May 10, 2005 3:53 PM PDT
Firefox growth slows again
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WebSideStory release that said Firefox was "well on its way" to achieving 10 percent this year. "It's going to be a bit of a close call. It may depend on what they come up with in a new version this summer."
Hofmann called the 10 percent goal "aggressive" and said the foundation was doing what it could in terms of distribution deals and marketing campaigns.
Even before its formal launch in November, Firefox began to revitalize a market long ceded to Microsoft, capitalizing on security concerns about IE and dissatisfaction with features to force Microsoft below the 90 percent mark for the first time in years.
Many credit Firefox's success with goading Microsoft into updating IE after years without a significant upgrade.
Firefox late last month marked 50 million downloads of its browser since the Version 1.0 release in November. Downloads do not equal users, because a single user often downloads multiple copies for different computers or to replace the browser with patched versions, of which Firefox has had three.
Along with its numbers for the United States, WebSideStory also released data for Germany and Japan, which illustrate the international extremes of Firefox penetration.
In Germany, IE accounts for 69.5 percent of browser usage, while Firefox makes up a whopping 22.6 percent. In Japan, by contrast, IE commands 93.9 percent of the market, and Firefox a mere 2.8 percent.
Even as its numbers painted a troubling picture for Firefox's growth, WebSideStory called attention to the browser's overall success in making gains against the IE juggernaut.
The slowdown "can be looked at in a couple of ways," Johnston said. "One is that Firefox adoption is starting to slow, and another is that it continues to plug ahead. Last June, I would never have thought that Firefox would keep growing for a full year, because Microsoft had never moved backwards."
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