November 22, 2004 6:15 PM PST

Firefox cutting into IE's lead

As Firefox marks its 5 millionth download and moves to retail stores, a survey showed Microsoft's heavyweight Internet Explorer slipping below 90 percent market share.

OneStat.com, an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based provider of Web traffic measurement services, said that according to numbers gleaned from 2 million Web surfers around the world, the Mozilla Foundation's new Firefox releases appear to be cutting into Microsoft's still commanding lead in the browser market.

"It seems that people are switching from Microsoft's Internet Explorer to Mozilla's new Firefox browser," Niels Brinkman, OneStat.com co-founder, said in a statement.

OneStat's statistics, based on the Web surfers' activity in 100 countries, showed that IE's market share slipped to 88.9 percent in the third week of November, down 5 percentage points from its share in May.

Mozilla-based browsers, including Firefox, rose to 7.4 percent, up 5 percentage points from May.

The new figures come on the heels of another survey that showed IE on a downward trend. Earlier this month, WebSideStory reported that IE was continuing to slip, claiming 92.9 percent of Web surfers in October versus 95.5 percent in June.

Mozilla heralded its download numbers as a sign of progress for the open-source browser.

"We're seeing a much swifter uptake for 1.0 than for the preview release, which took more than a month to reach 5 million downloads," Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's release manager, said in a statement. "We're clearly reaching a new world of users and we're doing it at a faster pace than any time in Mozilla's history."

In addition to the increase in downloads, Firefox can look forward to retail sales in the form of a new offering by Linspire, the open-source software distributor, which said Monday it had unveiled a product called "OOoFf" that combines the open-source productivity software suite OpenOffice.org with Firefox.

The software package, available now from the OOoFf Web site, is available for use with the Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh and Linux operating systems. It costs $29.95 when ordered online, with free shipping. It also will be sold at retail stores, according to Linspire.

Firefox advances aside, Microsoft threw cold water on the OneStat.com numbers, saying they failed to account for IE's stronghold in the corporate world.

"It doesn't jibe with what WebSideStory shows, and what neither of these count is corporate intranets where users aren't actually hitting the Web," said Gary Schare, Microsoft's director of product management for Windows.

Schare attributed Mozilla's spike in popularity to interest by "early adopters," and predicted that in the end IE would retain its majority status.

"I still believe in the end that most users will decide that IE is the best choice when they take into account all the factors that led them to choose IE in the first place," Schare said. "Meanwhile, we're happy that they're primarily (using Firefox) on Windows, and that Firefox is part of the large ecosystem of software products available on the Windows platform."

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Schare's last comment I think is wrong.
Commenting to this statement -

""I still believe in the end that most users will decide that IE is the best choice when they take into account all the factors that led them to choose IE in the first place," Schare said."

Nothing actually led them to choose IE in the first place. Microsoft with the leading OS of Windows, in account of 90% of the population of PC users - has made IE part of its system. I may say that people who are lazy may choose IE or people who dont see the trend in the constant vulnerabilities. 19 vulnerabilities just this month in IE 6.0. If people were announced these then I think things would change much faster. Mozilla firefox I think will some day come the browser that the majority uses.
Posted by (2 comments )
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Schare's last comment I think is wrong.
Commenting to this statement -

""I still believe in the end that most users will decide that IE is the best choice when they take into account all the factors that led them to choose IE in the first place," Schare said."

Nothing actually led them to choose IE in the first place. Microsoft with the leading OS of Windows, in account of 90% of the population of PC users - has made IE part of its system. I may say that people who are lazy may choose IE or people who dont see the trend in the constant vulnerabilities. 19 vulnerabilities just this month in IE 6.0. If people were announced these then I think things would change much faster. Mozilla firefox I think will some day come the browser that the majority uses.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HA!
""I still believe in the end that most users will decide that IE is the best choice when they take into account all the factors that led them to choose IE in the first place," Schare said."

They truly are clueless. Lack of choices of preinstalled browsers is what made most people 'choose' IE. What a joke. IE has NOTHING to offer over firefox or safari, nothing.

I can see IE's dominance in business drop like a rock in the next 2 years, with more and more businesses choosing much more secure mac or open source options over the massive amounts of holes in MS garbage. Business have paid through the arse for non-stop security updates and licensing, and are tired of it.

Even on the consumer side, open source and mac are garning a lot of interest. People are finally waking up, and not accepting garbage anymore.
Posted by (242 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HA!
""I still believe in the end that most users will decide that IE is the best choice when they take into account all the factors that led them to choose IE in the first place," Schare said."

They truly are clueless. Lack of choices of preinstalled browsers is what made most people 'choose' IE. What a joke. IE has NOTHING to offer over firefox or safari, nothing.

I can see IE's dominance in business drop like a rock in the next 2 years, with more and more businesses choosing much more secure mac or open source options over the massive amounts of holes in MS garbage. Business have paid through the arse for non-stop security updates and licensing, and are tired of it.

Even on the consumer side, open source and mac are garning a lot of interest. People are finally waking up, and not accepting garbage anymore.
Posted by (242 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Schare misses the point
-In response to-

Schare attributed Mozilla's spike in popularity to interest by "early adopters," and predicted that in the end IE would retain its majority status.

-

I don't think anybody expects Firefox to gain a majority of the market. The Mozilla foundation is aiming for 10% by the end of 2005. But it doesn't need to to be successful.

Microsoft doesn't make any money off of IE. IE only adds value to Windows if users are forced to use it to access the web. In order for Firefox to be successful, it only needs to gain enough market share to write websites that are not tied to IE. And it can do that with a lot less than 50% of the market.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Schare misses the point
-In response to-

Schare attributed Mozilla's spike in popularity to interest by "early adopters," and predicted that in the end IE would retain its majority status.

-

I don't think anybody expects Firefox to gain a majority of the market. The Mozilla foundation is aiming for 10% by the end of 2005. But it doesn't need to to be successful.

Microsoft doesn't make any money off of IE. IE only adds value to Windows if users are forced to use it to access the web. In order for Firefox to be successful, it only needs to gain enough market share to write websites that are not tied to IE. And it can do that with a lot less than 50% of the market.
Posted by (4 comments )
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users who "decide != users
Probably most (over half) users will stay with IE - they don't know much better. But this is not a concious decision - this is status quo. I will bet that most users who actually decide (i.e. check out the alternatives) will change to Firefox.

Our (the enlightened ones) job is to let everyone know that there are better options than IE out there, that we use them and are delighted with them. Not passively (that's what IE user do) but actively. Convert your co-workers/friends/customers/vendors. They will thank you for it...
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
users who "decide != users
Probably most (over half) users will stay with IE - they don't know much better. But this is not a concious decision - this is status quo. I will bet that most users who actually decide (i.e. check out the alternatives) will change to Firefox.

Our (the enlightened ones) job is to let everyone know that there are better options than IE out there, that we use them and are delighted with them. Not passively (that's what IE user do) but actively. Convert your co-workers/friends/customers/vendors. They will thank you for it...
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Incredible
Even in the face of a new wave of public opinion, Microsoft still remain as arrogant as ever.
Firefox is a breath of fresh air to the otherwise strangled browser market. IE only ever had such control for two reason, One, it was bundled and two, it really was the only real option for the average Joe. Now we have products like Fireofx ( and its mail partner Thunderbird) that are better by far. Microsoft should take this seriously. When Firefox hits the shops it is going to Sky rocket.
Also the comments made by Microsoft regarding company intranets. The company I work for just switched 478 desktops to Firefox. Why? It is far more secure and does everything we always wanted IE to do.

Next step, new OS. Mozilla XP. Has a ring to it.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Incredible
Even in the face of a new wave of public opinion, Microsoft still remain as arrogant as ever.
Firefox is a breath of fresh air to the otherwise strangled browser market. IE only ever had such control for two reason, One, it was bundled and two, it really was the only real option for the average Joe. Now we have products like Fireofx ( and its mail partner Thunderbird) that are better by far. Microsoft should take this seriously. When Firefox hits the shops it is going to Sky rocket.
Also the comments made by Microsoft regarding company intranets. The company I work for just switched 478 desktops to Firefox. Why? It is far more secure and does everything we always wanted IE to do.

Next step, new OS. Mozilla XP. Has a ring to it.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Early Adopters
I'm pretty sure that many of the so-called early adopters work in
IT departments or other areas of technology, and that many of
these early adopters are spreading the message inside their
respective corporations that Firefox is an excellent
alternative. Corporations may be slow to change, but that
change WILL come and once they make the move there will be
no turning back. When this happens (and it's not far off)
Microsloth will still make up some excuse why it doesn't matter.

While they they sit on their laurels and make excuses all day, the
open-source community is hard at work.
Posted by (26 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Early Adopters
I'm pretty sure that many of the so-called early adopters work in
IT departments or other areas of technology, and that many of
these early adopters are spreading the message inside their
respective corporations that Firefox is an excellent
alternative. Corporations may be slow to change, but that
change WILL come and once they make the move there will be
no turning back. When this happens (and it's not far off)
Microsloth will still make up some excuse why it doesn't matter.

While they they sit on their laurels and make excuses all day, the
open-source community is hard at work.
Posted by (26 comments )
Reply Link Flag
what revolution?
I tried the Firefox, and honestly its not that great! Come on fellas, every anti microsoft computer geek would love to see Firefox kill IE just to rub it in the face of Bill Gates, but its not going to happen. Too many people don't care what browser they have just as long as they can get to ebay.
So 5 million people downloaded it, so the computer guy in the company says its better, so you hate Microsoft, there is no revolution, people just don't care as much as the computer geek locked in his cubicle working past 5pm trying to get "the code" done.
I say unplug, go outside, take a deep breathe and relax a bit. 5 million downloads is not going worry Microsoft, 5 million downloads does have them hitting the panic button....
Posted by megalene (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
what revolution?
I tried the Firefox, and honestly its not that great! Come on fellas, every anti microsoft computer geek would love to see Firefox kill IE just to rub it in the face of Bill Gates, but its not going to happen. Too many people don't care what browser they have just as long as they can get to ebay.
So 5 million people downloaded it, so the computer guy in the company says its better, so you hate Microsoft, there is no revolution, people just don't care as much as the computer geek locked in his cubicle working past 5pm trying to get "the code" done.
I say unplug, go outside, take a deep breathe and relax a bit. 5 million downloads is not going worry Microsoft, 5 million downloads does have them hitting the panic button....
Posted by megalene (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
New IE release for all versions of Windows?
I was talking to a friend at a scifi con this weekend and he was talking about MS releasing a beta version of a browser update in spring. He said that MS has been ramping up development on an updated browser while keeping avoiding any real announcements about it until its at least in beta. It would be nice if news.com could crack this nut and find out if this is rumor or if this is real. In any case Im happy with FireFox even though its still somewhat glitchy. (I still have slowdown issues when I leave FireFox open for half a day with multiple tabs open.) I dont DO browsers that directly integrated into the OS. Its just asking for someone to hack your system. MS can take IE and stuff it. Dont want it, dont like it, dont need it.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
New IE release for all versions of Windows?
I was talking to a friend at a scifi con this weekend and he was talking about MS releasing a beta version of a browser update in spring. He said that MS has been ramping up development on an updated browser while keeping avoiding any real announcements about it until its at least in beta. It would be nice if news.com could crack this nut and find out if this is rumor or if this is real. In any case Im happy with FireFox even though its still somewhat glitchy. (I still have slowdown issues when I leave FireFox open for half a day with multiple tabs open.) I dont DO browsers that directly integrated into the OS. Its just asking for someone to hack your system. MS can take IE and stuff it. Dont want it, dont like it, dont need it.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The harder they push, the more folks will look for alternatives.
Microsoft will try to wind IE into Windows even tighter than before. They won't improve it, just make it more impossible to do without. They are creating a market for third party solutions which duplicate Windows functions without the problems IE brings.
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The harder they push, the more folks will look for alternatives.
Microsoft will try to wind IE into Windows even tighter than before. They won't improve it, just make it more impossible to do without. They are creating a market for third party solutions which duplicate Windows functions without the problems IE brings.
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It doesn't hurt, its only a flesh wound
Its pretty impressive that Firefox was downloaded 5 million times in the first week or so. I bet MS wished that its Halo game moved that fast.

The denial of these MS managers is quite funny but I guess they will say anything to keep their jobs. I loved the "all the factors that led them to choose IE in the first place" comment. There has been only one factor "no other choice".

I think that MS has lost its most valuable asset, that is its reputation for quality and it isn't going to be easy to get it back.

I wonder what they will say when their share drops again next month. Its going to be real hard to put this "Firefox" out.
Posted by (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It doesn't hurt, its only a flesh wound
Its pretty impressive that Firefox was downloaded 5 million times in the first week or so. I bet MS wished that its Halo game moved that fast.

The denial of these MS managers is quite funny but I guess they will say anything to keep their jobs. I loved the "all the factors that led them to choose IE in the first place" comment. There has been only one factor "no other choice".

I think that MS has lost its most valuable asset, that is its reputation for quality and it isn't going to be easy to get it back.

I wonder what they will say when their share drops again next month. Its going to be real hard to put this "Firefox" out.
Posted by (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
re: Christopher Hall
If you use windows and IE, your vault door is wide open. Those are extremely unsecure. Even with the countless patches over the years, they rank among the most bug ridden and exploitable programs.
Posted by (242 comments )
Reply Link Flag
re: Christopher Hall
If you use windows and IE, your vault door is wide open. Those are extremely unsecure. Even with the countless patches over the years, they rank among the most bug ridden and exploitable programs.
Posted by (242 comments )
Reply Link Flag
My stats say different
Interesting...over the last few months the hits on my website from ANY other browser have only increased by .5%. While IE hits have increased from 98& to 98.7%. (the other .8% goes to safari - lol - i guess that sums up apple users!)
Posted by (28 comments )
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My stats say different
Interesting...over the last few months the hits on my website from ANY other browser have only increased by .5%. While IE hits have increased from 98& to 98.7%. (the other .8% goes to safari - lol - i guess that sums up apple users!)
Posted by (28 comments )
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This issue is bigger than the browser
There is a much bigger picture here than just what browser
people use. If Microsoft loses enough market share, web
developers will develop less IE specific code. It will just make
good business sense. You can't lockout a large percentage of
people if you're trying to sell something on the web. ActiveX will
leave websites. This has the potential of cascading back into
other MS technologies affecting other parts of their business,
their web server, IIS, may begin to lose market share. The
Apache web server already has two thirds of the market, last I
checked and that's with a bullet. I'm not a "Kill Microsoft"
person, but I do use a Mac and I for one would like to see more
competition in all areas of computing. I think the browser
market in particular has stagnated since MS gained its 90%+
share. Shaking things up with a new browser like Firefox already
has MS moving in the right direction. One of their spokepersons
just a few months said their customers were not clammering for
tabbed browsing or popup blocking and they did not schedule a
new release of IE until the release of Longhorn next year, but
with FF stealing marketshare, things changed. Now you can
expect a new one sometime this summer. They've already
released a popup blocker with SP2 (but I see there is already
security issue with it), so things are moving along.
Posted by (6 comments )
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