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Browser wars: Chrome took a bite out of IE in 2010

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The year 2010 is ready to be put into the Web browser wars history books. According to Net Applications, while Internet Explorer is still the most widely-used Web browser on the planet—ending the year with a 57.08 percent share—competitors managed to gain ground on IE during the year. And the biggest gains were seen by Google’s Chrome Web browser, which came close to doubling its share of the browser market during 2010.

Internet Explorer started off the year with a 62.12 percent share of the browser market, meaning that during the year it saw a net loss of just over 5 percent. Much of that gain was eaten up by Google’s Chrome, which saw a net gain of 4.76 percent for the year, ending December with a net gain of 4.76 percent.

Internet Explorer’s largest competitor remains Firefox, which rounded out the year with a 22.81 percent share. However, that score represents a net decline for the year: in January, Firefox commanded 24.43 percent of the browser market. For some time, Firefox has been the preferred alternative to Internet Explorer; it’s likely some gains seen by Chrome are the results of Firefox users switching over, or (in the case of power users) running both Chrome and Firefox side-by-side.

Apple’s Safari rose from 4.53 to 5.89 percent of the browser market over the year, buoyed no doubt by strong sales of Macintosh computers as well as the popularity of Apple’s iOS mobile devices. Opera saw a slight decline for the year, slipping from 2.38 percent of the market in January to 2.23 percent by December.

However, just because a browses’ percentage share of the market remains relatively flat doesn’t mean a browser is not picking up users: the overall browser market continues to grow, so browser continue to gain more users even if their share of the market remains relatively unchanged.