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Browser trench warfare: Early 2014 report

As always who's winning the Web browser wars depends on whose numbers you believe. But the ranking charts all agree on one thing: There's been little change at the top in early 2014.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

As usual, NetMarketShare has Internet Explorer (IE) as the most popular Web browser with a global marketshare of 58.19 percent in February 2014. That represents a minute decrease from January's 58.21 percent. Its rival Web browser measurement company, StatCounter, on the other hand, has Chrome as king of the world on the browser mountain with 43.82 percent of February's market. This is a slight gain from January's 43.67 percent. The one thing that both agree on is that the most popular Web browser wars have become trench warfare: The top browser's marketshare aren't moving.

NetMarketShare Web Browser Feb 2014
As has been the case for ages, NetMarketShare has Internet Explorer as the top Web browser by a comfortable margin.

The reason there's such a big difference between NetMarketShare and StatCounter's numbers is that they use very different methodologies. I prefer StatCounter's numbers myself. In part that's because when I looked at ZDNet's own Web browser statistics for August 2013, Chrome was the number one browser, albeit by not nearly as wide a margin as StatCounter's figures.

StatCounter Web Browsers Feb 2014
While StatCounter, also as usual, has Chrome as the top Web browser by a wide margin.

Overall, the battle for the second and third spots does show some movement. By NetMarketShare's reckoning, Chrome is continuing to move ahead of Firefox. In February, Chrome had gained a half of a percent to reach 16.84 percent. This seems to have come at Firefox's expense, which dropped to 17.68 percent from 18.02 percent. NetMarketShare has Firefox as being in a slow decline for months now.

StatCounter, however, has IE as number two with 22.61 percent in February. This is a slight drop from its January mark of 22.85 percent. And who's gaining on IE? Why it's none other than Firefox. The popular open-source browser moved up to 19.29 percent from 18.9 percent.

As for the other popular Web browsers, Safari and Opera, both are far in the rear no matter whose numbers you use. NetMarketShare has Safari with 5.67 percent, while StatCounter has Apple's browser at a more respectable 9.68 percent Opera, alas, continued mired in last place with 1.23 percent by NetMarketShare's numbers and 1.34 percent by StatCounter's measuring stick.

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