Netscape Communications' Navigator may have stopped its slide in the enterprise browser war, increasing its market share over Microsoft's Internet Explorer for the first time since the spring of 1996, according to a report from Zona Research.
Navigator remains the browser of choice among corporate enterprise users, with a 60%share, up from 54% in Zona's July study. Internet Explorer (IE) captured a 40% share, down from 45% in July. Navigator peaked at 87% in April 1996, and has lost ground to Internet Explorer in every successive study, until this one.
The report attributes Netscape's rise in share to the company's decision to give away Navigator for free, made earlier this year. Microsoft has been gaining market share in the enterprise space because many companies have required its use, the study said.
"Corporate browser policies continue to greatly impact browser usage," the study states. "And we see from this study that 84% of IE in use as the primary browser is policy-driven."
In the overall US browser market, IE just surpassed Navigator, once again because some users do not have a choice, according to a study late last month by International Data (IDC).
Internet Explorer gained nearly 5% points since the beginning of the year, for a total of 43.8%, according to the IDC study, largely driven by America Online (AOL) subscribers who are forced to use IE.
Netscape lost nine points over the same period, dropping to 41.5% from 50.5%.