The ongoing battle for supremacy in the ultra-competitive internet browser race has taken another turn, with a new report confirming that Google's browser, Google Chrome, overtook Firefox for the first time on a monthly basis in November.
The news was confirmed by StatCounter, the free website analytics company, which said that Chrome took 25.69 per cent of the worldwide market, up from 4.66 per cent in November 2009. Firefox, by contrast, accounted for 25.23 per cent of global market use.
Despite this, the research firm confirmed that Microsoft's Internet Explorer still maintains a strong lead globally, boasting 40.63 per cent of the market share. Microsoft has led the field ever since it first launched Internet Explorer with its operating systems in the 1990s.
In the US, for example, Internet Explorer continued to perform strongly, maintaining market share at 50.66 per cent, up slightly from 50.24 per cent year on year. Firefox retained second place with 20.09 per cent, while Chrome was up to 17.3 per cent from 10.89 per cent.
One analyst, however, has suggested that Microsoft faces a long-term challenge to maintain its advantage. Aodhan Cullen, Chief Executive Officer of StatCounter, said that the firm will face increasingly stiff competition from Google over the next few years.
"We can look forward to a fascinating battle between Microsoft and Google as the pace of growth of Chrome suggests that it will become a real rival to Internet Explorer globally," Mr Cullen remarked.
"Our stats measure actual browser usage, not downloads, so while Chrome has been highly effective in ensuring downloads, our stats show that people are actually using it to access the web also."
Even though both companies continue to prosper, Microsoft and Google remain locked in an intense battle to seize control of the personal computer market. Microsoft, the company founded by billionaire entrepreneur Bill Gates in 1975, dominated the market in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Recently, however, Google has emerged as the world's biggest search engine and by virtue of its free cloud-based services, has managed to convince some Microsoft customers to turn to its products instead.
It remains to be seen, though, whether Google Chrome can topple Internet Explorer in the search engine race.