Just a week out of the gates, Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer (IE) 6 Web browser has already scooped up market share, surpassing AOL Time Warner Inc.’s rival Netscape 6 browser, according to information released this week by WebSideStory Inc., an outsourced e-business information provider.

In its first week on the market, from Aug. 27 to Sept. 3, IE 6 picked up 2.4 per cent of global browser user share, exceeding global usage of Netscape 6, which was released late last year, WebSideStory reported. IE 6 has continued to gain market share in the last week and had 2.6 percent of the market share Thursday, according to Geoff Johnston, vice-president of product marketing for WebSideStory’s StatMarket Web site.

WebSideStory did not reveal the exact amount of market share Netscape 6 holds, saying that they sell that information.

The company defined global browser usage share as a percentage of daily Internet users worldwide who access the Internet through a particular browser.

Although IE 6 has received quick adoption since its release, WebSideStory predicted that it would not gain market share as rapidly as IE 5 did, noting that Netscape has a loyal core user base and that consumers will need a viable reason to switch from IE 5 to IE 6.

IE 5 is the dominant Web browser today, according to the company. When it was released in early 1999, IE 4 held 55 per cent of the global usage share, and Netscape 4 boasted 26 per cent, WebSideStory said. However, by the first quarter of 2000, IE 5’s usage jumped to over 50 percent while IE 4 fell to 24 per cent and Netscape 4 experienced a decrease in usage, falling to 18 per cent of global browser users.

Since the release of IE 5, IE 4 has continued to lose market share while Netscape 4 has remained steady, the company said.

WebSideStory’s gathered its information via its StatMarket Web site design and software optimization service, which collects data from 50 million Internet users a day accessing more than 150,000 sites.

WebSideStory, based in San Diego, Calif., can be reached at http://www.websidestory.com/.

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