BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Mozilla's Firefox browser overtook Microsoft's ( MSFT) Internet Explorer in December to become the No. 1 browser in Europe, according to StatCounter, a Web site analytics company.

StatCounter said Firefox last month took 38.11% of European market share, compared to Internet Explorer's 37.52%.

"This is the first time that IE has been dethroned from the No. 1 spot in a major territory," said Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter CEO. "This appears to be happening because Google's ( GOOG) Chrome is stealing share from Internet Explorer while Firefox is mainly maintaining its existing share."

Google Chrome lifted market share in Europe in December to 14.58% from 5.06% a year earlier, StatCounter said.

Internet Explorer maintains its lead in North America: Its share of the browser market in December was 49.82%, while Firefox's market share was 26.7% and Chrome's was 12.82%.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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