Firefox Growth, Market Share Slow

Worldwide Technology – Firefox Growth, Market Share Slow (CIO Today)

The recent market share growth enjoyed by the open source Latest News about open source Firefox browser has begun to slow in recent months, according to the latest data from U.S. industry watchers. Analyst WebSideStory reported today that Firefox’s market share gains against rival Internet Explorer slowed to a comparatively modest 15 percent increase in the five weeks leading up to 18 February 2005. In the six weeks before that, the Web watching firm reported that Firefox grew at 22 percent. These figures compare with a 34 percent increase between November 5th and December 3rd, which coincided with the release of Firefox 1.0 on November 9th.

WebSideStory chief executive Jeff Lunsford noted that, according to a recent report by the Mozilla Foundation, there have been 25 million downloads of the Firefox browser in the past 100 days. “The download numbers continue to impress us and the mainstream press. We track usage rather than downloads, however, and are seeing that the growth in Firefox usage has slowed since its big surge in November. This is probably to be expected as we move beyond the early adopter segment,” he said.

Well, no kidding. Almost by definition, high rates of growth are going to decline. Microsoft and Wal-Mart aren’t growing like they once did, either. By this article’s logic, a company achieving 100% market domination would be a dismal failure, since its growth in the next quarter would be non-existent.

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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. Also, when you’re increasing from 0% market share, by definition your growth is going to be stratospheric. Growth from 0% to 1% market share is infinite growth, but from 1% to 2% it’s only 100% growth. This is going to fall off by the nature of the mathematics itself.

    With that said, I love Firefox and use it myself, and I think that it’s got a far better chance than any other recent browser of actually eating away some of IE’s market share. Indeed, it’s already managed to make Microsoft wake up and notice, as evidenced by their decision to update IE after all.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    I think there’s another unreported factor in this story. Transitioning to Firefox is a response especially to security problems. When the next security problem crops up in Internet Explorer, more will transition to Firefox.

  3. Fred Boness says:

    What Dave said. I got Firefox out of frustration with IE security issues only to find it has many fine qualities that would have justified the switch much sooner.

  4. Kappiy says:

    Firefox is a vastly superior browser than IE–the extensions enahnce its functionality leaps and bounds over IE. Also–tabbed browsing will change your life (the AdBlock feature aint shabby either)!

    It will be interesting to see if Open Office has as much of a splash, comparatively, when they introduce 2.0 in a couple of months. There are still some bugs in the latest release, but as those get worked out it has the potential to rise as a formidable challenger to MS Office.

  5. Jim Henley says:

    I love Open Office Write – I prefer it to Word for articles and scripts actually. But the 1.1 spreadsheet is not ready for prime time. Last I checked (admittedly a year ago), the roadmap had OO Calc at 32k rows through 2.0. Is that still true? I regularly use bigger spreadsheets at work.

  6. Kappiy says:


    I believe that ooCalc already has upped the number of rows to 65k. If it is not in the current version, it is certainly being “advertised” as a feature of 2.0

  7. Dean Esmay says:

    Russ gets it right. The “rate of increase in market share” is a rather weird way to measure growth. It’s not unlike the shell game some on the right and left play with the national debt or the budget deficit. Yes, yes, the debt is at “record levels” if you don’t count inflation or the GDP or the size of the population or anything else that would give you a reasonable perspective on it.

  8. RE Gardner says:

    Just a FYI, there is an update to Firefox that just came out – 1.0.1 – It does not show up in the auto update yet.

    I only use IE for two sites now – WTOP traffic reports (DC – weird Active-X), and Windows update. This number has decreased, for example, when I started using Firefox, USAA (my insurance/finance company) would not recognize it and I could not log on; that is no longer a problem.