April's Browser Market share data has revealed that Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 remains the weakest performing year on year despite its 'feature-rich' userability.

The browser, now a year old since its release in March 2009, performed badly in its opening year, particularly with Google Chrome - its main rival - rising to 5.40 pct.

Mozilla, the makers of Firefox remained on 17 pct whilst, Opera the latest release coming in March this year faced compatibility issues losing 0.74 pct to just 0.5 pct since the beginning of the year.

Janco Partners who commissioned the study said that their latest test results showed IE 8 a more robust release whilst Microsoft's latest release was also 'feature-rich' and a 'step ahead of the other browsers'.

Google Chrome on the other hand, was said to have 'major defects'.

"In the last several months Microsoft's browser market has continued to decay" said the White Paper study, "Firefox and Google (Desktop and Chrome) continue to have the potential to eat away at the Microsoft browser monopoly."

"Users who move to Vista and Windows 7 can more readily have multiple browsers on their systems and switch from one to the other quickly and with little pain."

In addition, an EU rule that Microsoft include a feature for other browsers appears to have had little affect with users of Internet Explorer actually increasing since January of this year.

However, interestingly, whilst browsers for Google and Linux users of Konqueror continue to grow, most losses appear not to be over just Microsoft's browsers as users congregate to the major three of Chrome, Firefox and IE, but away from Opera, Mozilla (aka Seamonkey) and 'Others'.

Opera, whose latest release is a new release of its 'Presto' engine will be disappointed by the market share, as its latest release offered improved rendering speeds and support for higher web standards.

Microsoft whose browser continues to remain high at 67.73 pct will look forward to Internet Explorer 9 which it hopes will improve net speeds whilst maintaining its robustness and broad compatibility.

Internet Explorer 8, which included features such as 'Accelerators' and 'InPrivate browsing' on new tabs, was hoped to introduce users to more feature-rich browsing but has in retrospect failed.

The following are the results of the study:

Trends in Browser Market Share
1. Internet Explorer (67.73%) -3.71%
2. Firefox (17.88%) 0.79%
3. Google (5.40%) 1.49%
4. Konqueror (2.59%) 2.59%
5. Gecko (1.61%) 1.61%
6. Mozilla (1.36%) -1.36%
7. Safari (0.98%) 0.53%
8. Opera (0.50%) -0.11%
9. Other (1.95%) -1.83%