Saturday, August 1, 2009

Firefox Claims 1/3 of the Worldwide Browser Market

Firefox has been downloaded over 1 billion times as of Friday, July 31st, 2009. According to Mozilla, the maker of the browser, the open-source browser now holds 1/3 of the browser market. That means one in three Netizens are using the Firefox browser. This news comes hot on the heels of Microsoft's announcement that European users will have a choice between Internet Explorer and other browsers during setup, in an effort to comply with antitrust laws the European Union says the company has violated by bundling IE with the Windows operating system.

European Windows 7 users will be able to download other browsers and "turn off" IE as the default browser during setup; users in the U.S. and other countries will not have this option. However, MS said they will release some of their closely-guarded source code to programmers, to facilitate the development of software which runs more smoothly under the OS, as well as with other, major Microsoft software, such as Office. While legal professionals hail the announcement as a "breakthrough," rivals are not so enthusiastic.

As things stand, Internet Explorer still dominates the market with a whopping +/-60% share; Chrome, Safari, and other browsers together make up about 5%. Firefox has quickly gained ground since its 2004 release. In fact, it set a world record for the most downloads in 24 hours with its last major release (3.x). The 1 billion includes all versions of the browser since 2004, including users who downloaded the software multiple times (whether on the same computer or different ones) - it does not, however, include automatic updates to the software.

Microsoft's refusal to budge in the late 1990s cost them dearly, but managed to kill their major rival, Netscape. The era is often referred to as "The Browser Wars."

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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