Chrome is dying -

Software giant Microsoft has made the somewhat strange claim that Google's Chrome browser is in fact dying off.

Redmond has been commenting on data from web analytics firm Net Applications which shows that Internet Explorer gained browser usage share last month in the US while major rivals Firefox and Chrome both lost ground.

According to Computerworld Ryan Gavin, director of platform strategies for Microsoft said that the browser world was incredibly competitive, but he was already seeing Chrome in retreat in the US.

We have to take his word for it. The Net Applications data he is quoting is not available to the great unwashed but Net Applications confirmed that the data Gavin cited was accurate.

It appears that all versions of IE gained 0.76 of a percentage point in U.S. usage share last month, accounting for 63.27 percent of the browsers used in May.

Firefox and Chrome, meanwhile, fell 0.24 and 0.45 of a percentage point, respectively, in the U.S. last month, ending with shares of 20.38 per cent and 4.53 percent.

But, like many statistics stories, the survey only shows part of the story. While IE might be growing in the US, it is a strange land where most strange things seem to happen.

In the rest of the world Microsoft is almost in a total rut from the forces of other browsers.

If you look at the worldwide figures you will see that Microsoft's Internet Exploder has fallen 0.26 of a percentage point to fall to a new low of 59.7 percent. Google's Chrome and Opera boosted their worldwide shares in May at the expense of IE.

Mozilla's Firefox seems to be the only one whose star appears to be fading.

Firefox was again down last month, sliding 0.24 of a percentage point to 24.35 percent worldwide, marking the fourth time in the last six months that the browser's share slipped.

In March and April, Firefox gained back some of the ground it had lost since November 2009, but May's decline cost Mozilla most of the growth it had fought for during the two-month stretch. Firefox now stands at about the same share it had in January.

While not crowing about Firefox, Microsoft does have something right about its other rival. Chrome's use, which had been dramatic, appears to be slowing down. Last month's figures were the slowest gain of the browser since August 2009.