Trends: Vista Gains Ground, While Cuil Flatlines

The metrics-happy folks over at Net Application have updated their data on a number of industry trends for browser, search engine, operating system (OS), and Internet service provider (ISP) usage to include the latest numbers for the month of September. There is a mountain of interesting information about how people are using their computers--albeit few, if any surprises. We've selected a few of the more interesting tidbits to share with our HotHardware readers, such as the huge jump in iPhone Web browsing usage or the virtual death (or at least deep hibernation) of the Cuil search engine.

Web Browsers


There should be no surprise here, but Internet Explorer (IE) remains the most widely used browser by a large margin. However, its market share has been slowly chipped away by the increased usage of Firefox and Safari. Where IE once had over an 81 percent share of browsers two years ago, that number is now down to 71.5 percent. Firefox is the second-most popular browser, with 19.5 percent of the market share. After its initial release, Google's Chrome browser has dropped from a high of just over one percent of browsers used to about 0.75 percent. And while iPhone Web browsing only makes up 0.32 percent of the market, its usage jumped a remarkable 58 percent from July to August.

Search Engines


Once again, no surprise here: Google has a whopping 79.9 percent of the global search engine market. Yahoo comes in second at 11 percent, followed by MSN (3.2 percent) and AOL (2.2 percent). Cuil once had as much as 0.26 percent of the search engine share. That was on July 29, the day after it officially launched. By two days later on 7/31, it was below 0.1 percent and never came back. For the last few days of September, its user base was so small that its market share registered as 0.0 percent. Ouch.

Operating Systems


Windows Vista is slowly making ground--it now represents over 18 percent of installed operating systems. That's a sizeable jump from the less than 8 percent it had a year ago. Windows XP is still the most-used OS, with 68.7 percent of installed OSes--but it marks a noticeable drop from 79.7 percent a year ago. Mac usage has also steadily climbed in the last two years, from 5.2 percent to 8.2 percent of installed OSes. There are still some Windows 2000 systems out there, but not many (1.9 percent). And despite the growth of Linux usage in the last two years (a 133 percent jump), Linux still makes up less than one percent of installed OSes.



Guess which ISP has the largest worldwide market share? We'll give you a hint: It's the same ISP that recently announced a usage cap and has been wrestling with the F.C.C. Of all the ISPs and organizations through which users can get Internet access worldwide, Comcast took the largest piece of the pie at 9.8 percent. At a bit more than half Comcast's footprint, Time Warner's Road Runner comes in at 5.6 percent. SBC, Verizon, Cox Communications, AOL, BellSouth, British Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision's Optimum Online, Quest, and Virgin Media follow behind, respectively, all each with at least one percent of the market share. Obviously, the market shares for the individual ISPs are much higher for the specific counties within which they are based. Interestingly, it's not just ISPs that utilize significant portions of the available bandwidth. Apparently, the United States Department of Navy Network Information Center has enough users that its represent 0.08 percent of the worldwide Internet access; and the military's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command has 0.06 percent. Since the military has played a strong role in the development of the Internet since its beginning, its continued large footprint makes sense.
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