Firefox 3 becomes top browser in Europe -study

HELSINKI, March 31 Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:47am EDT

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HELSINKI, March 31 (Reuters) - Microsoft last week lost European browser market leadership for the first time in years, when Mozilla's Firefox 3 took the top spot from Internet Explorer 7, Web analytics firm StatCounter said on Tuesday.

Mozilla Foundation's Firefox 3 had 35.05 percent of the European Web browser market last week, followed by Internet Explorer 7 (MSFT.O) with 34.54 percent.

"The move is partly explained by a small switch from Internet Explorer 7 usage to Internet Explorer 8, but also by growing market share overall by Firefox 3," Aodhan Cullen, the chief executive of StatCounter, said in a statement.

"The data shows that Firefox is closing the gap and is now just 10 percent behind all Internet Explorer versions in Europe," Cullen said.

In February Internet Explorer 7 had a global market share of 41 percent, followed by Firefox 3 with 24 percent, according to StatCounter. (Reporting by Tarmo Virki)

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