Mozilla's Firefox market share rises from 14.95% to 21.34%, a 6.39 percentage point increase, according to a recent market survey.
Microsoft's browser and operating system market share suffered in 2008 while competitors' products thrived.
According to statistics provided by Net Applications, Microsoft Internet Explorer's global market share fell from 78.58% in December 2007 to 68.15% in December 2008.
During that same period, the 10.43 percentage points lost by Microsoft accounted for almost all the gains among competing browser makers. Mozilla's Firefox market share rose from 14.95% to 21.34%, an increase of 6.39 percentage points. Apple's Safari market share rose from 4.85% to 7.93%, a gain of 3.08 percentage points. Google's Chrome browser, introduced in September, reached the end of 2008 with 1.04% market share.
Microsoft Windows remains the dominant operating system among the Internet users tracked by Net Applications, but it's a bit less so now than a year ago. The metrics company reports that the global market share for Windows fell to 88.68% in December 2008, down from 91.79% in December 2007.
Windows Vista use grew 16.06 percentage points during this period, from 5.06% in December 2007 to 21.12% in December 2008. Windows XP, however, lost 16.27 percentage points, dropping from 81.49% in December 2007 to 65.22% a year later. Windows 2000 went from 3.9% to 1.47%.
Apple's Mac OS X, meanwhile, gained 3.23 percentage points over the same period of time, rising from 6.4% to 9.63%. Simultaneously, the company's iPhone -- which, like the iPod touch, runs a version of Mac OS X -- saw its market share rise from 0.04% to 0.44%, taking Mac OS X as a whole past the 10% mark.
In terms of its share of the U.S. search market, Microsoft also fared poorly, declining from 9.8% in November 2007 to 8.3% in November 2008, according to ComScore. Yahoo's search share also declined over the same period, from 22.4% to 20.4%. Google saw its search market share grow from 58.6% to 63.5% over the same span of time.
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