Netscape still leads browser market, IDC finds

While Microsoft made gains in every segment of the US Web browser market in 1997, Netscape's Navigator browser remained the market leader, according to a new study by International Data (IDC). Netscape's share of the browser market in 1997 was 50.5%, while Microsoft's Internet Explorer was used by 22.8% of Web surfers, IDC said. America Online's browser came in third, with 16.1%. Netscape saw its market share increase only among small business users, IDC says.

While Microsoft made gains in every segment of the US Web browser market in 1997, Netscape's Navigator browser remained the market leader, according to a new study by International Data (IDC).

Netscape's share of the browser market in 1997 was 50.5%, while Microsoft's Internet Explorer was used by 22.8% of Web surfers, IDC said. America Online's browser came in third, with 16.1%.

Netscape saw its market share increase only among small business users, IDC says. But with more than 50% of the market, Netscape is unlikely to be toppled from its overall leadership position in 1998, predicts Joan-Carol Brigham, a research manager in IDC's Internet continuous information research service and one of the report's authors.

Neither Microsoft nor Netscape derives revenues from their browsers any more, but having a larger share of the market is viewed as being of strategic importance to the companies.

In 1996 Microsoft held 18.5%of the small business market relative to Netscape's 44.4%. In 1997, Microsoft gained 8.2% in small business, for 26.7% of the U.S. share, whereas Netscape gained 2.3% for a 46.7% share.

Shipments of Web browsers within the U.S. are expected to grow from 10.1 million units in 1997 to 124.3 million units in 2002, a compound annual growth rate of 52%, IDC said in the report.

Other findings in the report, titled "U.S. World Wide Web Browser Market Review And Forecast, 1997-2002," include the following:

-- From 1996 to 1997, a shift occurred in applications used with the browser. E-mail, calendaring and scheduling, and document management made significant gains.

-- An examination of the five user segments (home, small business, medium-sized and large businesses, government, and education) shows most of the growth in the browser market occurred in small businesses.

IDC, in Framingham, Massachusetts, on the Web at http://www.idc.com/.

NOTE: Figures provided in an earlier version of this story, which put Microsoft's share at 42.8% and AOL's at 3% were incorrect.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Market Place

[]