Microsoft's Internet Explorer halted the steady market share advance of The Mozilla Foundation's Firefox browser in July, a Web site monitoring company announced Friday.

Last month, IE, by far the most used browser, regained lost ground and pushed back the upstart Firefox for the first time since version 1.0 of the open source browser debuted late last year, according to, maker of applications for monitoring and measuring Web site usage.

Firefox's share shrunk to 8.07 per cent from 8.71 per cent in June, while IE grew its market slice to 87.20 per cent in July from 86.56 per cent last month.

Between January and June of this year, Firefox had posted monthly market share gains of between 0.5 per cent and 1 per cent at the expense of IE, according to, which compiles its browser usage data from more than 40,000 Web sites monitored by its service.

Slow before shrinks

July's results surprised's Chief Operating Officer, Dan Shapero. While he didn't expect Firefox to gain on IE forever, he did expect that Firefox's market share would slow down before it shrunk, he said.

However, Firefox's advances in the market against IE have been extremely impressive and at this point it's impossible to tell whether July's results are the beginning of downward trend for the open source market or a one-time anomaly, he said. has said in the past that reaching a 10 per cent market share would be a milestone for Firefox which could help it win acceptance in the corporate market.

Apple's Safari ranked third and grew its share slightly to 2.13 per cent from 1.93 per cent, while America's Netscape, which once ruled this market, slid a bit to 1.50 per cent from 1.55 per cent. Opera Software ASA's Opera came in fifth with a 0.49 per cent market share.