Firefox Reaches Download Milestone

The Mozilla Foundation said its open source Firefox browser passed the
50 million-download mark this week, less than a year after version 1.0 was
released.

The alternative browser, which analytics firms claim has garnered
anywhere from 6 percent to 10 percent of the gigantic browser market, has been
building momentum since its launch last November.

The foundation seems to be chipping away at Microsoft Internet Explorer’s (IE) global stranglehold, mostly by
boasting a more secure product at a time when Redmond’s ubiquitous tool was
being pounded by bugs, forcing the software giant to release reams of
security alerts.

IE is estimated to have anywhere from 86 percent to 94 percent of the
browser market, but analytics firms have
squabbled over those numbers numerous times.

“It’s funny how the counter just blows by 50 million without a care in
the world, isn’t it?” Mozilla developer Blake Ross wrote on Mozzila’s Web
site today. “But it’s not just a number to us. It’s a validation of half a decade of work, and the beginning of half a decade more.”

However, the foundation says the 50 million is strictly version
downloads and doesn’t count upgrades.

Although the news might not be keeping Redmond executives awake at night,
it is the first time in the nearly seven years since the software giant
crushed former rival Netscape, that another browser has even appeared on the
radar.

As previously reported by internetnews.com, Firefox, a descendent of the once popular Netscape browser, has had varying degrees of success.
Originally named Firebird, the product went through several releases before its final launch.

Web-analytics firm OneStat.com says Firefox currently holds 8.69 percent
of the global browser market, a 0.24 percent increase since February.
Microsoft’s IE has a global market share of 86.63 percent.

If the numbers bare out, and they are similar to OneStat.com’s tally in
February, it is the first time in several years that IE failed to capture at
least 90 percent of Web users.

“It seems that people are switching from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to
Mozilla’s new Firefox browser,” Niels Brinkman, co-founder of analytics firm
One Stat.com, said in February. “The total usage share of Microsoft declined
5 percent, and the total usage share of Mozilla increased 5 percent.”

While much of the interest in Firefox seems driven by security flaws
found in IE, the upstart browser is now finding that with success comes the
same security issues Microsoft has dealt with.

In January three flaws were discovered in the browser.

In other browser news, Opera Software said that version 8 of its browser
has been downloaded two million times in the two weeks since its release.

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