February 01, 2010, 9:17 AM — Google's Chrome gained browser market share in January at the expense of both Microsoft's Internet Explorer and IE's biggest rival, Mozilla's Firefox, according to data published today.
Chrome, which only recently grabbed the No. 3 spot from Apple 's Safari, ended January with a share of 5.2%, up 0.6 of a percentage point, said Web metrics company NetApplications.com. The increase, although slightly less than Chrome's jump during December, was the browser's second-largest since Google debuted the program in September 2008. Chrome has doubled its share since July 2009.
IE, meanwhile, lost half a percentage point to end January with a share of 62.2%, another record low in a long decline that cost Microsoft 's browser 10% of its share in the past year alone. If IE maintains the pace of the last three months, the browser will slip below the 50% mark in April 2011.
Firefox's share also dropped in January, the second monthly decline in a row. This was only the second time in more than two years that Firefox had lost ground in two consecutive months. Firefox ended January down 0.2 of a percentage point, to 24.4%. According to NetApplications, Firefox has yet to hit the magic 25% mark, having come closest in November 2009 before growth stalled.
Although Firefox 3.6 , which Mozilla released Jan. 21, grew by 0.7 of a percentage point and ended the month with a 1.1% share, the new version's launch couldn't stem the losses for the open-source browser overall.
Safari's share was up slightly, to 4.5%, while Opera Software's desktop browser was down slightly to 2.4%.
Microsoft's IE6 -- which Google recently announced it would stop supporting in some of its services -- again lost share last month, dropping 0.9 of a point to 20.1%. The newer IE7 also again fell, losing 1 percentage point and finishing January with a 14.6% share. Both declines were somewhat under the torrid pace of the last three months, when each edition lost more than a point per month.
IE8, the browser Microsoft issued in March 2009, captured some but not all of its siblings' losses: IE8 ended January with a share of 22.3%, up 1.5 points.