Chrome’s share reached a record high in May, the fifth straight month of gains, a run the browser last enjoyed three years ago.

According to data published Monday by California metrics vendor Net Applications, Chrome’s share in May climbed six-tenths of a percentage point to 69.8%. The browser has been on a run of late, with the previous five months – January to May – putting 3.2 points on Chrome’s ledger. The only other browser to post gains during that stretch – Safari – added a mere two-tenths of a point.

To put Chrome’s position into perspective, no browser has had more than Chrome’s current share since December 2008, when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) held more than 70% even as it was trending down, under assault from Mozilla’s Firefox. (That month, Chrome, which had debuted only months before, accounted for a tiny 1.4% of all browser share.)

May’s addition changed Chrome’s 12-month forecast, which now predicts the browser will reach 70% this month (June) but will need until December to make 71%. If Chrome breaks the 70% bar, it will become only the third browser to do so, following Netscape Navigator (an ancestor of Firefox) and IE.

It’s unclear how much headroom Chrome has – it seems very unlikely that it can duplicate IE’s crushing dominance of, say, 2005, when that browser had close to a 90% share – but it almost certainly can squeeze a few more points out of the competition. IE has points to give up, not many but at least a couple, while Firefox could easily continue its ruinous slide and slough another two or three percentage points.

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As Computerworld has said before, the only threat to Chrome in the near term will be Microsoft’s Edge, the Chrome clone.



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