RealTime IT News

IE Continues To Outpace Netscape

A new study released Wednesday shows Internet Explorer (IE) continues to top the browser charts, and what's more, is taking the Netscape faithful with them.

The report, from WebSideStory, Inc.'s StatMarket, shows IE 5 and IE 6 hold the number one and two spots for browser acceptance worldwide, with Netscape users dropping off "precipitously" to a seven percent acceptance rate -- a five percent dropoff.

Taking information gleaned from nearly 50 million Hitbox visitors a day (Hitbox is also owned by WebSideStory), the report's authors parsed information by operating system, browser version and browser plug-ins used by customers.

Geoff Johnston, StatMarket vice president of product marketing, said the advent and success of Microsoft's latest browser version, IE 6, has much to blame for Netscape's version 6 freefall.

The two disparate browser versions were released at practically the same time several months ago.

"The fast adoption rate for IE 6 has been a definite threat to Netscape's usage share," he said. "Although it looked originally as though Netscape had an entrenched core user base, IE6 has managed to take significant market share. It's do or die time now for Netscape."

IE 6 currently holds a little more than 30.5 percent user share, according to the StatMarket report.

Part of the blame, the report finds, is the owners of Netscape, AOL Time Warner . With more than 34 million users worldwide, you'd think the company would use the latest flavor of Netscape to drive their Web site.

Unfortunately for Netscape, however, is the fact AOL has been using IE as the Web browser people use to navigate the millions of Web pages, forums, shopping sites and other communities for the number one Internet service provider (ISP).

Johnston said Netscape might catch a break if AOL migrates its browser from IE to Netscape, though nothing definite is in the works. Until then, he said, the underdog browser is going to have to work on its technology.

"Netscape 6 seems to be a stronger product than some of the company's earlier release versions, according to its users," he said. "If AOL takes this step and Netscape continues to strengthen its browser, we could see another battle in the browser war."

Netscape officials were not available for comment on the report at press time.