RealTime IT News

Microsoft Gains As Browser Market Explodes

Netscape Communications Corp. retains its hold as the leader in U.S. World Wide Web browser market for 1997, although arch-rival Microsoft Corp. gained some ground, according to a new study of web browser software usage published by International Data Corp. (IDC).

However the report found that the browser market is still in its infancy. The researchers predict that the number of web browsers shipped in the United States will grow from the 10.1 million units shipped in 1997 to 124.3 million units in 2002, an annual growth rate of 52%.

Among the findings: Microsft made impressive gains among small businesses. Microsoft gained 8.2% in 1997 to capture 26.7% of U.S. small business browser usage. Netscape gained only 2.3% for a 46.7% share of the small business market.

"Although Netscape only made gains in the small business segment, the company was still able to maintain its number one position in 1997," said Joan-Carol Brigham, a research manager in IDC's Internet continuous information research service.

"However, Microsoft -- which increased its market share in all segments -- was able to achieve a high rate of new user adoptions and upgrades. This was accomplished by landmark efforts to market version 4.0 of Internet Explorer, which kept recognition high throughout 1997, and by shipping the product toward the end of the year."

The report, titled "The U.S. World Wide Web Browser Market Review And Forecast, 1997-2002," finds the greatest growth in browser usage occurred among small businesses.