Microsoft continues to lose the market share for its Internet Explorer (IE) browser, faced with the largest drop in users globally last month since December 2010, with the main beneficiaries being Google and Apple.

IE lost nine-tenths of a percentage point to 54.4 per cent, representing its seventh straight month of decline and the most since December 2010 when it fell by 1.1 percentage points as per a report by Web measurement firm Net Applications.

Meanwhile Google's Chrome grew its share by seven-tenths of a point, and Apple's Safari gained four-tenths of a percentage point. Apple's Safari was the only other browser besides Chrome to gain share in September.

Chrome has ended the month with a 16.2% share, while Safari has accounted for 5% of all browsers used worldwide.

Google Chrome is set to replace Firefox as the world's second-most-popular internet browser. Chrome Web browser could crack 20 per cent market share by the new year if it keeps up its current growth pace.

Google has been advertising Chrome on TV and hopes its new Chrome Zone Chromebook in retail stores in London helps boost Chrome browser adoption.

In September 2008 when Chrome was launched, the company announced that Google's browser had managed to take 1 per cent of the market during its first day. When Google first launched Chrome, there was a feeling that it was too basic and had almost no features. In comparison, Firefox had no dearth of features and plug-ins. Three years have passed since Chrome’s launch and it’s about to overtake Firefox as the second-most used browser.