Microsoft's dominance is a well documented and controversial fact. Although much is said about how that overwhelming domiance came to be and various court cases are still debating the matter, another factor has also assisted Microsoft. It is also well known that there has been no serious, mainstream, attempt to offer a better all-round product than Intenet Explorer. Mozilla had been going from beta to beta for four years, Opera seems to have an almost snobbish attitude to Windows users while Netscape, at some point seemed to give up.
Things have changed. The official release of Mozilla has finally seen the light of day, Netscape seem to have greatly improved their browser from version 6.2 on and Opera, well Opera are still snobbish.
For all the marketing might of Microsoft, these new browser products have once again demonstrated that if a decent product is made available, people will notice it. As a result for the month ending June 21, Internet Explorer saw its share of the browser market drop, for the first time in quite a while, by 1.3 percent, according to OneStat, an Internet statistics research group. Don't open the champagne to celebrate Microsoft's demise yet though. Following the drop IE now only holds a miserly 95.3 percent of the market. In order to better appreciate however, what that drop means, the numbers for the other major browsers have to be looked at.
Netscape browsers were used by 3.4 percent of the 2 million user sample. That means AOL's baby showed an increase in use of 0.6 percent. Half of that increase, 0.3 percent, was a direct result of people using preview release 1 of Netscape 7.
Mozilla 1.0 was used by 0.4 percent of the sample. That figure is deceivingly low however and Mozilla's percentage constitutes an admirable achievement considering the official is only 2 weeks old and is an open source project.
Opera also saw its share of the market rise by 0.2 percent from 0.5 to 0.7 percent. Opera 6.0 was the sixth most popular browser for this month with 0.6 percent of the users prefering it to other options.
These figures do show that web surfers are not mindless pawns on Microsoft's evil chess game against the free market, but rather that everyone is willing to use any product which convinces them that they will be safe and worry-free while using it.