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Integration and ISP deals drive Explorer gains, says Zona

Netscape is holding onto user mindshare, but corporate policies are swinging against it

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Following swiftly on research indicating that Microsoft was winning the browser wars (earlier story), the latest study from Zona Research suggests the company is actually losing. Zona concentrates its study on enterprise customers, and concludes that 60 per cent of users say Netscape Navigator is their browser of choice, despite the fact that 54 per cent of companies say Internet Explorer is their 'standard' browser. So Netscape appears to be holding up in the teeth of adversity. The numbers have tipped further in Netscape's favour since the last survey in July - the company has gained six percentage points to achieve the current 60-40 lead over IE. The discrepancy between the user preference and company policy numbers may be accounted for by the fact that only 63 per cent of companies actually have an 'official browser' policy. And what makes these policies? Says Zona chief analyst Clay Ryder, "We see from this study that 84 per cent of IE in use as the primary browser is policy-driven. "We believe this significant increase is largely due to the fact that IE 4.0 is an integral part of Windows 98, that Microsoft has continued to make inroads in the corporate marketplace, and numerous distribution agreements with service providers and other software vendors." Fancy a late deposition, Clay? It seems fairly clear that Zona is reasoning that its distribution factors that are driving IE forward in companies, whereas argues in its rebuttal of the DoJ, issued earlier this week (Microsoft spin-doctors 'refute' DoJ case), that IE is succeeding on quality. ® Click for more stories

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