Use of the open source Firefox browser in Europe has grown five per cent in the past 12 months, and is approaching 50 per cent in some countries.
French web analyst firm XiTi reported that European use of the browser has risen to 24.1 per cent, up from 19.4 per cent last year. In Finland the rate is over 41 per cent. Overall, eastern Europe is leading Firefox use in the West.
The launch of Firefox 2.0 provided a big boost, according to the analysts, which Microsoft failed to match with Internet Explorer 7.
"Firefox 2.0 leaped forward on the week of its official launch between 23 and 29 October 2006 [representing] 3.7 per cent of internet visits generated in France against only 1.7 per cent for Internet Explorer 7," said the report.
"Firefox 2.0 continued to progress until the week of 13 to 19 November 2006 and achieved 7.2 per cent of visits, while Internet Explorer 7 attracted 3.3 per cent."
The UK languishes near the bottom of the Firefox usage chart at only 18 per cent of surfers. The lowest take-up on the continent is Italy at 15.5 per cent.
But Europe is not leading the world in Firefox deployment. Australasia proved the world's number one user for the second year at 24.8 per cent.
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