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Firefox Momentum Slows 558

linumax wrote to mention an Information Week story about an apparent slowing of Firefox's usage growth. From the article: "San Diego-based WebSideStory released market share numbers for Firefox, IE, and other browsers that noted Firefox has crept up from April's 6.75 percent to September's 7.86 percent, a single percentage point gain in five months. During the first few months after its November, 2004, release, Firefox was adding another point each month. 'It looks like Firefox has hit the push-back point,' said Geoff Johnston, an analyst with WebSideStory. 'We always knew there was a finite number of early adopters out there and a finite number of Microsoft haters who would switch to something new, but we didn't know what that number was. It looks like we're approaching it.'"
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Firefox Momentum Slows

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  • slows? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So what if it slows. It still eats away at Micro$oft's market share. One thing going for Firefox at least they fix it's flaws quickly.
    • Re:slows? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Da_Biz ( 267075 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @12:42PM (#13677213)
      So what if it slows.

      That, and there's an apparent fetish for Growth-Growth-Growth! It's sad that when the stock market doesn't see 15% returns annually in a company, it's automatically assumed that they aren't successful.

      It's not just about growth--it's also about quality of product and longevity. If Firefox maintains a steady percentage of the market, growth is implicit, as more people begin to use the Internet. I'd say the numbers they have now could be construed as adequate success, especially considering that Mozilla doesn't have the marketing buxxx that Micro$oft does.

      The numbers (and growth in adoption of Linux in government and the enterprise) tell me that Firefox is here to stay.
    • by animale ( 918947 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @01:58PM (#13677947)
      Firefox is not slowing. It's users are getting better as manipulating the browser. One of the first Firefox extensions many of us add is User String Agent, so we can get into "IE only" websites. Many of us use Webwasher or anon-surfing products, many of which also change the user string. To a webstat gathering firm, I'm an IE user whether I'm using Firefox or Opera, and I don't want to be counted as using IE for anything except Windows Update or badly written websites.

      I didn't give up on Firefox, it's my primary browser. But I'm not counted by the web statistic collection firms, so their data is a fraud. These firms must develop better data-collection methodologies or be exposed as frauds and face legal sanction.
  • by program21 ( 469995 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:14AM (#13676240) Homepage Journal
    Did they really need to say that there was "a finite number of early adopters ... and a finite number of Microsoft haters"? Did anyone really think there were an infinite number of either?
    • I think the intent was to say it was a finite, but unknown number of each of those. Now that Firefox has gained a share of users, that number is more known.
    • From TFA: [There are] a finite number of early adopters out there and a finite number of Microsoft haters.

      Sure, there were plenty in those categories. However, every single person I have introduced to firefox has preferred it to IE and the IE wrappers (yahoo sbc browser, etc). Within a short time of their switch, many of them were comfortably and productively using the best features of firefox (tabs, search bar, etc). Interestingly enough, they have been primarily those of the majority, the computer in
    • by ink ( 4325 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @12:05PM (#13676835) Homepage
      So, only two groups use Firefox: Early adopters and Microsoft Haters.

      I use Linux on my desktop and I have a PowerBook. Which category does that put me in? The last time I checked, I couldn't run Internet Explorer... but someone please correct me if I'm wrong here.

      Firefox has achieved many of its goals regardless, with 10% of the web not using Internet Explorer (Firefox + Opera + Safari + Konq) websites are no longer able to simply plug Microsoft technology into their websites and run with it. I can't remember the last website that I visited that didn't function properly in Firefox -- which was a very common problem in the bad-old-days of IE5/ActiveX (again, through no supposed hatred on my part). Microsoft is a better netizen today than they were five years ago. Their development is more open, and their technologies are more cooperative. There is much more of a free market in webspace now, which is a good thing.
      • If a web page can't be displayed by 10% of the people, its no biggie.

        The fact that they are 'artsy' types (OS X users) or 'propeller heads' (Linux users) just makes the decision that much easier if you'd selling socks or food or something.

        Never underestimate the power of 'saving a buck by screwing somebody' (somebody using the other browsers) when it doesn't really cost them anything.

        The sales figures are going up anyway. Or the site is just advertising and that's an expense regardless, and nobody ever got

        • If a web page can't be displayed by 10% of the people, its no biggie.

          I guess I'd have to disagree. 10% is somewhere around the time where you need to be concerned about people not being able to see the page. This is especially true in a market with tight profit margins. Losing 10% of your customers is a major hit when you only have say a 5% profit margin anyway. It wouldn't kill the business, but I'd say it's enough to justify the often minor work of making sure your website works on Firefox as well as
  • Right but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TarrySingh ( 916400 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:14AM (#13676244) Homepage
    But Firefox will find it difficult to move into the double digits of market share, and retain those numbers. "It's hard to get there," said Johnston. "To do it, Firefox has to go mainstream." It's time firefox is also bundled in the new PC's /laptops which are sold out there into the market.
    • Re:Right but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nachoboy ( 107025 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:53PM (#13678555)
      It's time firefox is also bundled in the new PC's /laptops which are sold out there into the market.

      Start catering to the scenarios that are important then... provide deployment tools and reference guides for unattended installation. Last time I was tasked with a (Windows) Firefox deployment, I found out that settings are stored in a random directory per-user. All pre-installation configuration had to be done by manually changing default values in the compressed original package. Settings and policies were just not available to be set via the registry (easy to script) or Group Policy (easy to manage).

      Despite what you may think about Microsoft's business practices, they have got the scenarios down. Both Windows and Office have OEM Pre-installation Kits, and products are designed with corporate and OEM deployment scenarios in mind, not just as an afterthought. At the very least, they don't *actively resist* large-scale deplyments by so rudely thumbing their noses at admins with settings stored in text files in randomly-named directories. Ugh.
  • by oni ( 41625 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:15AM (#13676253) Homepage
    The only possible reasons why someone would use firefox are:
    1. they are one of those annoying people who think they're cool when they have "the latest thing"
    2. they are one of those annoying people who hold an irrational hatred of microsoft.

    There's no other reason. No sir. Nobody in the entire world looked at each browser and made a sound, logical choice to use the one that best met thier needs. No, that would never happen.
    • Re:So just to review (Score:5, Informative)

      by oni ( 41625 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:28AM (#13676413) Homepage
      I am shocked (shocked) that people don't get sarcasm. I should have quoted TFA in my post. Here, read this and see if it makes more sense:

      from the article:
      Geoff Johnston, an analyst with WebSideStory. 'We always knew there was a finite number of early adopters out there and a finite number of Microsoft haters who would switch to something new

      So, to paraphrase Mr. Johnston:
      The only possible reasons why someone would use firefox are:
      1. they are one of those annoying people who think they're cool when they have "the latest thing"
      2. they are one of those annoying people who hold an irrational hatred of microsoft.
      • You're misunderstanding his point. He's not saying that no one else will EVAR! switch to Firefox, he's saying that the rapid growth earlier this year was into those two groups, and now that they've switched, further Firefox adoption is going to go more slowly.

        Basically, his point is that the people who were still using Netscape 4 long after IE had kicked it around the block are going to be equally slow to switch away.

      • Me too. (Score:5, Funny)

        by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:46AM (#13676635)
        I am shocked (shocked) that people don't get sarcasm.

        I too am shocked. Subtle sarcastic humor always goes over so well on Slashdot.
      • 2. they are one of those annoying people who hold an irrational hatred of microsoft.

        Hey, man—there is nothing irrational about my hatred of Microsoft!
    • The sad thing is, you're spot on. Desipite the huge number of computer users these days, the computer world enjoys more of a monoculture now than ever before. People use software because it is "THE software to use" not because they've tried a few options and picked the one that best fit.
    • There's no other reason.

      Yeah, like running some OS for which IE isn't available, like Linux, FreeBSD, or OS/2. Or running one for which the IE port is ages old and runs like completely and total crap (Mac OS X).

      After all, we all know that people who run these OS's only do so because of irrational hatred for Microsoft, as every other rational person chooses their OS based on the fact that IE is available for it.

      (I hope MS is paying these "analysts" well to make such boneheaded statements...).


    • Sadly, knowing an awful lot of people in the world, I can't honestly imagine a single one who would look at each browser and make a sound logical choice.

      I think everyone i've ever met can safely be put into one of these categories:

      1) IE comes with windows, and they don't care enough to ever switch
      2) had some severe negative experience with IE, but didn't know enough about computers to fix, switched
      3) hate microsoft in general, switched

      Not one person I can think of made any sort of careful rational compariso
  • Bound to happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:15AM (#13676254)
    There are only so many individuals you can convince that you are more likely to have a better and safer web experience with Firefox than IE. Not guaranteed, but more likely. What should now be a focus for people concerned about this is convincing large businesses and universities to consider it. Any large switch is painful and expensive, but the reduced support costs down the road should be considered.
  • Its not about being a Microsoft hater.
    Most people I know who use firefox still use and prefer MS Windows to the alternatives.

    Software compatibility is important and being able to go into a shop and buy any software for Windows means Windows will remain for a while.
    When the tiny Apple or Linux section in computer shops grows and software is generically released for more platforms things will change.

    My local PC world (in England) is already being taken over by Apple Macs so its only a matter of time now :)
  • by Kazzahdrane ( 882423 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:16AM (#13676263)
    IE 7 finally has tabbed browsing, no doubt to try and win back users who have dumped IE for Firefox and the other feature-superior browsers. I'm a big fan of Firefox, I love the small footprint and the fact that the menus etc take up very little screen space so I can see much more of a webpage than with IE. However, I'll be checking out IE 7 and if I like it more I'll switch to it. As an aside, it's hard to recommend Firefox to some friends/family when they can't comprehend how useful tabbed browsing it. I've successfully converted a few people though and they all comment that they'd hate to surf the web without tabs now. Maybe they should rename them iTabs or something to make them trendy.
    • by Evil Grinn ( 223934 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:31AM (#13676454)
      . As an aside, it's hard to recommend Firefox to some friends/family when they can't comprehend how useful tabbed browsing it. I've successfully converted a few people though and they all comment that they'd hate to surf the web without tabs now. Maybe they should rename them iTabs or something to make them trendy.

      I converted my wife to Mozilla (before Firefox existed) because IE was fucked up on her computer, and it was easier to install Mozilla than to figure out was wrong with IE. Only then did she "get" stuff like tabbed browsing and text resizing that works. She's got a new PC since then, and Firefox was the first thing installed on it.
  • Most Likely (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hcob$ ( 766699 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:17AM (#13676274)
    They started seeing a slow down cause of all the other options that are cropping up; Opera(free) being one of them. Just a thought...
    • Re:Most Likely (Score:3, Interesting)

      by L. VeGas ( 580015 )
      Opera is exploding right now. My logs show an increase of Opera over the past week of about 500%. After the buzz of "free Opera" dies down, who knows if it will maintain?

      Most geeks love Firefox extensions (I do), but Joe User just isn't interested in dealing with that stuff. Opera offers more functionality straight out of the box, and almost nobody outside the tech community cares at all about open source.

      I think Firefox might have reached market saturation. I wish it weren't the case, but I fear it may be
  • not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nex6 ( 471172 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:17AM (#13676277) Homepage
    I am not surprised, most users think "internet" Explorer" is the internet, so the fact that a "normal" user
    does not go out and download / install firefox. does not surprise me.

    on the otherhand, 7% + market share in such a short time is pretty good. and has firefox improves, (use less memmory) you will see improvments in the marget share. firefox has to be much better then "IE"

    for a normal user to switch to it, so the rapid marget will slow down and will creep up slowly...


    • Re:not surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

      by artemis67 ( 93453 )
      It's tough to compete against a browser that's preinstalled on every Windows PC out there.

      I think it's safe to say that Firefox has saturated its core market of tech savvy, security-conscious users. At this point, they need to reevaluate who their target market is and adjust their marketing strategy accordingly. After all, they were never going to get 95% marketshare simply by virtue of *not* being Internet Explorer. At this point, they need to get their foot in the door with one of the major PC vendors (De
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:18AM (#13676284) Journal
    'We always knew there was a finite number of early adopters out there and a finite number of Microsoft haters who would switch to something new, but we didn't know what that number was. It looks like we're approaching it.'

    So you have to be a "MS hater" to see the disadvantages with IE now?

    Anyway, yes, it is expected something like this will happen, but I think not for that reason, but rather because there's a finite number of people willing to change browsers when there's already one part of the OS. Firefox being more secure? Sorry, they don't even read computer news sites.
  • next step (Score:5, Interesting)

    by timtwobuck ( 833954 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:19AM (#13676291)
    So...whats the next step?

    Obviously the current marketing effort led by the Firefox team has reached, or is soon to reach, the most people it can. There now needs to be a second push to help promote this browser up past 10% market share. Once one in every ten users is using Firefox, then maybe the 'word of mouth' changes will begin to increase more-so.

    Personally, I have installed it on my parents' machine, all my tech-saavy coworkers, and I promote it every chance I get. Once we hit the 10% mark, all the people that were too lazy to do it might just say, hey, well, everyone else is doing it, why not me?.
    • Part of the next step is convincing web site developers to support Firefox. There are a lot of sites out there that require IE to work. For some of them, like one of my financial service providers, there is no workaround - I must run Windows and IE (vmware does the job without requiring extra hardware). I don't like it, and I have complained, but it's not a big enough problem to make me switch to another provider so I doubt that my complaints will be acted upon.
  • Stupid conclusions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:21AM (#13676318)

    Opera, for instance, now has to steal users from Firefox, not IE, since the pool of IE users willing to change has dried up.

    No, even if you accept the numbers, it means the pool of IE users willing to change to Firefox has dried up. It's pretty damn arrogant to assume that if Firefox isn't acceptable to somebody, nothing is. I use Firefox myself for the time being (roll on Konqueror 3.5 with Adblocking built in), but I'm not going to claim that it's perfect.

    One thing I can never find with these stories is how they come up with the figures. Examining httpd logs and using Javascript tricks is about as accurate as guessing. Do they conduct proper surveys or are they just another snake oil vendor? The fact that their website is broken in Firefox isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.

  • Version 1.5 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shic ( 309152 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:22AM (#13676320)
    In my experience it is the Mozilla innovations which encourage people to switch... the better the features the more compelling the motivation to switch.

    Recently the released improvements to the Mozilla suite in the release products have slowed. I strongly suspect that version 1.5 will bring yet more people on-board. I'm using the Thunderbird 1.5 beta for my email right now and it is a fantastic improvement over the current release version.

    [Minor whinge] I wish I could print an email without all the irrelevant headers... preview what will be printed and (optionally) change the format.
    • it is the Mozilla innovations which encourage people to switch


      I've often felt that if Mozilla/Firefox gave users an easy way to compose and publish precise SVG using a WYSIWYG interface, including international language support, across platform, that usage would increase markedly.

    • For the majority of Internet users (the 80+% using IE), those "innovations" you speak of are invisible and inconsequential. They don't use them, they don't care about them and worst of all, they don't know about them and have no way of finding out about them.

      These are people whose daily Internet use consists of Hotmail, Amazon and CNN. They are not on the fence, waiting for the next batch of innovation from Firefox to switch

  • by zerojoker ( 812874 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:22AM (#13676333) []
    I'm just wondering why the market share in Europe is so much higher? I mean, I doubt that there is such a different user basis?! (The linked article talks about 20% market-share in Germany and Poland...)
    • lamebait>
      We're just more intelligent here in Europe ;-)

      And better looking too!

    • by nitot ( 53791 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:57AM (#13676760) Homepage
      Actually, things in Europe are quite different from one can read from the aforementionned report. See [] .

      Germany is at 24%
      Finland is at 34%
      Czech Republic is at 23%
      Poland is at 22%
      France is at 16%

      These numbers are measured by independent French firm XitiMonitor, which publishes a monthly report on browser market share.
      In a related note, see also [] , which demonstrates a steady monthly growth for Firefox in Europe, with a rough estimation of more than 37 millions users in the Old continent.
      Disclaimer: I am a Mozilla Europe employee.
    • by shudde ( 915065 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @12:27PM (#13677050)

      To my mind the difference in adoption rates between Europe and the United States (which I'm presuming is the inferred basis of comparison) boils down to the respective mind-sets of their populations.

      Many European countries have a reputation for fast adoption of new technologies in the last century. While America remains the most powerful consumer nation, I believe there's a profound difference in the way technology is used. Putting aside the geek community, many more of the Europeans I've dealt with seem to view internet usage as a social/recreational experience. Comparatively the non-technical Americans I've known, seem less inclined to 'play under the hood'.

      Disclaimer: I'm Australian so if you think I've got a facile understanding of these cultures, feel free to call me on it.

      • by NotoriousQ ( 457789 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @12:52PM (#13677328) Homepage
        I will call you on this.

        I think it is not that Americans do not like to tinker, it is that they do not like tinkering in the computers. A lot of this comes with where the people grew up, and what do they know. People like tinkering in what they can modify and show off. Because the computer here is not synonymous with communication or bragging rights, very few try to know and learn about them. (Notice how those that do, i.e. the gamer community, modify the crap out of theirs, and a lot of these stories seem to come out of US).

        I bet you will be interested to find that there is a huge car modding and tweaking community (people who replace and tweak engines, not tailpipes), which thinks that Europeans are completely ignorant about cars. I would guess that more Americans would now the difference between a carburator and fuel injection than Europeans. (I myself am not of that community, and have only a slight knowledge of carburator/fuel injection systems, I just heard of them)

        Different cultures, different interests, different results.

  • by dacarr ( 562277 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:23AM (#13676339) Homepage Journal
    Just because people don't download Firefox as much as they have been doesn't mean that interest is flagging, it might just mean that people aren't upgrading directly from the site. This also doesn't count the Linux mirror networks such as that found with Debian, Mandrake, Redhat, or maybe even Gentoo - they provide a copy of Firefox in the appropriate packaging scheme, and Mozilla won't count those because they don't come from Mozilla.

    As such, just because downloads are flagging doesn't mean interest is.

  • Web Developers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysqlrocks ( 783488 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:23AM (#13676347) Homepage Journal
    "For many, IE is just not broken," said Johnston in explaining the small dip in Internet Explorer.

    Yes, but for many web developers IE is broken. It's annoying having to write one set of code to run in the non-standard IE environment and then another set of code to work in the standards-based browsers. Take for example Alpha Transparency for PNG images. You can get it to work in IE by using Microsoft's method but you can't just slap a PNG in with alpha transparency and expect it to work in IE.
    • Re:Web Developers (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ziggamon2.0 ( 796017 )
      And this is why the current "slowdown" of adoption doesn't matter.
      Firefox has reached that ~10%.
      Other browsers (Safari + Opera + Konqueror) have maybe 5%.

      Which means that IE is down to 85%, and web developers can no longer create IE-only web sites, and apply pressure at Microsoft to be more standards compliant.

      Which caused the come of IE7, which has fixes for many of the reasons we web developers hate IE, such as CSS, the box model and the PNG problems you are talking about.

      So - it's ok that the adoption ra
    • Re:Web Developers (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Evil Grinn ( 223934 )
      Yes, but for many web developers IE is broken.

      End users don't care what makes a developer's life easier. Businesses who have to pay for the extra time you waste futzing around with all that stuff might possibly be convinced to care, but end users for whom everthing is free anyway have no reason to care and they never will. Until the entire open source world realizes this, Microsoft doesn't really have anything to worry about.
  • The help will be in this form:

    That some major government mandates the default installation of a browser that meets W3C standards to some debatable extent, (say 90%), on all computer systems purchased. Within this restriction, vendors would be required to meet some standards on a 100% basis. With OpenDocument, Massachusetts has done its part. Now, they should extend this to browsers.

    If that happens, Firefox will take off.

  • Why change browsers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:26AM (#13676377) Homepage
    I have recommended Firefox to all of my coworkers, friends, and family over the past year. So far I have not personally heard of anyone who has fully switched to Firefox ever switch back to MSIE.

    That said, I do know of MANY people who have zero interest in even trying Firefox. They don't care about tabbed browsing, they already know the ins and outs of MSIE. Generally these aren't the people who actually have to remove their spyware and virii, so they don't fully understand security issues and associated pains.

    I think it boils down to this: Most geeks like Firefox and have already switched. Joe Sixpack and Ted the PHB have in interest in learning how to use a new browser, or even learn how to click on a different icon.

    (And then there's the camp of newbies that think "the internet" is built into their "computer" and is only accessed by clicking on the magical blue e)
    • by kiveol ( 866603 )
      I think it boils down to this: Most geeks like Firefox and have already switched. Joe Sixpack and Ted the PHB have in interest in learning how to use a new browser, or even learn how to click on a different icon.

      So how about an IE Skin and an icon change?
  • by MyDixieWrecked ( 548719 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:26AM (#13676379) Homepage Journal
    I mean...

    the number of web users is still growing rather rapidly. Even if their marketshare stays steady for many months, especially this time of year (I'll get to that in a sec), it still means that their userbase is growing.

    This time of year, school is starting. people are getting new computers or their first computers for themselves (finally, a computer that's not shared by the family!). There's a distinct spike in computer purchases around now. Firefox's 1% gain this month is a very good thing. it means that even though their marketshare growth is remaining constant, they're making up for it in volume.

    also, does their marketshare count only for windows installations? or does it count for all platforms? I mean, I know a bunch of mac users who , for some reason (usually because they're coming from windows), prefer firefox over safari.

    personally, I use firefox for testing on the mac. but that's about it. I still think safari is leaps and bounds ahead in terms of just the usability factor. firefox just feels like a windows app. Camino's ok, but feels a bit strange sometimes.
  • Numbers? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ValourX ( 677178 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:29AM (#13676430) Homepage
    I doubt these numbers. The Jem Report gets about 3k visitors per day, and no more than 25% of them are using a version of IE. Mozilla-based browsers are almost twice that number.

    Looking at two other sites I have that have much less traffic, IE's numbers are around 20% or less. Two months ago it was the opposite -- IE was around 50% of TJR's traffic, and certainly more than 20% on the other sites. Something big happened in the past two or three months that drastically changed browser numbers. I think WebSideStory's data is old or just plain inaccurate.
    • That's sort of a ridiculous way to look at it. I'd imagine that even less users on /. are hitting it with IE. But that is not even national marketshare, little well global. Most website hits take place during business hours and are B2B, people surfing or people checking banking info, buying plane tix, and so on. The majority of businesses still run IE as their browser of choice (or in some cases browser of force).
  • by Frac ( 27516 ) *
    Wait. Does that mean we're not taking back the web? Can my hand let go now?
  • It looks like the folks over on Spread Internet Explorer [] have been successful in their goals. Viva la IE! After all, true patriots use Internet Explorer []
  • A lot of normal users I know use Firefox, Opera or Safari because they got fed up with having to worry about security holes that can easily compromise their entire system. Yes, Firefox has security problems, but not as bad as IE can offer. However, many IT groups I see around here in town still push IE because it's easy to lock down. If the Firefox developers would come up with an administration kit that would do things like lock down certain settings, bar certain plug-ins from being deactivated or removed
  • Is this perhaps a natural step in "commercial" evolution?

    Vermont being home to a lot of small, home-grown industries, and not a lot of big ones, I've noticed something. Companies start small and (hopefully) grow. At some point, many hit a critical point where they're no longer small enough to work the same old way they used to. They have to take on some aspects of bigness, in order to continue growth. (At this point, some companies also say, "Big enough, I don't want to take on the changes necessary for fur
  • Part of me wonders if this isn't simply a seasonal shift, as well, as I've noted before regarding other numbers.

    Many students heading off to college just got new machines which, for the vast majority, run Windows and had IE on them right away. Until they've been at college for a while and have been burned by spyware, malware, or otherwise, this will be a factor.

    Additionally, this is the time of year when a number of job changes happen. I know that I moved into a corporation where IE is the browser. Yeah,

  • That's weird. Last time I heard, 30% in Finland used Firefox, and 25% or so in Sweden, and it's increasing every month. In fact, Firefox is very common in Europe.

    Most statistics are useless however, until Google show theirs.
  • The setting: A study is conducted which shows that the use of Firefox is still growing.

    "Well, the study shows that the use of Firefox is still growing. Microsoft is really in trouble."

    "I don't want to piss off Microsofot, how can we put this in a negative light?"

    "I know, let's say that the growth is slowing!"

    "Yeah, that's the ticket!"
  • I wish that after 10 years of the Web, marketers had learned something about the market. How to characterize it into segments. Instead market researchers just stand by the sidelines, repeating stats they see flash across their spreadsheets without noticing any persistent context. Sure, Web tech, applications and businesses change rapidly: that's their essential nature, what makes them popular and valuable. But the people in the market don't change that quickly. Tech and bizmodels haven't changed much in the
  • that there are more people in the world than the fanatics. See my journal (if you care to) as I have decided to rip MS products out of my home network, not because I hate MS (I have used MS since win3.1) or because I feel F/OSS is infinitely better than not-free software. I didn't make the change because IE is insecure, or more insecure than other browser(s), but because the licensing and costs issues simply do not make sense in view of equally usable software that I can decide how much its worth to me. I h
  • I switched to opera simply because firefox is a damn memory hog and is clearly not optimized. I believe the same is true for thunderbird. Take alook at dillo (granted it adheres to a very strict html standard). The source for dillo is around 500kb and is the fastest webrowswer that I have compiled. I am sure that it is possible to make firefox much leaner than what it is now. Thunderbird vs sylpheed is similar (only comparing bloat vs basic functionality). The source code size for thunderbird is about 30mb
  • by asa ( 33102 ) <> on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:47AM (#13676655) Homepage
    Apparently taking yet another percentage point of market share from the strongest monopoly in the desktop space is a sign of failure. OK. Whatever.

    - A
  • by Blimey85 ( 609949 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:57AM (#13676757)
    I really like Firefox but I'll be the first to tell you that the real power is extensions. Until I get my favorite extensions installed and configured, Firefox to me isn't much better than IE. I install a nice them, 38 extensions (that's how many I have installed right now), and then I'm pretty damn happy.

    What about having a prepackaged version that has maybe a dozen themes and 15 or 20 of the most popular extensions? Maybe even have something that comes up when you run it for the first time that walks you through enabling some extensions that are preinstalled. That would make it much easier for a new person to become familiar with the true power of Firefox.

    A lot of people don't know what Adblock is. They've never heard of WeatherFox, or FoxyTunes, or CuteMenus, or Linkification, or DownloadStatusbar or any of the other really cool extensions. Some of these are extensions that most users would probably use if they new about them. You and I have no problem because we are geeks... but what about the Average Joes out there that don't know the first thing about installing extensions or changing themes? Lets walk them through it visually and give them some choices right up front.

    I think this would go a long way to ensuring that the people who do give Firefox a try, never look back.

    On a similar note, is there way I can package my installation for friends? I'd like to be able to make a copy that I can email to a few people so they can have the exact same setup I have... and I'd also like to be able to set it up on one machine and copy it to my other machines without having to manually install each extension on each machine. Anyone have a link that details how to do this or some directions/tips/whatever? Thanks!

  • by nbahi15 ( 163501 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @12:14PM (#13676929) Homepage

    I agree with the articles premise that most of the early adopters have been converted. The rest will be slow going but I believe Firefox can still achieve at least 25% of the browser market.

    At UNT College of Business, my school job, the lab group is just now rolling out firefox to all the lab computers. This represents a sizeable exposure for Firefox in a demographic that may soon make personal or corporate decisions about open source and browsers. I think it could be a good idea if the Mozilla foundation worked to get Universities offering Firefox as an alternative on every lab or kiosk machine on campus.

    I would also venture to believe lots of large corporate IT departments are just as slow to adopt new software, even when it works. I have also wondered how thorough the enterprise deployment software is for Firefox. Does firefox have adequate support for corporate or large scale installations?

  • FF Dominance myth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shudde ( 915065 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @12:15PM (#13676942)

    While I'm a happy Firefox user, I tend to think it was a naive presumption that Firefox would ever directly battle IE for market-share dominance. People who thought it was a serious contender in this regard fail to understand the nature of the average internet user.

    I believe firmly in the technical superiority of Firefox. The developers have shown they take security seriously and the open-source model is continually proving itself with this application, not to mention the lack of integration into the OS which solves a number of IE woes. The extensibility of Firefox is another strength, allowing an element of customization to the non-technical user.

    Where I disagree with many, is claiming that Firefox will become dominant. Gone are the days when the internet was primarily composed of scientific/technical people. We're now a continually shrinking percentage of the population, which, as much as I decry certain aspects of the 'dumbing down', is as it should be. Mass adoption has brought down connection prices, broadened the services offered to us and released a flood of new information and technology.

    Firefox will continue to go from strength to strength, however the majority of new users and non-technical existing users will follow the Microsoft bandwagon. While the choice of a competing and IMHO superior browser is important to many of us, to the vast majority it's completely irrelevant. They have web access implemented in their operating system hence they see no need to even research browser alternatives.

    The real benefit of Firefox for the masses, is the adoption of it's strengths (tabbed browsing, etc.) into IE. For the rest of us, we can sit comfortably and support our own preferred browser.

  • Microsoft haters? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Beer Moon ( 894244 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @12:28PM (#13677074)
    I didn't switch because I hate Microsoft, I switched because FireFox is modular and it's convenient for what I need to do. I think it's silly to paint people who want more functionality and only want to see what they need in their software interface as Microsoft haters. I would call us power users. I've tried to show my friends and family what's out there. Half of the people I show it to (somewhat un-savvy internet users) adopt it after seeing the tabbed browsing and installing a few extensions here and there. I think one way to market it to less tech-savvy people would be to create packages with some of the most popular extensions already installed.
  • by suman28 ( 558822 ) <> on Thursday September 29, 2005 @12:29PM (#13677081)
    As the article suggests, all the early adopters are already running Firefox. Now it is up to these folks to spread our little fox, because it does not have the advantage of coming preinstalled and tied into the OS, and besides, who's to say these numbers are accurate. Who is this WebSurf whatever...what is their motive, how much analysis have they done, and why. So, many questions.
  • by sgtrock ( 191182 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @12:45PM (#13677250)
    Both from September:

    From Xiti [], a French Web monitoring company.

    From NetApplications [], a US Web monitoring company. Both say that while FF is growing, it's not growing as fast as some of the other alternative browsers. Of particular interest is that both say IE is still slowly losing ground.
  • by Coward Anonymous ( 110649 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @01:35PM (#13677755)
    The best, easiest and cheapest way for Firefox to boost its popularity into the stratosphere is to bundle free access to porn.
    To avoid being labelled as smut vendors, an "independent" developer can come up with a plug-in to do this.
  • by silverbax ( 452214 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @01:58PM (#13677950)
    I was reviewing usage stats yesterday and I noticed the same 'leveling off', but with W3schools it's 18%, not 7%.

    Firefox exploded from 5% in January 04 to 21% in May 05. Now it's crept back down a bit off that high.

    Don't really have a reason to offer, but here's the stats: sp []
  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:10PM (#13678070)
    Firefox has always had the following noticible benefits:

    1. better security
    2. tabbed browsing
    3. pop-up blocking
    4. more polished UI for certain things (like the options dialog)

    #2 and #3 are in IE. #1 is a big deal, but you've always been able to get the same effect by changing security settings in IE. With Microsoft switching to those settings, the difference is negligible. #4 I like, but it's just a tweak; it's not like MS couldn't do this.

    So, in all honesty, Firefox has always been, more or less, IE+. The key point is that open source developers managed to get something that worked as well as IE, then add some nice bonus features. In regard to the bonus features, it's not like Microsoft (a) wouldn't borrow good ideas from Firefox, and (b) would have a tremendous amount of trouble adding some additional features to an existing application. From that perspective, anyone who expect Firefox to blow IE out of the water was fooling themselves. There was a nice lull in IE development which allowed some catch-up time, and it's good that the Firefox team could take advantage of it.

    But now we're at the stage where FF and IE are essentially equals. Microsoft engineers could very easily have significant improvements to IE in the works; something that could become the standard for web browsing. If that happens, it's going to make the FF team look out of touch, spending all that time just to clone a previous generation product and make some improvements to it. True vision is something that FF development is lacking.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?