IDC Study Finds Netscape Remains Market Leader in U.S. World Wide Web Browser Market Despite Gains by Microsoft

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., June 24, 1998 — While Microsoft made gains in all user segments of the U.S. World Wide Web browser market in 1997, Netscape remains the market leader according to a new report published by International Data Corporation (IDC). This research reveals Netscape increased its share in the small business sector and still leads in all segments of the U.S. browser market. IDC forecasts shipments of World Wide Web browsers within the U.S. will grow from 10.1 million units in 1997 to 124.3 million units in 2002, a compound annual growth rate of 52 percent.

"Although Netscape only made gains in the small business segment, the company was still able to maintain its number one position in 1997," said Joan-Carol Brigham, a research manager in IDC's Internet continuous information research

service. "However, Microsoft — which increased its market share in all segments– was able to achieve a high rate of new user adoptions and upgrades. This was accomplished by landmark efforts to market version 4.0 of Internet Explorer, which kept recognition high throughout 1997, and by shipping the product toward the end of the year."

IDC research shows in 1996 Microsoft held 18.5 percent of the small business market relative to Netscape's 44.4 percent. In 1997, Microsoft gained 8.2 percent in small business for 26.7 percent of the U.S. share, whereas Netscape gained 2.3 percent for a 46.7 percent share. Total browser share rose 38 percent from 1996 to 1997.

In addition to market leader information, this study, The U.S. World Wide Web Browser Market Review And Forecast, 1997-2002, finds:

From 1996 to 1997, a shift occurred in applications used with the browser –aside from just browsing. E-mail, calendaring and scheduling, and document management made significant gains in the browser space.

An examination of the five user segments (home, small business, medium-sized and large businesses, government, and education) shows most of the growth in the browser market occurred in small businesses.

The study provides U.S. browser shipment, revenue, and installed base forecasts from 1997-2002, 1997 market share for shipments combining the five market segments targeted, and 1997 installed base market share by the five individual market segments (home, small business, medium-sized and large businesses, government, and education).

The report is part of IDC's ongoing analysis of the hotly contested World Wide Web browser market. A unique and highly accurate methodology has been applied which provides the most representative cross sample of users as well as a consistent tracking of market share and Web growth trends. Market share is based on this demand-side methodology while the forecast closely aligns with the IDC Internet Commerce Market Model®.

To purchase this report, The U.S. World Wide Web Browser Market Review and Forecast, 1997-2002 (IDC #B16054), please contact Cheryl Toffel at 508-935-4389 or For additional information about IDC's Internet research, please contact Beth Freedman at 508-935-4764 or

About IDC

Headquartered in Framingham, Mass., International Data Corporation provides IT market research and consulting to more than 3,900 high-technology customers around the world. With a global network of 375 analysts in more than 40 countries, IDC is the industry's most comprehensive resource on worldwide IT markets, products, vendors, and geographies.

IDC/LINK, an IDC subsidiary, researches and analyzes the home computing market, leading-edge technologies in telecommunications and new media, and the convergence of computing and consumer electronics.

IDC's World Wide Web site ( contains additional company information and recent news releases, and offers full-text searching of recent research.

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.

The IDC Internet Commerce Market Model is a registered trademark of International Data Group. All other product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.


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