Mozilla Firefox is Europe's favourite browser

Mozilla Firefox

Internet Explorer's (IE) popularity has dropped over the festive season, allowing Mozilla Firefox to take Microsoft's crown for most popular web browser in Europe.

According to statistics published by web monitoring company Statcounter, IE's market share went from 44.91 per cent in January 2010 to 35.54 per cent in the final months of the year.

The stats for 'The Top 5 Browsers in Europe' showed a slight increase for IE to 45.5 per cent at the start of 2010, which gave way a fairly sharp drop in August. The browser never seemed to recover and another downturn in December allowed Firefox's slow rise, starting in August, to overtake Microsoft's signature browser.

Google Chrome has made considerable headway, though still not making its way into the territory of the big two. It started the year with only 5.78 per cent of the market but it steadily increased in popularity to gain a high of 14.58 per cent in December, increasing to 15.3 per cent this month.

Opera and Safari have both continually cruised around the four to five per cent mark for much of the year, ending with Safari at 4.62 per cent and Opera slightly below at 4.57 per cent.

Statcounters results offer an alternative view of the browser market layout when compared to the data from their competitors NetMarketShare. Its worldwide survey showed Chrome to have gained 10 per cent of the market last year and IE to still be on top with 57.08 per cent.