Web Browsers: Safari Up, IE Down in 2006

2006 established fairly standard growth patterns for Web browsers: Up for Safari and Firefox, down for Internet Explorer. The downward trend took Internet Explorer to its lowest marketshare percentage for the year at 79.64 percent. Internet Exploreris loss turned into gains for Safari and Firefox. Safari ended the year at 4.24 percent, and Firefox came in at 14 percent, according to Market Share.

Microsoftis Windows-only Web browser is still clearly the dominant player, but the steadily decreasing numbers indicate that not everyone is happy to use the application. It started the year at 85.31 percent. In January 2005, however, it held 89.44 percent of the market.

In comparison, Appleis Mac-only Safari climbed from 3 percent in January up to 4.24 percent in December. In January 2005, Safari held only 1.66 percent of the browser market.

The cross-platform Firefox started in January 2006 with 9.5 percent of the market, and ended in December with 14 percent. It, too, has shown a big jump since January 2005 when the browser held 5.59 percent of the market.

If the trends that started in 2005 and carried through 2006 continue into 2007, expect to see Internet Explorer continue to lose marketshare - unless Windows Vista, the new version of the Windows operating system, sells well to consumers this year.

As the popularity for the Mac continues to grow, weill also likely see a continued growth in Safari usage. The application ships with Mac OS X, making it the default Web browser for the majority of Mac users.