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Internet Explorer Gains Market Share, Firefox, Chrome Decline

July marked the third consecutive monthly gain for IE 8, extending its lead as the world's most popular browser, according to NetApplications.
Microsoft's share of the worldwide browser market grew in July, as Internet Explorer snatched market share from Mozilla's Firefox for the second consecutive month, a web metrics firm reported.

IE's market share grew by 0.42% in July, bringing the overall gain since May to about 1%, NetApplications said in releasing monthly figures Monday. Over the same period, Firefox lost 1.41% of its market share.

From the end of June through July, IE also grabbed share from Google Chrome, which lost 0.08%. At the end of July, IE had a 60.74% share, Firefox, 22.91%, and Chrome, 7.16%.

Net Applications also found that IE 8.0, the latest version of the browser, extended its lead as the world's most popular browser by 0.98%. The July increase marked the third consecutive monthly gain for the browser, Net Applications said.

Rounding out the top five browsers were Apple's Safari with a 5.09% share and Opera, 2.45%. Safari's share has risen steadily since February, when the browser had a 4.45% share.

As the de facto browser for Macs and the iPad, Safari's growth is expected to continue rising. In June, Apple said it had sold more than 3 million iPads since its release in April. Some analysts expect the company to sell more than 7 million iPads this year.

Microsoft quickly seized on the latest numbers, saying security and privacy features in IE 8 were important drivers behind the browser's success. Looking to the future, Ryan Gavin, senior director of IE business and marketing, said there was a "great buzz" among developers and browser enthusiasts on upcoming IE 9. Microsoft reports 2 million downloads of IE 9 Preview.