IE6's global market share has ballooned from just 2.4% shortly after its launch to 30.5%, the researcher said. Meanwhile, Netscape, which had been holding steady with 12% of the worldwide market for more than a year, dropped to slightly over 7% after the release of IE6.
While IE6 stands strong at number-two in terms of global market share, trailing only IE5, Netscape is not dead in the water yet, according to WebSideStory.
AOL Time Warner (AOLTW), which owns the Netscape browser, recently revealed that it is considering dropping Internet Explorer from its America Online Inc. Internet service in favour of a browser powered by the "Gecko" engine, which is software used by Netscape to display Web pages in a browser. With AOL's powerful presence in the market, and its already 34 million registered users, the researcher predicted that Netscape could launch a comeback if AOL decides to give IE the boot.
Additionally, the newly released Netscape 6.2 appears to be a stronger product than some earlier versions, which might bolster the browser's popularity, Geoff Johnston, vice-president of product marketing for WebSideStory's StatMarket service said.
WebSideStory said that it rates global browser usage share as the percent of daily Internet users that access the Net using a particular browser. The user statistics were gathered by the company's StatMarket Web site design and Web software developer service, which publishes information gathered from more than 50 million daily Internet users visiting 125,000 sites worldwide, the company said.
The researcher did not disclose whether the study was conducted independently or paid for by a company.