Apple Hypes Downloads of Safari, Loses Market Share

At the same time Apple bragged that users had downloaded 11 million copies of its Safari 4 browser in just three days, Safari's market share was slipping, a Web metrics company said today.

According to Net Applications, Safari's share of the browser market for the week June 7-13 was 8.36%, down .07 of a percentage point from May's 8.43%. The slip represents a decline of more than 8% of Safari's total.

Apple unveiled the finished version of Safari 4 on June 8 during its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote.

Last Friday, Apple said more than 11 million copies of Safari 4 had been downloaded in the first three days of its availability. Over half -- six million -- were the Windows version. Apple failed to note that it had immediately started pushing Safari 4 to both Mac and Windows users as an update, but bloggers wasted no time noting that fact. Several speculated that most, if not all, of the 11 million copies were upgrades, not new installs.

Net Applications' numbers appear to bear that out. According to the data for the week starting June 7, the Mac version of Safari 4 gained 0.83 of a percentage point and the Windows edition of the new browser increased its share by 0.08 of a point. At the same time, older versions slid significantly: Safari 3.2 and 3.1 on the Mac, for example, lost 0.65 and .013 percentage points, respectively. Safari for Windows 3.2 dropped 0.02 of a point.

The public beta of Safari 4, which Apple unveiled in February, also lost 0.05 of a percentage point last week.

As Safari's share shrunk, Internet Explorer's grew, Vince Vizzaccaro, Net Applications executive vice president of marketing, said in an e-mail Monday. "With all the new browser releases of late, it may be surprising to some that IE is up so far in June," said Vizzaccaro. For the week June 7-13, Microsoft's IE accounted for 66.55% of the browser market, a .05 point increase over May's 65.50.

Vizzaccaro pegged IE8, the Microsoft update released in March and fed to users via Windows Update in April, as the fastest-growing browser. "The big winner by far is IE8," he said.

While IE8 accounted for 7.64% of the browser market in May, last week it had a share of 13.11%, an increase of 72%. IE8's numbers last week were also up dramatically from the week before -- May 31-June 6 -- when the browser held a 9.24% share. The week-to-week boost represents a growth rate of 42%.

Chrome was on a roll last week, too, said Vizzaccaro. Google's browser increased its share from May's 1.8% to 1.93%.

The two browsers that lost the most share last week were Mozilla's Firefox, down to 21.4% for the week from May's 22.51%, and Safari.

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