RealTime IT News

Firefox: Near a Year Old And 100M Strong

The Firefox browser has surpassed 100 million downloads less than a month before it celebrates its first birthday, according to the Mozilla Foundation.

The foundation, which was created in 2003 with seed money from America Online's Netscape division, launched in November 2004 and has attributed the growing popularity of the open-source browser, to a community of developers around the world who have contributed to the project.

"Our community of more than 100,000 Firefox developers, testers and grassroots marketers, is rejuvenating Web browsing, which is why millions of new users make the jump to Firefox every week," Asa Dotzler, who identifies herself as the liaison for the Spread Firefox community, explained on the foundation's Web site.

"Spread Firefox members look forward to the next 100 million downloads as they mobilize for the exciting new release of Firefox 1.5."

Mozilla also credited Spread Firefox, a grassroots community that develops, tests and markets the browser, as a cornerstone of its growth.

Much of Firefox's early success was measured squarely on the underdog's ability to eat into Microsoft Internet Explorer's market share.

Although estimates vary, researchers believe Firefox now holds between 7 percent and 9 percent of the Web browser market.

Some figures show that Firefox usage slipped for the first time in August, by 0.7 percent to just over 8 percent. From January to June of this year, Firefox had posted monthly market share gains of between 0.5 percent and 1 percent. But analytics firms have been unable to reach a consensus on the numbers.

Firefox proponents believe the growth, regardless of the actual percentage points, is because Firefox is a more secure, innovative and feature-rich browser than IE.

But the browser's reputation was battered in July when officials at the foundation were forced to update 12 security issues discovered in the Firefox code, as well as stability fixes to the browser.

In May the Mozilla Foundation said its open source Firefox browser passed the 50 million-download mark.