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.

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