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By | John Leyden 3rd November 2005 18:11

Firefox gains ground on IE

Alternative browser crosses one in 10 milestone

More than one out of 10 surfers use Firefox as a browser, according to a study by web analytics firm Although Mozilla-based browsers have a total global usage share of 11.51 percent - an increase of 2.82 per cent since April 2005 - Microsoft's Internet Explorer still dominates the global browser market with a global share of 85.45 per cent. Its share has slipped 1.18 per cent from the end of April.

For some unexplained reason, Mozilla's browsers are more popular in the USA (14.07 per cent use Firefox) and Canada (16.98 per cent) than in the UK (4.94 per cent), according to Its figures come from a survey of two million visitors to sites running's Web site services. JavaScript code on these Web sites is used to detect which browser a surfer is using.

Many mainstream web sites are difficult, if not impossible, to use by surfers who prefer Opera, Konqueror, Mozilla and other alternative browsers. To get around this problem its common for alternative browsers users to try agent spoofing - a trick which allows Opera users (for example) to present themselves to web sites as users of IE. claims the methodology of its survey allows it to factor out this behaviour.

Although has witnessed a steady increase in Firefox usage over recent months other firms report the opposite trend. Last month, web applications provider NetApplications reported that Firefox was losing ground to IE with usage of the open source browser down to 8.07 per cent in July compared to 8.71 per cent in June 2005. Either this was a temporary blip or one or other of web analytics firms is getting its trends in a tangle. We're not sure which. ®

The web's most popular browsers, according to

  1. Microsoft IE - 85.45 per cent
  2. Mozilla Firefox - 11.51 per cent
  3. Apple Safari - 1.75 per cent
  4. Opera - 0.77 per cent
  5. Netscape - 0.26 per cent
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