While Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser has lost further market share this year there has been a significant slowdown in the acceptance of its largest competitor the open source Firefox browser according to a white paper released by Janco Associates on Aug. .
Internet Explorer has continued to lose market share this year to . percent share in July from . percent in January and . percent in July . That comes off its January peak of . percent the paper written by Janco CEO Victor Janulaitis says.
"While Microsoft lost some browser market share in by the third quarter it seems to have stopped the rapid advance of Firefox. The delayed release of IE could be a bad omen for its market share but on the positive side Microsoft has announced that when IE is released it will be distributed as a 'Live Update' that will be tagged as a security release" the white paper says.
That move should help minimize any loss in market share caused by those users who would take it as an opportunity to evaluate other browsers the report notes.
A summary of the Janco white paper report can be found here.
In contrast Firefox's market share rose to . percent in July up from . percent in January and . percent in July .
But two factors have helped slow its acceptance: the continued disclosure of security issues within Firefox and the fact that it lost a number of users because of its incompatibilities with IE the paper says.
"Some Web sites looked and acted differently. We interviewed a number of corporate users who said this was one of the primary reasons they migrated back to Microsoft's IE" the report states.
The Netscape browser has also lost some ground this year slipping . percent to maintain its No. market share position of . percent the white paper says noting that the introduction of Netscape version . has not been widely accepted by the Internet browser community.
"In interviews with selected users we found that many of them were turned off by the installation process. We often heard the comments that the process was ad and popup window laden.
"In addition several of the individuals we interviewed felt that the 'overhead' associated with the ads in Netscape made it a much less effective tool to use. However they did say they like many of the new features including tabbed browsing" the paper says.
But there is some good news for Microsoft in the paper which says that while Firefox continues to gain ground there has been a significant slowdown in its acceptance primarily because Microsoft is managing to successfully hold onto its Internet Explorer base.
"The acceptance of Firefox by new users has now slowed to the point that a major innovation would have to take place for new users to try the browser. While Firefox is challenging Microsoft like no other competitor has done in quite some time its usage has stalled at one to two users out of " the paper found.
While Firefox and Netscape were slowly edging away at the Microsoft browser monopoly the recent announcement by Netscape parent AOL that it is shifting focus to an advertising model could signal a change in the longterm emphasis on its browser.
"With that shift Firefox will have to come up with some new and exciting features to increase it acceptance by users" the paper says.
With regard to the methodology behind the white paper Janco of Park City Utah says it develops and maintains several Web sites.
As part of its normal business needs Janco monitors browser visitors to those sites and captures the type of browser that visitors to those sites are using.
The sites are maintained at Janco's corporate offices Janco's outsourced Web servers and other remote Internet sites.
All of the sites are commercial in nature with a business to business focus the paper says.
"We do not receive any compensation from any of the providers of browsers to conduct this study. Janco captures one record for each unique visit to the sites monitored. If a user leaves the site and returns a second time that is counted as another visit. The survey is accurate to within plus or minus percent" it says.
The white paper also makes the following recommendations: IE users should continue to use that browser and if they need features like tabbed browsing should look for the IE addon or test Firefox to see if it meets their needs.
As Firefox now meets the requirements of most Internet users Janco recommends that the browser be installed and used at this time but advises against installing Netscape Version ..
In summary Janco said that over the past two years there has been "nothing new" from Microsoft and AOL on the browser front bar some cosmetic changes.
Security breaches in IE have been rampant with many hackers focusing on the product that they could do the most damage to.
As Firefox gains market share it is expected to face the same issues.
Firefox's future growth will depend on how exposed its code is and how quickly it responds to security breaches it said.
"The antiMicrosoft feelings in part of the user community continue to increase with each new security breach. Users are now starting to blame Microsoft for the breaches because of poor design or poor implementation. This is making it easier to justify moving away from the problem &; Microsoft" Janco said in the paper.
That in turn means that users are now looking to solutions other than IE and Firefox could be positioned to gain even more market share in the future the paper concluded.