Firefox Up, Explorer Down

    January 22, 2005

The browser wars are back. Over 19 million people have downloaded Mozilla Firefox and this is starting to put a dent in Internet Explorer usage.

Mozilla Firefox currently has a 5% market share according to a recent WebSideStory study. This is an increase of nearly 1% since December.

Firefox’s online usage share grew from 3.03 percent to 4.06 percent. This compares to a gain of 13 percent during the previous month, from Oct. 8 to Nov. 5.

WebSideStory’s sample size consists of more than 30 million daily Internet users from more than 200 countries. These visitors pass through more than 20,000 sites worldwide using WebSideStory’s on-demand Web analytics services


“Since beginning its measurements last summer, WebSideStory has been cautious to draw any broad conclusions about FireFox’s popularity. This time around, the company said many people are not only downloading FireFox, they’re sticking with it and using it.”

“Firefox’s gains are clearly accelerating,” said Rand Schulman, WebSideStory’s chief marketing officer. “Much of it has to do with the release of Firefox’s version 1.0 on November 9, after several months of offering a preview version. Firefox’s stated goal of gaining 10 percent of the market over the next year no longer seems unattainable.”

Firefox has made significant gains and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer’s usage share continues to fall in the United States. Between Nov. 5 and Dec. 3, Internet Explorer’s share dropped 1.09 percentage points to 91.80 percent, according to WebSideStory.

This compares with a 0.32 percentage point drop the previous month. Since June 4, 2004, when IE’s usage share first began to drop due to security concerns, IE has lost a total of 3.68 percentage points.

Here are a some more thoughts on the Mozilla Firefox surge from Slashdot readers:

“At the risk of revealing a proclivity, I too use FireFox almost exclusively now even though FireFox is much slower on my computer than Micro$oft IE. For reasons of speed, I initially hesitated in using FireFox, but eventually I could not tolerate all the viruses and malware targetted at IE. On several occasions, my system was so badly infected with malware that I reinstalled Windows.

Admittedly, I am not a typical user. I visit numerous porn sites and am addicted to looking at gorgeous, naked women who would never spend time with me. Unfortunately, those sites are also boobytrapped with pop ups, viruses, and malware. If you do not believe me, then use IE on Windows and surf 1000 sites over the course of a month. At the end of the month, your computer will be unusable, and you will be forced to reinstall Windows.

With FireFox, I am relatively safe when I visit those sites. So far, none of the boobytraps have infected my computer. The only negative is that downloading the pictures takes a while with FireFox since it is not as tightly integrated into the OS as IE. Nonetheless, I am no longer reinstalling Windows on a monthly basis.”


I feel that this is, for once, a meaningful figure. These are sites that appeal to everyone, not just a figure of browsers on /. or ThinkGeek or something.

If people going on to Liz Claiborne or whatever are using FF, then you can assume that is someone’s mom. Either that, or the IT guy trying to look at women’s underwear pics through his work’s web filtering. :)


FireFox is actually a good browser.

This would have happened a long time ago if such a good browser had come along sooner.

Firefox is fast, secure, easy to use, skinable, free, and compatible.

For once, IE isn’t more popular based on it’s merit. It’s actually at a technical disadvantage again and it’s decline in popularity is a result of that.

I was skeptical about converting most of my less tech savvy associates over to Firefox at first, but when a few actually actively asked me to help them and their feedback was all positive afterwards, I suggested it to a few more and then even more.

Now anyone I don’t feel is capable of keeping their system clean while using IE I recommend convert and I’ve yet to hear one single complaint.


I think Firefox will continue to be popular if Microsoft makes new additions to IE mainly because I don’t see them removing any of the insecurities (ActiveX) or bloat or integration into the OS that made people switch to Firefox in the first place. Since when was the last time Microsoft removed a so called “useful” and “major” feature despite its obvious downsides?


If firefox continues growing at this rate, microsoft will have enought time to rewrite their browser. Remember, 100% of windows boxes have IE installed, and as soon as microsoft gives them a update which is “good enought” they could stop using firefox. Don’t understimate the power of microsoft, they control the most used software distribution channel for windows boxes – windows update

And let’s remember that around 50% of the OS used to browser internet is XP. XP SP2 has a popup killer by default which is one of the biggest reasons to use firefox. And SP2 enables automatic updates, so IE is “safer”. It doesn’t really matters if IE is secure or not, if microsoft patches it fast enought users won’t have problems.

so, what we need is to get *better*, and get better *faster*. Currently, firefox is just “a better IE”. Yes, it’s more than that, we know, but users only see that “a better explorer”. We need to offer something different, innovative. We need to give them more things that are not just “better than the IE equivalent”, but cool things that have not equivalent so users will stick with firefox. (don’t talk me about extensions, IE has plugins and they could start those to add funcionality!)”

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