Microsoft's Internet Explorer saw a boost in market share during February, while Mozilla's Firefox dropped, according to new numbers released by the Central Intelligence Agency and analytics firm Netmarketshare.
The shift can be attributed to a re-balancing of Internet users by location, which gave China a healthy boost, while taking away market share percentage from countries that had originally weighed in heavier, such as the United States and part of Western Europe.
"In February, the C.I.A. released new data on how many internet users per country there are. It shows a large increase in the global percentage of Chinese users and a decrease in the global percentage of users from the U.S., U.K, Germany, France and other developed countries," the report said. "These geographic shifts in internet usage have an significant impact on the global usage share numbers starting in February."
For IE, that impact amounts to 63.26 percent on Windows machines, up from 62.40 percent the previous month. Meanwhile, IE8 jumped up 1.03 percent, with IE9 gaining a modest .10 percent, and the IE9 beta topping 2.09 percent of Windows 7 machines. As for Firefox, the browser dropped by a little more than 1 percent to fall at 21.74 percent of total Internet use.
Alongside the numbers, Microsoft announced that the release candidate of IE9 had been downloaded 11 million times since its release in early February. A Microsoft representative told CNET that number includes upgrades from the beta and Web downloads. Combined with previous download numbers of the IE9 beta, the total tally is 36 million, which Microsoft says tops combined downloads of the IE8 beta, and its release candidate.
Net Marketshare said that country-level reporting has been unaffected by the change, and that the adjustment will correct inaccuracies with its reports. The company also reported that the new CIA numbers had impacted Mac and iOS Internet use reporting, causing slight dips despite neither platform losing users.