US Report: Bad day for Netscape

Internet Explorer's market share increased by nearly 10 percent during the first half of the year, according to a usage study released Tuesday by AdKnowledge Inc.

Internet Explorer is used to access pages 45.6 percent of the time, up 9.6 percent from a survey conducted in January by the advertising management services firm. Netscape's Navigator browser continues to hold the majority of the market with 52.2 percent but dropped 8.9 percent during the first half of the year.

Particularly telling in the AdKnowledge survey is that even outdated versions of IE gained market share during the first half of the year. While the latest 4.0 versions of Navigator and Internet Explorer have the largest share of the market with 29 percent and 23.7 percent of the market, respectively, usage of IE 3.0 increased 1.4 percent to 20.3 percent, and IE 2.0 saw usage increase to 1.6 percent for June compared with six-tenths of 1 percent in January.

The increased usage of older versions of IE likely stems from new Internet subscribers using older computers - and older pre-loaded browser software - to access the Web for the first time, said David Zinman, director of product management at AdKnowledge. "If you have your stuff installed on computers, I guess people are eventually going to use it," Zinman said.

For the first time ever, Internet Explorer grabbed the majority of Internet usage from people using the Windows 95 operating system. On Windows 95, IE edged Navigator 51 percent to 49 percent, according to AdKnowledge.

AdKnowledge collected its survey information on a single day - June 10 - by recording which browser was used in accessing pages where it serves ads. The survey covered 10 million page views served on a single day across more than 1,000 sites.

AdKnowledge collects the information to give advertisers information on browser usage that can be used to tailor ads to suit the technical capabilities of commonly used browser software, Zinman said.