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Top web browsers 2020: Firefox, IE, Chrome all fall

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Mozilla’s Firefox slumped, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) crashed, and even Google’s Chrome dropped last month in the global struggle for market share.

August was as unkind to browsers as the year has been to their users.

According to data published yesterday by California-based analytics company Net Applications, Firefox’s share fell by two-tenths of a percentage point, ending August at 7.1%, a record low in its years-long decline. The last time the browser held such a small share was more than 15 years ago, in March 2005, as it was building to be a legitimate alternate to the then-monarch IE.

By Net Applications’ measurements, Firefox lost the equivalent of 2.2% of its share during August. Mozilla’s own data — in the form of monthly average users, or MAU — also showed a decline for Firefox, albeit a smaller 1.3% downturn.

Firefox’s troubles have so accumulated that the open-source browser resembles a beat up junker near the end of a demolition derby: It’s a wonder it keeps going.

Mozilla not only has to deal with the share decline of its premier product but also with financial troubles going as far back as 2018, and more recently, a massive layoff of a quarter of its workforce. Every month’s share decline only reminds users — whether current or potential — of Firefox’s fragility.

Nor does Computerworld‘s forecast bring good news. The latest predicts that Firefox will fall below 7% in October (a month earlier than last month’s prognostication), and pegs Firefox’s share a year from now at 5.8%.

How much longer can Firefox take this? That’s a question Computerworld can’t answer. There is no set number at which a browser becomes inconsequential. But there also has never been a browser that, after accounting for at least 25% of all share, has recovered from a decline that drove it into the single digits.

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