There are two bits of good news for Microsoft based on the latest usage share figures from NetMarketShare for June.
Internet Explorer 10 continues to maintain good growth in browser share by gaining 4.26 percentage points between May and June, while Windows 8 has surpassed Vista's declining share, pegging in at 5.1 percent of the usage share market.
While IE10's rising share is showing promise, IE8 remains the powerhouse of the browser market — though the company is seeing month-on-month declines. Meanwhile, Windows 8 maintains overall sluggish growth, gaining just 0.8 percentage points between May and June, partially offsetting Windows 7's natural decline.
And here's where it gets interesting: Vista's usage share actually grew marginally from 4.51 percent in May to 4.62 percent in June. According to my colleague Ed Bott, that's simply a "rounding error."
For all intents and purposes, Windows 7's usage share remains, on the whole, flat compared to Windows XP's ever-declining share of roughly 0.5 percent each month. But Windows 7 remains the most popular operating system on the market, taking 44.3 percent, with Windows XP just behind at 37.1 percent.
Apple retains about 6.6 percent of the overall desktop usage share market — higher than Windows 8's current share, and higher than Vista's declining share — but shows that the Mac hardware maker is seeing a higher rate of fragmentation on its desktops than in its mobile smartphone and tablet space.
Looking at the competitive browser market, there has been a surge in alternative "other" browsers between May and June. Little data is available on this. However, in the named browser game, Internet Explorer 8 remains in the top spot. In a month or two, it's expected that thanks to being introduced on Windows 7, Internet Explorer 10 will break through as the most popular-named browser in the usage share space.
Internet Explorer 9 remains in freefall, dropping about 4 percentage points between May and June, while Chrome 26 and Firefox 20 saw almost zero share in June due to the automatic browser updating. In effect, it's not a crash of alternative browsers; rather, most users are now on Chrome 27 and Firefox 21 and 22, respectively.
With that, browser usage share shows that Chrome 27 has around 13.7 percent of all users, while Firefox 21 has about 12.5 percent. There is a newer version of Firefox that will likely see the numbers change, but they have yet to be updated on the NetMarketShare pages. Safari takes about 3.3 percent of the usage share, with other browsers taking 16.5 percent collectively.
The browser market remains more fragmented and evenly distributed than the operating system market.
That said, Microsoft still owns more than half of the browser space, with 53.9 percent usage share across its three major versions of Internet Explorer. This is compared to alternative, non-IE browsers that collectively take 45.8 percent of the usage share.