Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox gained half a percentage point in market share at the expense of Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer during August, continuing the steady climb of the open-source browser, a Web metrics firm said.

Firefox now owns 11.8 percent of the global browser market share, said Aliso Viejo, Calif.'s Net Applications, a jump of .5 percent from July's 11.3 percent. Internet Explorer, meanwhile, now accounts for 83 percent of browsers used to surf the Web; that's down from July's 83.5 percent.

Other browsers posted slight gains in August, including Apple's own Safari (+.03 percent to 3.21) and Opera +.05 percent to 0.64).

Both Mozilla and Microsoft are working on the next version of their Web browsers. Mozilla, for example, released Firefox 2.0 Beta 2 last week, while Microsoft debuted Internet Explorer 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) the week before. Final release dates are still a mystery for both, with Microsoft only promising that it will deliver the new version for Windows XP before the end of the year and Mozilla retreating from an earlier schedule that put Firefox 2.0 in users' hands by late October.

IE 7, however, has seen its share climb this summer from under 1 percent at the end of May to 1.7 percent by the end of August. During that time, Microsoft released two iterations of browser. Firefox 2.0, however, has a miniscule 0.6 percent of the market share because Mozilla has been warning general users to steer clear of the previews.
Proud to see the mozilla developers catching up steadily. Let's just hope M$ doesn't borrow (*cough* steal) alot of Firefox's feature/plugin ideas.