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Firefox 3.5 surpasses market share of IE7 and 8 (for now)

According to analytics provider StatCounter, FireFox 3.5 has surpassed the market share of IE7 and IE8 for the first time. That's good news if you like the idea of diversity in the browser "ecosystem", and great news for Firefox fans and web standards devotees. But looking at the trends indicated in StatCounter's graph, I'm not sure whether Firefox's top position will continue.

Here's the graph from StatCounter:

Source: StatCounter Global Stats - Browser Version Market Share

First of all, note that as the New York Times reports, the total number of IE users still eclipses the total number of Firefox users. Also, note the trends for FF3.5, which is gaining users, for IE7, which is losing users, and for IE8, which is gaining users. It's evident that the trends for IE7 and IE8 mirror each other pretty well, which leads to the fact that IE7 users are simply upgrading to IE8. It turns out that right now, the number of FF3.5 useres just happens to be at a higher point than both IE7 and IE8 while people are upgrading their version of IE. So, relatively soon, expect the number of IE8 users to climb back ahead of the number of FF3.5 users.

Still, it's reassuring to look at StatCounter's numbers across all browser versions. Note that total Firefox use is still gaining on total IE use:

Source: StatCounter Global Stats - Browser Market Share

In the end, what it shouldn't matter to us web developers which browser has what market share, as long as we leave behind the days of the IE6 monoculture. I think we all prefer our browsers to evolve newer, faster features, and to support web standards.