Firefox Market Share Slips in July

Microsoft's Internet Explorer has gained back some lost ground during the month of July according to, a California-based host of site usage monitoring services.

The slight drop in the alternative browser's popularity marks the first time it has lost market share since its introduction last year.

In July, usage of Internet Explorer grew from 86.56 percent to 87.2 percent, while usage of Firefox fell from 8.71 percent to 8.07 percent. Although Microsoft seemed to be the breadwinner from Firefox's loss, the market share of Apple's Safari also increased slightly from 1.93 percent to 2.13 percent.

NetApplications has said the 10 percent market share milestone was crucial for Mozilla as it would give Firefox more credibility among corporate users as a viable alternative to Internet Explorer.

Mozilla has already made moves to make its browser more appealing to corporate clients, including the creation of the Mozilla Corporation to oversee development of Firefox and Thunderbird.

A possibility for Internet Explorer's gains could be the initial beta release of Internet Explorer 7. While it was released as a closed beta during the month, copies of the install file were leaked out across the web and on P2P services.

Apple has also been working hard to improve its in-house browser, adding RSS capabilities and improving performance. Inclusion of the updated browser within the latest upgrade to Mac OS X -- known as Tiger -- could be fueling growth.

Even with the drop in market share, Mozilla announced on Sunday it had passed the 80 million download mark just nine months after the official release of Firefox 1.0.

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