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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Is this really it for Firefox?


I hope not!

It would be very sad if the only window on the WWW was IE courtesy of M$FT; wouldn't it? I read this InternetWeek article yesterday that provides some fresh statistics. It shows that Firefox is not growing; it is in fact loosing ground to competition dropping from 8.27% the month before to 7.55%. Internet Explorer is pretty much steady at a solid 86%. I couldn't believe the numbers were still this high for IE when everyone I know including my parents use Firefox. The truth is I live in Silicon Valley and all my friends are computer savvy. I guess it is not a representative sample of the world's internet surfers. Late last month, Opera announced its decision to strip out ads from its free browser, but it's a bit too late. It seems that there is a group of people who wanted something else than IE, they all jumped on Firefox by now. The result is that Opera couldn’t grab more than 0.5% of the market.

Last week HP announced it was going to preinstall Netscape on all HP and Compaq machines starting early 2006. This is good news. For those who don't know yet, Netscape 8 is based on Firefox, but it lets users switch between both the Firefox and IE engines. Many Web sites have been built to work with IE, so supporting both the Firefox and IE engines gives Netscape users additional compatibility. Today Netscape's share of the market is still under a poor 2.5%. Let's see if HP's decision to distribute Netscape will drive this number up and by how much. It would be interesting to find out how many Netscape users stick with the Firefox engine and how many switch to the IE engine.

Also interesting to note that the battle between Microsoft and open source shows completely different results on the web server side. I looked at the latest statistics on Netcraft this month; Apache servers dominate the market with 70% market share and growing while Microsoft is stuck at 20%.

It's also sad to see hackers attack Firefox's marketing website (spreadfirefox.com) which is being rewritten from scratch as we speak to increase security. How stupid do you need to be to take that site down? I will buy a Firefox T-shirt as soon as I post this entry to support the Firefox crew! They are only $14 and they look cool.

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