Firefox sets new share record, cracks 19% market share

Mozilla used the launch of Firefox 3.0 last month to boost its browser market share to over 19%, a Net measurement company said Wednesday.

Most of Firefox’s overall gains appeared to come from rival Microsoft Corp., Internet Explorer (IE), according to data from Net Applications Inc., although the newest version’s growth was primarily due to users updating from Firefox 2.0.

Other browsers, including Apple Inc.’s Safari and Opera Software ASA’s Opera, also gained ground in June.

Firefox closed the month with a 19% share, up 0.6% over May, while IE slipped 0.7% to 73%. Safari, meanwhile, was up 0.06% to 6.3%, while Opera increased its share by 0.02% to 0.7%.

Most of Firefox’s increase came during the week following version 3.0’s release, when the combined share of Firefox 2.0 and 3.0 jumped from 18.2% before the June 17 launch to 18.6% immediately after. In the last week of the month, however, the two browsers’ combined share increased only by 0.02% over the week prior.

And as Net Applications noted shortly after Firefox 3.0’s debut, June’s data showed that much of that version’s growth came from upgrades rather than users switching from rival browsers. In the first full week following Firefox 3.0 going final, Firefox 2.0’s share dropped 1.57 percentage points, nearly identical to the 1.59 points gained by Firefox 3.0.

As was the case last month, Firefox’s June share was a new record for the open-source browser, which has been on a two-month climb after being interrupted in April when its share slipped somewhat. Last month’s increase was nearly equal to the increase of the month before, which in turn had been the largest for Firefox since December 2007.

Safari and Opera also posted record market shares in June, reported Net Applications, while IE reached a record low last month.

Based on trends, Net Applications has projected Firefox will break the 20% share bar sometime in July.

Net Applications’ browser share and trend data is available online.

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