Internet Explorer 7.0 - yeah, but, no, but...

It being Christmas week and all, I've been fielding a number of calls from friends and relatives who've pressed the OK button on their latest Windows XP update - which, of course, includes the automatic download of the new version of Internet Explorer.

I can't say I'm too impressed with the way with which Microsoft has rolled out out its new version of Explorer.

But it seems I'm not alone in being a tad disillusioned with IE as, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, only 88 per cent of punters still use the official Microsoft Web browser interface.

That a nine per cent fall over the last two years, says the Internet rating company.

According to Alex Burmaster, European Internet Analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings, the the growth in take-up of Firefox shouldn't be ignored.

"Aside from its supporters' claims of its superior security and functionality, the open source nature of Firefox and its competition with Microsoft has a huge appeal to those who believe in the egalitarian and participatory ethos of the Internet," he said.

Nielsen's findings claim to show that UK Netters who use Firefox as their main Web browser average 28 per cent more time online and view 41 per cent more Web pages than the average IE punter.

And, says Burmaster, Firefox has a more male-centric and slightly younger user-base and its users are more heavy consumers of the Internet than their IE counterparts.

"This presents an interesting paradox - whilst its software more closely represents the new phase of user-generated content, or Web 2.0, the composition of its audience more closely mirrors that of the early days of the Internet," he explained.

Interesting stuff - I'm still torn, though, between Firefox and Opera...