Internet Explorer loses its place as Europe's number one browser for the first time

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The Independent Tech

Mozilla's Firefox overtook Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) to become the most used browser in Europe in December.

"This is the first time that IE has been dethroned from the number one spot in a major territory," commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter, in a January 4 press release. "This appears to be happening because Google's Chrome is stealing share from Internet Explorer while Firefox is mainly maintaining its existing share."

IE's market share dropped to around 37.52 percent in December 2010 while Firefox's market share remained fairly consistent at 38.11 percent.

Google's Chrome web browser grew to capture 14.58 percent of the market, keeping its lead over rivals Opera and Safari.

IE's recent European downfall can in part be attributed to the European Union's decision to provide European Microsoft Windows users with a "web browser ballot box" after finding the company had "abused their market dominance" to gain web browser dominance.  

The ballot box was introduced in March and provided European consumers with information about many of the different browser choices available to them.  

"Just two years ago IE dominated the worldwide market with 67%," said Cullen, and while the browser remains the number one choice for the majority of users around the globe, Microsoft's Internet Explorer market share fell below 50 percent of the worldwide market for the first time in September 2010.

IE is still the clear leader in North America. In December, IE took 48.92 percent of the North American market share. Firefox, Chrome and Safari trailed behind with 26.7%, 12.82% and 10.16% respectively.