Firefox Usage Passes 15 Percent in US

Mozilla's Firefox browser continues to post gains in market share, according to Web analytics firm, while usage of Internet Explorer has fallen more than 2 percent since May. Opera, meanwhile, has surpassed 1 percent market share worldwide.

Worldwide, Firefox now holds 12.93 percent of the market, up from 11.79 percent in May. The open source browser commands a 15.82 percent usage share in the United States, and a whopping 39.02 percent in Germany. Australians are also big Firefox users, with the browser holding 24.23 percent of the market down under.

Internet Explorer use has fallen below 80 percent in the United States to 79.78 percent, according to OneStat, although IE still accounts for 83.05 percent of the browser market globally. British Web surfers are the biggest IE users, giving Microsoft's browser 86.23 percent of the market.

Opera, which recently launched version 9.0 of its now-free namesake browser, continues to inch up the rankings. Usage of Opera is 4.69 percent in Australia and over 1 percent in Canada and Germany. Worldwide, Opera accounts for exactly 1 percent of the browser market, OneStat says.

Apple's Safari retained its number three position behind IE and Firefox, accounting for 1.84 percent of the browser market around the world. In the United States, where Apple primarily focuses, Safari holds a usage share of 3.28 percent. AOL's Netscape, which is now based on Firefox, is the fifth top browser with a 0.16 percent share.

The browser race is expected to heat up again later this year. Both Mozilla and Microsoft hope to have new versions of their browsers -- Firefox 2.0 and IE7 -- released to the public by the end of 2006. In the past, Mozilla has been able to successfully use its new browser releases as opportunities to expand market share.

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