, not downloads, so while Chrome has been highly effective in ensuring downloads our stats show that people are actually using it to access the Web also."
Stats from Net Applications, however, indicate that Chrome has a bit more work to do before nabbing that number-two spot. Firefox had 22.14 percent of the global browser market while Chrome had 18.18 percent, the firm found.
"Three years ago, we built Chrome to help spur more innovation on the web and we're excited that over 200 million people around the world are using it," a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. "We continue to remain focused on building a much better browsing experience and giving people even greater access to the web."
Google said the company does not disclose its internal usage stats.
Mozilla doesn't track market share information itself, but monitors browser stats from various organizations to see "how they track to our growth of daily active users of Firefox," a spokeswoman said. "We can't confirm the specific market share percentages they offer, however we do see correlating trends."
"Firefox demonstrated just how important browsers are but it's important to remember that the reasons for building Web browsers are significantly different from one company to the next," Mozilla continued. "Mozilla is unique in that we build Firefox to provide a truly independent offering, focused solely on individual experience and the overall good of the Web. Firefox is holding it's own in the face of increased competition, with hundreds of millions of users worldwide choosing a web browser that answers only to them."
There were rumblings about a possible Chrome victory over Firefox back in September, when Computerworld analyzed the StatCounter numbers and noticed an uptick in Chrome activity.
Both companies agreed that Internet Explorer was the top browser. But StatCounter put IE's market share at 40.63 percent while Net Applications said it had 52.64 percent.
StatCounter broke out U.S. numbers and said that IE had 50.66 percent of the market here, followed by Firefox at 20.09 percent, and Chrome at 17.3 percent. StatCounter said Chrome overtook Firefox in the U.K. back in July and maintained that lead in November with 24.82 percent to Firefox's 20.56 percent.
Net Applications, meanwhile, broke out browser versions and found that IE8 is the most popular browser worldwide at 28.2 percent, followed by Chrome 15 at 14.58 percent, IE9 at 10.25 percent, and IE6—the browser that won't die—at 8.03 percent.
In a blog post, Microsoft said that "IE9 usage share on Windows 7 worldwide is now higher than all versions of Chrome and all versions of Firefox—second only to IE8."
Over the Black Friday weekend, meanwhile, a senior editor at The Atlantic urged kids to take time out of their shopping schedules and update their parents' browsers. IE is still on a relatively slow upgrade schedule, but inspired by Google's quick-release approach, Mozilla is now releasing new versions of Firefox every few months, making it all the more likely that some parents are way behind in their browser update schedule.
Editor's Note: This story was updated at 12:30pm Eastern with comment from Google and again at 2pm with comment from Mozilla.___
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