Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) web browser, now accounts for less than 60% of the market, down from 95% at its peak in 2003, according to new figures.
Latest statistics, from measurement firm NetApplications, show that IE has 59.9% of the market, with Firefox gaining on it, with 24.5%.
While third-place Google Chrome’s 6.7% share of the market looks tiny by comparison it is rising sharply, up from just 1.7% this time last year.
A new version of IE is imminent.
Microsoft has gradually been losing market share, largely due to concerns over security, experts said.
Measurement firms tend to agree that IE is losing market share although the percentage share of rival browsers is more hotly contested.
In the UK, research firm Nielsen suggests that IE still commands 70% of the market, with Mozilla’s Firefox on 18%. It does not include figures for Apple’s Safari.
It still shows a downwards trend for IE, losing 6% of market share since last year.
This could be due to more awareness of rivals, thinks Gartner analyst Jeffrey Mann.
“There are more viable alternatives now. Google has been advertising and there are more people using Macs and Apple’s Safari. There is just a great awareness that there are alternatives,” he said.
Recently people using version 6 of the browser were advised to find an alternative due to large security holes.
It may shift loyalty away from Microsoft, thinks Gartner analyst Jeffrey Mann.
“There were a lot of people using IE6 and some will have said that if they are going to change, they may as well look at some alternatives,” he said.
Microsoft introduced browser choice to European Windows users in March.