IE Continues to Gain in Browser Wars

Dec 16, 2002

Thor Olavsrud

Internet Explorer continues to dominate the global browser market and has increased its share to 95 percent, according to new metrics published by Amsterdam-based Monday.'s stats largely jibe with those published by W3Schools, whose October 2002 results show Internet Explorer holding 93 percent of the browser market. said that since it last published data in September 2002, IE 6 has picked up an additional 5.3 percent, moving from 52.3 percent to 57.6 percent share. IE 5.x has 35.2 percent of the market according to's metrics, while IE 4.0 holds 0.9 percent. The firm also showed Netscape 7 picking up 0.1 percent from 0.5 percent to 0.6 percent, with the Netscape offering overall holding 3 percent of the market -- making it second place in the browser wars. Meanwhile, the firm said its data shows Mozilla holds global usage share of 1.1 percent and Opera 6.0 holds onto 0.8 percent.

It's in these details that's data begins to vary slightly with W3Schools. As of October 2002, W3Schools said Internet Explorer 6 holds 45 percent of the market, IE 5.x holds 46 percent of the market, and IE 4.x has 2 percent of the market.

The methodologies of both firms are similar. said a global usage share percentage for a particular browser is generated by measuring the percentage of Internet users -- and which browsers they use -- that arrive at sites using one of's services. W3Schools does the same with data generated by, a service run by CIO Information Network parent Jupitermedia.

However, Unix systems administrator Ben Rosenberg said such statistics should be taken with a grain of salt. Browsers use an identification string to identify themselves to Web sites, which is how counters and metrics firms can generate data about them. But a browser like Opera defaults to IE as its user string identification if the site is not configured to identify Opera. And both Konqueror and Mozilla users can change their user-agent string to IE to make sites accessible that are only geared toward IE. In fact, there is an add-on for Mozilla and Netscape that allows users to change the user string identification on the fly.

"It's really sad, and as anyone that works with the Internet daily can tell you if they really know their stuff, logs of browser idents and other such things are really just guessing and pretty much bogus," Rosenberg said.


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