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Firefox ahead of IE in Europe, boosted by Chrome effect

Brussels compulsory freedom browse choice helped too

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Mozilla’s Firefox just pipped Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to the European post in December, with the open source browser grabbing slightly more market share in Europe than Redmond’s own surfing tool.

According to StatCounter, which monitors browser usage, Firefox scored 38.11 per cent, while Internet Explorer pulled in 37.52 per cent.

In effect, all versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer were neck-and-neck in the final month of 2010, courtesy of Google’s increasingly popular Chrome.

"This is the first time that IE has been dethroned from the number one spot in a major territory," said StatCounter boss Aodhan Cullen.

"This appears to be happening because Google's Chrome is stealing share from Internet Explorer while Firefox is mainly maintaining its existing share," he explained.

Indeed, Chrome’s European market share has seen impressive growth in the past year, from 5.06 per cent in December 2009 to 14.58 per cent last month.

"We are probably seeing the impact of the agreement between European Commission competition authorities and Microsoft, to offer EU users a choice and menu of browsers from March last," commented Cullen.

Of course, Google’s recent splashy Chrome advertising campaign won’t have hurt the Mountain View Chocolate Factory's effort to get more people to use its browser either.

But over in North America, Internet Explorer still reigns supreme with a 48.92 per cent share of the browser market recorded last month. Firefox followed it on 26.7 per cent and Chrome grabbed 12.82 per cent. Apple’s Safari, meanwhile, carved into 10.16 per cent of that market. ®

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