By most measures, Firefox has had a pretty good year. The upstart browser celebrated its first birthday this week, less than a month after marking its 100 millionth download. Devoted followers have trumpeted its 8.65 percent market share, mostly at the expense of Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
The response from the Windows empire has been largely a collective yawn. That could change quickly, however, given that Google seems to be sidling up to Firefox, a relationship that could bring back some bad memories for Microsoft veterans.
In the 1990s, Microsoft was obsessed with Netscape's Navigator because the company believed that the browser could displace Windows as the first screen people saw when booting up their computer, an enormous advantage in controlling desktop real estate. If Google increases its interest and influence in Firefox--and the rest of the open-source software world that it came from--Microsoft could again have its hands full with "disruptive" changes.
Blog community response:
"Microsoft keeps becoming less relevant in the tech industry these days. The explosion of Google as the search engine giant (plus whatever else they are up to this week), the alternative Web browser Firefox, and the emergence of an open-source alternative to MS Office known as Open Office (the main alternative anyway) have many wondering if Microsoft is past its prime as an innovator."
--Blue Streak Ink
"Firefox, the Mozilla Foundation browser that single-handedly managed to spur a complacent Microsoft into resuming development on Internet Explorer, turns one today. That first candle on the birthday cake is accompanied by the news of the foxy browser officially reaching an unprecedented 10 percent market share, most of it stolen from IE."