Firefox 4 browser Download Record

Mozilla’s new Firefox 4 browser was downloaded twice as much in its first 24 hours as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 on its first day.

Some are speculating Microsoft’s decision to keep IE9 off its 10-year-old Windows XP operating system may be helping the multi-billion dollar company’s biggest competitor — a self-described non-profit organization — in the web browsing market.

Firefox 4 picked up about 5 million downloads on day one, according to Geekwire.com’s Tom Bishop, and had nearly 8 million by Wednesday morning.

But it’s Google Chrome that Mozilla Firefox is really competing with.

Firefox once owned an all-time high 47.9 percent of the browser market, back in July 2009, or a month after the release of Firefox 3.5. Back then, Internet Explorer and Chrome owned 39.4 percent and 6.5 percent of the market, respectively. Fast forward to today and you’ll see that Firefox and Internet Explorer have both dropped substantially, to 42.4 percent and 26.5 percent, respectively. Chrome, now with 24.1 percent of the market, has experienced an astronomical rise in usage.

(Lesser used browsers Safari and Opera have for the most part maintained four percent and 2.5 percent shares of the market, respectively.)

With Firefox 4 out in the wild and doing well, Chrome isn’t sitting idly by.

The latest browser market-share stats, from just before the release of the new browsers, put Internet Explorer at 56.8 percent, down from 68 percent two years ago. Firefox has held relatively steady over that period, but the big gainer has been Google Chrome, which rose up from practically nothing to now boast nearly 11 percent of the worldwide market.

But keep in mind that Microsoft is voluntarily limiting its market, not only by making Internet Explorer exclusive to Windows but also by declining to make the new browser work on Windows XP. Even though Windows XP is nearly 10 years old at this point, more than 40 percent of Internet users are still clinging to it, putting IE9 at a disadvantage in the numbers game by not supporting XP.

Firefox, in contrast, continues to support Windows XP. Mozilla knew coming in that it would have a built-in advantage, based on Microsoft’s choice to support only the newer Windows Vista and 7.

“That’s a decision that they get to make, but it sure did surprise us, because the best metrics that we’ve got say 40 to 50 percent of the web is still on XP. That’s too big for us to just leave them behind,” said Johnathan Nightingale, the Firefox engineering director, in a recent interview.

To be sure, Firefox isn’t squeaky clean. In recent years, more than 80 percent of the Mozilla Foundation’s income has come from Google. The nonprofit has been accused of changing features in Firefox, under pressure from the advertising industry. But of the big three, only Firefox stands a chance of remaining somewhat independent, a voice for customers, not advertisers.

About The Author
My name is Ravi Bhatt & I write for http://www.ukbytheway.co.uk

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