Study says Netscape has half the browser market

Rohit Khare (
Tue, 11 Jun 96 18:06:01 -0400

If it's true caching is so successful it's affecting user-agent surveys by
20%, it's pretty impressive. IMHO, if it's a telephone interview survey, it
could be as simple as people not realizing what sw they use. Used to be, you
could call cellular customers and ask them what brand of service they had, and
AT&T held some large share of the market... except at the time AT&T had NO
cellular business at all!

So, it could just be a lot of people assuming all desktop software must have
made by Microsoft... :-)


June 5, 1996

Netscape lead challenged
Study says Netscape has half the browser market

By James Kim
USA Today

New research indicates Netscape's lead might be much smaller than widely
thought in the battle to be the "viewer" of choice for the Internet.

Monthly surveys of people who surf the World Wide Web - conducted by research
firm Market Decisions and commissioned by Microsoft - show Netscape's
Navigator browser leads with up to 50 percent of the market. America Online
has 20 percent to 27 percent, and Microsoft's Internet Explorer has 5 percent
to 10 percent.

Forrester Research and Dataquest estimate Netscape's share at 75 percent and
85 percent, respectively. Both peg AOL's browser and Microsoft's Internet
Explorer at under 10 percent each.

But this fall, Microsoft's Internet Explorer will become a part of AOL's and
CompuServe's online service software. When their more than 10 million
customers browse the Web, their first option will be Microsoft's browser. And
most will use it. That could boost Microsoft's bid to catch Netscape, said
Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi.

Based on Market Decisions' findings, Microsoft over time could end up with 30
percent of the market and narrow the gap with Netscape.

The implications are huge. Consumers and companies have widely adopted
Netscape's technology for publishing and viewing data on the Web because its
browser is so popular. That has positioned Netscape to emerge the winner in a
potentially lucrative industry. Microsoft wants that mantle but until now
"hasn't been accepted because its browser share is so low," said Forrester's
John Robb.

Why the disparity in market-share data? Forrester and Dataquest tally the
number of times specific browsers call up pages from well-known Web sites. But
that misses many AOL and CompuServe users. Those online services help
subscribers get Web pages faster by copying, or "caching" thousands of pages
from the Internet onto their own computers. So when users request pages, they
often come direct from an online service computer - not the Net.

Bill Svendsen of Market Decisions said surveys can catch those who use online
services to view pages and "is a more direct measure of market share than Web

Forrester and Dataquest say counting Web visits misses some traffic - but not
much. "At most, AOL will account for about 15 percent," Robb said. And
Navigator users probably spend more time on the Web, he said. Netscape
discounts the research. "I have seen no good measures" of caching, said David
Rothschild, Netscape director of marketing.