Firefox 3.5 has become the most popular browser, finally wresting the lead away from industry behemoth Internet Explorer 7 according to StatCounter's latest figures.

StatCounter shows that a huge decline in IE7 use – as people move over to the more modern IE8 – combined with a big rise in Firefox 3.5 that has finally caused a change at the top of the browser leader board.

However, lest the anti-Microsoft brigade get too excited, it should be pointed out that the combined weight of IE6, IE7 and IE8 far outweighs Mozilla's Firefox, which pushed users much more heavily to the latest version.

Delayed

There was a time back in June that Firefox 3.0 looked set to overhaul IE7, but the arrival of 3.5 pushed things back, as early adopters jumped to the new browser.

The uptake of IE8, Microsoft's latest and, to be fair, greatest browser to date, has been steady, but has flattened through December, whereas IE7 has gone from a 43 per cent market share at the beginning of the year to just 21 per cent now.

Microsoft's overall market share has declined over the year, but this is due to a steady decline (23 per cent to 13 per cent) in the use of the terrible IE6 browser that has left the company with a whole host of legacy issues.

It should be noted that StatCounter does not list Google's Chrome browser in the list, although the 'other' category has experienced a significant rise.

Via Mashable