Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) - the second most-favored stock play among 450 equity hedge funds we track - has had a dominant mobile web browser over the last few years since the company introduced the iPhone. Though Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and its Android operating system has more units in the market, but it has not yet gathered a consistent following with its own mobile browser. However, it seems that Safari's stranglehold in the mobile browser market is weakening, and there may be an opportunity for Android.
Based on data gathered by Net Applications in February, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Safari browser grabbed more than 55 percent of mobile browser traffic, among more than 160 million visits to 40,000 web sites. While that is a hefty number, that is down from 61 percent market share just a month earlier. Grabbing the second spot was the stock Android browser - which is found mostly on older Android devices - grabbed more than 22 percent of all the traffic, while Opera Mini was the only other browser in double-figures with more than 12.5 percent.
Among the rest, the top five is rounded out by Chrome from Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), and the mobile version of Internet Explorer by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), which accounted for 3.5 percent of the market share combined. Chrome's market share has held steady for the last couple of months, while Internet Explorer has been growing for the last several months.
While there seems to be little danger that the Safari browser by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is going to lose the lead in market share in the near-term, there has been a steady decline in the market share for Safari - it owned 66 percent of the market last summer - showing that Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and others are starting to make some headway.
Give us your thoughts about what this might mean in the mobile marketplace overall, and especially where Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is positioned. What do you think? Does this signify anything or note for you?
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.
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