Google has unseated rival Microsoft as global usage of Googles Chrome browser passed that of Microsoft's Internet Explorer for the first time, according to StatCounter, an independent Website analytics company.
StatCounter data from more than 15 billion page views (4 billion from the United States; 850 million from the United Kingdom) for the full month of May shows Chrome took 32.43 percent of the worldwide market, compared with 32.12 percent for IE and 25.55 percent for Firefox.
StatCounter termed the competition a battle royale between Chrome, IE and Firefox, as mobile devices and increased Web access worldwide keep the three players hustling for market share.
While attention has recently been focused on the battle between Chrome and IE, not-for-profit Mozillas Firefox with its loyal membership base should not be underestimated, Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter said in a prepared statement. He pointed out that an upswing of more than 0.6 percent in Firefox usage from April to May 2012 helped to push Chrome into pole position.
Apples Safari browser placed fourth with 7.09 percent, followed by Opera with 1.77 percent, and all others accounting for 1.04 percent user share. Rumors surfaced last week that social networking site Facebook was mulling a purchase of Opera to better compete with Chrome. The move would give Facebook an underlying browser architecture, including a mobile platform, without having to build one from scratch.
Microsoft still holds a comfortable lead in the United States with the IE browser, capturing 38.35 percent of the market in May, while Chrome trailed with 23.66 percent. Firefox followed close behind in third place with 22.41 percent market share, while other browsers (1.41 percent) and Opera (0.67 percent) rounded out the top five.
Chromes achievement is even more impressive when considering the fact the browser didnt even exist four years ago. However, Microsofts latest edition of IE and Firefoxs continued popularity indicate the browser battles will likely continueand escalate.
The browser wars are back with a vengeance, Cullen said. This time there are three major players competing for the top spot, but ultimately, the real winner will be the end user who can look forward to more choice and innovation as a result of this increased competition.
As the number of mobile Web users steadily increases, the major browsers are fine-tuning mobile versions in order to capture the growing market. In February, Google introduced Chrome for Android-running devices, which has likely been aiding in Chromes rise. According to a May 16 report from Gartner, devices running Googles Android OS accounted for more than 56 percent of the smartphones that shipped during the first quarter.