Safari's fortunes vary a lot by region, device

It rules the U.S. mobile browser market, but it's not as strong abroad, nor on desktops

Safari is the preferred mobile browser in the U.S., but it's more of a challenger abroad and on desktops. That's the picture that emerges for Apple's browser from website analytics firm StatCounter's latest report.

More than half of U.S. mobile Internet browsing in March was conducted on Apple's Safari. While Safari was used for 55 percent of smartphone and tablet page views, Chrome, Google's browser, placed a distant second with an almost 30 percent market share. The default browser on Android devices came in third with 9.5 percent.

However, the story was different internationally, where Chrome took the top spot last month with almost 29 percent of mobile page views, closely followed by Safari with close to a 28 percent share. The default Android browser was third with 18.1 percent, followed by the UC Browser (10.8 percent) and Opera (7.1 percent). The UC Browser is designed by Chinese mobile Internet company UCWeb and is popular in that country as well as in India.

On the desktop, Chrome was the preferred browser in the U.S. with a 41.5 percent share of page views. Internet Explorer was second (28.1 percent) and Firefox took third (17.4 percent). Safari came in fourth place with an unimpressive 10.5 percent share. Internationally, the results were similar.

StatCounter also looked at the preferred search engine for Safari users on desktop, smartphone and tablet platforms: Google was the clear winner, both in the U.S. and globally, processing 83 percent and 88 percent of search queries, respectively. Google is the default search engine in Safari, the result of a pact between the Internet company and Apple.

StatCounter tracks data from more than 3 million websites to come up with its results.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'

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