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Study: IE beating Navigator in business

Has Microsoft finally jumped far ahead in the browser race? Zona Research thinks so.
Written by ZDNet UK, Contributor

In a study of 308 corporate enterprises, Zona found that 59 percent of respondents are using Microsoft's Internet Explorer as their primary browser, while 41 percent of respondents are using Netscape Communications Corp.'s Navigator or Communicator, Zona reported Tuesday.

The results differ markedly from a study conducted last October, which found that IE was trailing Navigator in the enterprise by more than 40 percent.

The most significant reason for the shift? New corporate policies mandating uniformity in desktop configurations, according to Zona analysts.

When asked if their companies encourage or require use of a particular browser, 69 percent of those surveyed said such policies were in effect. Of those who said their companies had browser policies, 62 percent said Internet Explorer was the standard, while only 38 percent relied on Navigator or Communicator.

Since Zona started tracking browser usage in January 1996, enterprises with policies dictating browser usage have grown from 33 percent to 69 percent. "The fact that corporate policy dictates over two-thirds of all primary browsers in use reinforces the notion that the desktop browser has long ceased being a personal choice," said Clay Ryder, vice president and chief analyst at Zona, in a statement. "Designating a primary browser is now part of the greater IT strategy within the enterprise."

The study also found that a significant number of companies filter or monitor Internet access. For example, 33 percent of respondents indicated their organisation filters Web access based upon a list of approved sites and that 20 percent filter based upon the user's job function. Another 18 percent reported that their company filters Net usage based upon the size of the transmission, and 13 percent based upon the time of day. "One-third of the enterprises are filtering employees' Internet access based upon one or more criterion, and this sends the message that Internet access is a valuable corporate asset, Ryder said. "We believe Internet access within the enterprise is beginning to be viewed in the same fashion as other resources such as the telephone -- a resource that is available for corporate goals and achievement, not random personal use."

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