Firefox Drawing Fans away from Microsoft IE

Firefox drawing fans away from Microsoft IE (CNET News)

Open-source browsers Mozilla and Firefox have won over a significant number of defectors from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in the past nine months, Web site metrics suggest. The gains for Firefox, which was released in a version 1.0 preview on Tuesday, and for Mozilla are most noticeable at Web sites popular by geek-chic early adopters. For example,, a Web development tutorial site found that Mozilla-based browsers were used by 18 percent of its visitors in September, up from 8 percent in January. Internet Explorer use dropped to 75 percent from 84 percent in the same period. Among CNET readers, site visitors with open-source browsers jumped to 18 percent for the first two weeks of September, up from 8 percent in January.

The Mozilla Foundation, which develops both the Mozilla and Firefox browsers and their underlying Gecko browsing engine, has noted that downloads of the Firefox browser have doubled from 3 million for version 0.8 to 6 million for version 0.9. The group said that almost 160,000 people have downloaded the latest version of Firefox, the 1.0 release candidate. “Obviously, there was a big spike in interest back in July when there were concerns with Internet Explorer security,” Mozilla spokesman Bart Decrem said. “You worry that such things are just a blip, but that momentum has seemed to continue for us.”

Mainstream users have not shown the same gung-ho enthusiasm for the non-Microsoft browser but have increasingly adopted Firefox, according to Web analytics firm WebSideStory. The percentage of visitors to e-commerce and corporate sites that used Firefox or another Mozilla browser grew to 5.2 percent in September, from 3.5 percent in June 2004. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s share of the users shrank from 95.5 percent in June to 93.7 percent in September, according to the company.


See also: Mozilla Gains on IE (July 10)

Update (2225): Yes, a new release, although just in Preview.

The World’s Best Browser Just Got Better

FireFox is finally out of beta, and is in its “preview” release, which means…well, it’s a little hard to understand exactly what it means, other than that it’s been improved, and is one step closer to its final form.

If you’re an Internet Explorer user, you owe it to yourself to download FireFox and see how a real browser works. If you’re already a FireFox user, download the latest version, for a slew of new features. My favorite is its new RSS support — when you’re on a page that has an RSS feed using the tag, an RSS icon appears in the status bar. Click it, and you’ll see a list of all feeds on the page. Then click on any to subscribe, and you’ll be able to read the feed from directly within FireFox. There are other goodies as well. There’s a nice new Find toolbar across the bottom of the page, better bookmarking, more flexible popup blocking, and more as well. Unfortunately, there’s also a downside to the update. Many extensions won’t work with it, including the Googlebar. In time, expect the extensions to be updated, but for now, you’ll have to forgo some of your favorites.

The newest version of FireFox shows just how tired and old IE has become. In time, perhaps, it’ll join the modern era and add features such as tabbed browsing. But for now, if you’re looking for the smartest, slimmest, and most feature-rich browser, you should head straight to FireFox.

I’ll likely wait a few days to test this one out, especially if extensions are hosed yet again.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    w00t! Version 1.0 is finally out!?

  2. BigFire says:

    It’s currently at 1.0 (Preview Review).

  3. Ralf Goergens says:

    I like Oracle. Anybody tried that?

  4. Django Bliss says:

    I haven’t been using RSS anywhere yet, but since PR1.0 came out, I’ve been using the nifty subscribe feature now built into FireFox and finding it quite cool. I’d say that PR1.0 is more unstable as I’ve had a few crashes, but there a lot of small but great fetaures built in. So far all of my extensions and skins are still working after reinstalling them.