But the browser that's profited the most from the rise in mobile browser usage has been Apple's Safari.
Safari, the default browser on all iOS devices -- and untouchable unless Apple relents on rules that bar rivals from the App Store or at least cripple those that are accepted -- accounted for 55.4% of all mobile browser used in February, leading the Android browser (with 22.8%) and Opera Software's Opera Mini (12.7%), and far, far ahead of Chrome (2%) and IE (1.6%).
Apple's mobile dominance -- Safari is used twice as much as the Android browser, even though Android smartphones and tablets outsell iOS devices by wide margins -- gave it a combined desktop-mobile share of 12% of all browser usage last month. Google's various desktop and mobile browsers, meanwhile, accounted for 17.3% of all usage, while Microsoft and Mozilla, neither with appreciable mobile share, ended February with 48.3% and 17.3%, respectively.
In plainer words, Apple's browser share of 12% is much closer to both Google's and Mozilla's than the desktop-only numbers indicate.
And the likely growth of mobile browser usage will only be good news for Apple, assuming Safari maintains its supremacy. If mobile continues to gain ground by its 12-month average, it will assume 20% of all browsing by April 2014; if the faster-paced average of the last three months continues, mobile should reach the 20% mark in Sept. 2013.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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