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Top web browsers 2019: Firefox scores second straight month of share growth

Mozilla's Firefox wrapped up a two-month resurgence this week, clawing back some previously-lost user share to return to a level last seen in the middle of 2018.

The open-source browser remains the only major browser committed to using a rendering engine that is not based on Google's Blink or its predecessor, WebKit.

According to web analytics vendor Net Applications, Firefox's share rose by three-tenths of a percentage point in January, reaching 9.9%. The increase was the second consecutive month of user share growth and put Firefox back where it was last June.

Firefox's gains were important, as the browser flirted with dangerous territory as recently as November, when it slumped to below 9%. The trend at the time looked nasty; if the declines had continued at the 12-month average pace, Firefox would have fallen below 7% by August 2019.

The increases of the last two months have altered that forecast. The 12-month average, if continued, would still erode Firefox's user share, but at a much slower tempo: the browser should remain above 9% throughout this year, falling under that bar only in January 2020.

If Mozilla maintains the Firefox user share recovery, its efforts to revitalize the browser - starting with the November 2017 debut of Firefox Quantum - will be validated. What's unclear is whether that work will simply let Firefox survive or if it can trigger a return to a time when the browser was in solid second place (then behind IE) with a quarter of the world's share.

The browser maker does have a message that may resonate in 2019: On Windows, it will soon be the only major browser running on non-Google technologies. In December, Microsoft announced that it would abandon its home-grown rendering and JavaScript engines for those built by Chromium, the open-source project led by Google. Mozilla has already used that to argue people should download and try Firefox, and certainly will do so again.

Net Applications calculates user share by detecting the agent strings of the browsers people run to reach the websites of Net Applications' clients. The firm tallies the visitor sessions rather than count users, as it once did. In other words, Net Applications' data best illustrates user activity.


https://www.itworld.com/article/3199425/web-browsers/top-web-browsers-2019-firefox-scores-second-straight-month-of-share-growth.html


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