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Firefox Continues to Bite into IE Usage 521

InformationSage writes "According to Information Week, Firefox usage is now over 6 percent, pulling Internet Explorer usage down below 90 percent. 'Firefox is currently the only browser that is increasing market share on a monthly basis, and it is growing at the direct expense of Microsoft's Internet Explorer'"
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Firefox Continues to Bite into IE Usage

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  • But wont.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:20AM (#11983783)
    IE7 pull this back for them with:

    Better security
    Tab Browsing
    Conformance to standards

    • Re:But wont.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) * on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:19PM (#11984788)
      "Better security"

      Ah, but what's the standard? Better security than Firefox, or simply better security than IE6?

      "Tab Browsing"

      We'll have to see the specifics of their implementation, won't we? For example, will I be able to force IE7 to operate in just one window?

      "Conformance to standards"

      Yes, but for Microsoft's definition of the word "standard." Rarely does it have anything to do with how the rest of the world uses that word.
      • Re:But wont.. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by XO ( 250276 )
        If it's better than IE6, the IE users won't care, and won't switch.

        Then again, the average person, no matter how much slashdot would like to think, doesn't care anyway.

        That said, the traffic on my website (mostly generated from fark and slashdot) is close to 35% firefox, 25% opera, and the rest IE and others.
  • by ttlgDaveh ( 798546 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:21AM (#11983788) Homepage
    For a site I run [] Firefox is nearing 30% usage for Feb-Mar 2005 (some 20 million hits) Internet Explorer 59.3 % Firefox 28.5 % Opera 6.9 % Mozilla 3% Netscape 1 % Safari 0.5 %
    • Occam's razor (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Your site is a gaming site. It attracts techies and geek gamers who are more likely to use a browser other than IE.

      Now if your stats can show that John Q. Public or Jane Q. Soccermom is visiting your site and using FF, then that's completely different.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:33AM (#11983836)
      I'd bet a lot of those "Firefox" hits will actually be Internet Explorer users, spoofing their user-agent strings, so they can "sneak" into poorly written Gecko-only sites...
    • over 70% here. 280,000 hits/month.
    • by trboyden ( 465969 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:48AM (#11983895)
      Yeah well my site gets 100% Firefox users.

      Sub BrowserDetect()

      If Browser != "Firefox";


      End If
      End Sub
    • According to this site [] in Poland it is:
      1. IE: 84.6%
      2. Gecko: 10.2%
      3. Opera 4.9%
      IE is going down at a pace of 0.2%-0.3% per week. How about other countries ?
    • Well, I have a pretty run-of-the-mill personal site, but I have a large number of pictures, so I get a lot of Google hits. (No, it is NOT porn...) I'm running around 11% Firefox and Mozila, and about 83% IE. The IE traffic has been steadily dropping.

      See: AWSTATS [] page. (Yes, it will be dog slow if everyone hits it at the same time...)

    • Interesting. I might as well give stats on some of the sites I have access to stats to:

      1. My site has IE usage below 25%, mostly because I link to it from here. It actually has an entry for Galeon, which until I searched, I had no idea what it was.

      2. A NY musician's site registers as 18% Firefox/Mozilla/Netscape.

      3. A financial services site (which from experience caters to the most mom-and-pop audience you can imagine) has only 2.9% Firefox usage. A similar site on the west coast of the US has about 4.5%
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:22AM (#11983789)
    It's good that Firefox is gaining market shares... but what about Mozilla?

    The whole mozilla projet (mozilla + firefox) is what *really* matters, not only Firefox!
    • by m50d ( 797211 )
      Obviously it's not growing every month. Firefox is the one that's had the publicity behind it, it's the one people have heard of, it's the one people are using.
    • Do you mean Mozilla Suite? It's no longer being developed by the Mozilla Foundation [] (well, there's no plan for a version 1.8, so "no longer" soon). There is a group of people who are planning to fork the code, and continue work on it, but it's likely that the Suite is not gaining popularity because it is considered deprecated now.
      • There is a group of people who are planning to fork the code, and continue work on it
        That's not entirely accurate. There is a group of people who will continue working on the code, but there are no plans to create a fork. That way, the Suite developed by the group will continue to benefit from all the Gecko improvements and bug fixes that Firefox does.
    • by ooze ( 307871 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @10:02AM (#11983983)
      Now they should make some efford and really put the Gecko Runtime Environment in a seperate package on each platform that can be installed independently of the single applications, and you can have all the advantages of the Mozilla suite (no overhead for running every singe application) and of Firefox and Thunderbird etc. (e.g. sleeker clients with better marketing) at the smae time. Would also ignite a whole new development movement for XUL tools and applications.
      • Except that... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kikta ( 200092 ) *
        You're forgetting one very important thing. As a matter of fact, everyone who is a big Moz suite fan says the same thing as you, but they forget one of the biggest reasons for FF/TB: seperating the memory of the various suite applications.

        Does no one remember that there was (and may still be, I use FF/TB instead of the suite now) a major problem with one part of the suite crashing and taking the rest with it? Many times I was bitten by a buggy Moz Mail plugin crashing and pulling my 10+ tab web session off
  • comeback (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:22AM (#11983790) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft are hoping that by taking leaves from Mozilla's book, such as Tabbed Browsing and putting them into IE7, the will stop the users who are not very tech savvy from changing to firefox, therefore still keeping the larger user base

    Mozilla has an advantage with the fact that they can release a new version practically anytime, with updates nightly or anything. IE updates have to go out to everyone using it, and in general the people will not know as much, therefore creating more trouble.
    • Re:comeback (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:26AM (#11983806)
      Actually by including tabbed browsing they are taking a leaf from Opera's book, same as Mozilla did. Credit where its due.
      • Re:comeback (Score:5, Informative)

        by FidelCatsro ( 861135 ) <fidelcatsro@gmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:41AM (#11983871) Journal
        IIRC tabbed browsing first apeared in NetCaptor an alt IE GUI browser , then in opera 4.
        Wikipedia seems to agree with me []
        • Re:comeback (Score:3, Informative)

          Actually, I wrote that Wikipedia entry* and I originally stated that NetCaptor is one of the first browsers to use tabbed browsing. That, as far as I know, is true.

          But then an anonymous user came along and changed "one of the first" to "very first" -- this I cannot verify. More research into the tabbed browsing timeline would be needed. Another site claims that a browser known as "Booklinks InternetWorks" was actually the first, but I can't verify that either.

          *Look in the edit history. User Clueless i
          • aha ,I thank you for refreshing my memory a little, I seem to remember a few experimental browser at that time with tab support.
            I did a bit more reading after posting , and it certainly apears to have been a sweeping at the time , All i remember for certain was that opera was not the first
            internet browser to use tabbing , But it did certainly do it properly
            • Re:comeback (Score:3, Informative)

              Hey, look what I found []. NetCaptor's programmer explains the whole situation in his own words:

              I must disagree for two reasons [about Booklink Internetworks being first]. First, Booklink/GNN/NetShark, in its various incarnations, was not a "tabbed browser" as we now know them. In GNN (and I have several copies floating around), tabs represented the navigation stack of a user's browsing session. To go back or forward, you switched to the different tabs which represented other locations in your session histo

      • actually, by including a tabbed interface, they are taking a page from OS/2's book, same as mozilla and opera did. credit where it's due.
        • That is very true , i remember that being one of the best features of os/2 froma navigation point . ;) but to be super pedantic , does anyone know the name of the guy who invented the tabbing system for file folders (as in , the physical object), the ones i have loads of laying around that im too lazy to digitise
    • Re:comeback (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Artifakt ( 700173 )
      Firefox is likely to release much more often than IE, and to continue to grow, but they will get slower expansion from a typical upgrade. If a new release has some feature as useful as pop-up blocking, or even tabbed browsing, Firefox attracts a big bunch of new users. Unless there's a really impressive feature in some new release, expect incremental growth, and a long struggle with Microsoft.
      Full CSS implementation for the net will be sweet, and will probably come about partly through Mozilla Foundati
    • Re:comeback (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SeaFox ( 739806 )
      Mozilla has an advantage with the fact that they can release a new version practically anytime, with updates nightly or anything. IE updates have to go out to everyone using it, and in general the people will not know as much, therefore creating more trouble.

      What's ironic is one would assume Microsoft would have the upper hand in the updates game since they have their automatic update mechanism to changes things a few KB at a time if they wish.

      Whereas installing a Firefox update usually means reinstallin
  • XUL IDE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by haeger ( 85819 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:25AM (#11983800)
    Great news.
    What I'm missing is a good XUL IDE. I hear that KDevelop is going to support XUL soon and there are others, but one thing that Microsoft does really well is to help the developers to get started. Now if there just were a good IDE with syntax highlighting, completion and testing I think XUL apps would really take off. Don't you?


  • I wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ckwop ( 707653 ) * <> on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:26AM (#11983803) Homepage
    Are we at the peak of Firefox adoption or is this the calm before the storm?

    I would never want to see Firefox reach the level of dominance that Internet Explorer has reacher. Having a 90% market share leads inexorably to the stalling of innovation.

    A much better position would be for there to be lots of browsers with around 15% market share. This would foster creativity and would hammer home the importance of standards compliance.

    I want the days of the software monopoly to come to an end, and Firefox may be the a catalyst for the wide spread disintegration of such monopolies.

    • Re:I wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GNUALMAFUERTE ( 697061 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <etreufamla>> on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:39AM (#11983860)
      That is certainly important. Free Software encourages diversity. back in the day, even in the world of proprietary software, people had alternatives, they would ask you what OS you run, if you had a gui or not, what word processor you used, or what spreadsheet, what browser, etc.

      Now, people using proprietary software uses a given set of applications, for a given set of basic tasks, and there is allmost no variation, besides versions.

      Free Software encourages the necesary diversitiy in the software that is used. I Think there are not 2 geeks that has the same setup on their Free Software Box. We have various OSs to choose from, and we do, in the case of GNU/Linux, we have different distros, we use various browsers, terminal emulators, editors, office suits, IM programs, media players, mail clients, etc,etc, etc.

    • Re:I wonder (Score:2, Insightful)

      by etymxris ( 121288 )

      Having a 90% market share leads inexorably to the stalling of innovation.

      I don't think this is true for open source projects. I know Apache doesn't have 90% market share, but it is dominant, and still continues active development. It is continually developed because the people working on it feel that it needs new features. Conversely, new features are not added where a package does everything it needs to do. Closest I can think of is grep. For things like Firefox, I expect that will be a long time in coming

    • Only if they are all standards-compliant. The SAME standards.

      The last thing we need is another browser wars and having to design redundant pages for 9 different browsers.
  • User-Agent cloaking (Score:4, Informative)

    by quokkapox ( 847798 ) <> on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:27AM (#11983812)
    Any statistics of Firefox usage based on http log analysis will have to be adjusted upwards by some unknown factor based on how many people surf as MSIE using the User Agent Switcher Extension.
    • I should hope that by 2005 it is 0% - it fucking should be! I don't know if this is an excuse make us Firefoxers feel good about themselves or just a leftover misconception from 1997, but no one uses useragent cloaking, and if they should then they are a pretty low level nerd... All us nerds learnt to stop that practise when they found out it hindering us.

      It seems that the only reason to bring up user-agent cloaking on slashdot is to try and grab some mod points.

      (Hope it works!)
      • As with the other comment about managing Firefox on corporate installs, useragent cloaking is another sorely lacking feature that is *critical* in any business deployment.

        Having the ability to adjust the useragent for a specific list of broken sites would make large business deployments that much more possible. As it stands, the "so now we'll have to support two browsers, IE and Firefox" argument is still persuasive.
    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @10:10AM (#11984021) Homepage
      Opera masquerades it's User Agent as I.E. by default. It's actually a bit controversial in the Opera community, as while it reduces their numbers for a long time it increased the number of sites that didn't crap out.

      It's also pretty easy to filter for if you realize that a Mozilla compatible I.E. with the word Opera attached to the end is not likely to have come from Redmond. But the numbers that these companies are throwing around sound about right for Opera's marketshare, so they're probably doing such filtering already.

  • Does anyone know of a graph that shows broswer usage over the last few years and actually has up to date numbers? Just wondering.
  • How come the article is not yet slashdotted? Is it because it is the weekend or what? This is one of the very few times I have been successful with an article within its first minutes of posting. That was good news though. Go Firefox go...!
  • But Most of the users that are currently switching are users that allready used browsers other than IE (That is, Opera, Mozilla Suite, Netscape, etc. users). I would like to see actual numbers, not numbers that cames from the logs of some website, but stats that let's us track individual browser use, and see who is switching from what to what.
    Most Internet Explorer market is people with default windows installs, and that is at least 70% of the market. That people is not going to switch anytime soon. So the grow of firefox will sadly certainly encounter it's roof soon.

    I Would also like to make something clear, this is not a victory for Free Software like many people understand. This is not a victory against propietary software. Most of the people that installs Firefox doens't undestand or care about the fact that firefox is Free Software. Most firefox installs are under windows.
    We will be talking about the victory of Free Software when people understands why Free Software is important, and why proprietary software shouldn't be used, and NOT when some specific piece of Free Software gains marketshare.
  • by Krankheit ( 830769 )
    I am worried about the future. With IE7 on it's way, is this going to slow down the adoption of Firefox by the masses? Is Microsoft going to start advertising everywhere that IE7 is on the way so users will think "Nevermind Firefox, I can just use IE6 because IE7 will be out soon and it will work better with my sites"? (re: vapourware effect, not that I don't think Microsoft won't release it) Also, the bug that causes the user to lose the entire contents of their hard disk drive while uninstalling Firefox 1
    • Also, the bug that causes the user to lose the entire contents of their hard disk drive while uninstalling Firefox 1.0 is worrysome.

      WHAT??? I have never heard of that -- do you have a link to back that up?

  • by dannytaggart ( 835766 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:33AM (#11983835) Homepage
    use of Firefox rose to 6.17% from 5.59% in January.
    Firefox's gain comes at the expense of Internet Explorer, which dropped to 89.04% market share, from 90.31% in December.

    So, IE has dropped by 1.27% and Firefox has risen by 0.58%. That means other browsers have risen by 0.67%, which is more than Firefox.
    • I think you're miscalculating. The set which includes all other browsers has risen more than the single browser Firefox, but as long as that set has even share in growth, that means Firefox is still very much the leader.
    • by my calculation, from 5.59% to 6.17% is a 10.3% increase for firefox.
    • If you had actually RTFA, you would have seen:

      Net Applications reports that other browsers maintained their user base.

      and also:

      Firefox is currently the only browser that is increasing market share on a monthly basis, and it is growing at the direct expense of Microsoft's Internet Explorer

      That means that the numbers for the other browsers did not go up or down by any significant amount.
  • by The Dobber ( 576407 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:43AM (#11983877)
    use of Firefox rose to 6.17% from 5.59% in January

    I always like how they manage to get these results out to the second decimal place.

    I converted, IE evil, FireFox good. I'm warming to ThunderTurd.

  • I remember from somewhere that growth rates of products increasily rapidly once their market share reaches 10%. What out for it!
  • by asciimonster ( 305672 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:49AM (#11983905) Journal
    If the uses of firefox increases, shouldn't we think about makeing this broser more appealing for "the masses"? In other words how do we make a better browsing experience for everybody? (I mean: How do we have Firefox protect John Doe from doing dumb things on the internet?)

    I was thinking about the following: Every time the is a security warning, such as "Do you want to install this programme?" or "Do you want this java applet complete access to your hard disk?", shouldn't there also be a button marked "I have no idea what this means" and make it the default button. This button has obviously the same function as cancel.

    • I would probably label it Help me choose and put a "grandma friendly" second dialog box up that requires a specific "ok, I understand the risks" selection to not bail. Style-points aside, that's a brilliant idea.
    • by Yolegoman ( 762615 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @10:21AM (#11984062) Homepage
      a button marked "I have no idea what this means" and make it the default button.

      No, because people won't want to feel stupid. For an "install program" warning, the option should be Ignore, Yes, No, in that order. But at all costs, the window must not be allowed to popup again. The Ignore and No setting should be at LEAST saved for the entire browser session - i.e., until the user closes the browser and opens it up again. If the warning pops up again and again after the user selects Ignore, he WILL eventually click Yes.

  • by sproketboy ( 608031 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:50AM (#11983907)
    I hate M$ but I'm realistic. Once IE7 comes out - matter how badly it will support standards, people will go back to it.
  • by bblazer ( 757395 ) * on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:53AM (#11983924) Homepage Journal
    I am having problems with this calculation - I may probably not thinking clearly this morning. If Firefox has 6 percent and IE is now below 90% (granted they don't give an exact figure) then that means that other browsers like Safari, Opera, Netscape, Mozilla and Conquer total for only 4% of usage? Since Apple has about a 5% market share, and Safari is the de-facto browser for Apple, doesn't that mean that mean that all of the other bowsers I mentioned basically are not used by anyone? My website statistics do not show that. I would guess that IE is WAY below 90%; maybe even approaching somewhere in the 70% area.
    • Actually, what I think you failed to account for is that fact that even though Safari is the "default" browser for Mac OS X, many Mac users actually user Firefox or Mozilla as their primary browser.
    • The default browser for Mac OS X Jaguar was Internet Explorer. Safari wasn't even istalled until you used Software Update. Many Mac isers are still using IE on the Mac. And since IE on the Mac isn't integrated into the OS the way IE on Windows is, they're relatively safe in doing so.

      I'm the guy who gets called in whenever someone with a Powerbook or iBook has a problem at work, because I'm the only tech who's drunk the white kool-aid. It's amazing how many people running Panther still use IE.

      And Firefox i
  • by FlynnMP3 ( 33498 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:55AM (#11983938)
    All they would have to do is completely support CSS 2.1. Maybe even do CSS3 support with all the extension for accessability for webpages. Bump up of the control of the printing device. Have CSS selectors that act for some of the less used options that are dead if they aren't there. Geek support will gradually come in. They won't like it, but they'll have to eventually admit standards are supported.

    Then for the final business reason to keep IE. Make a .NET control that gives complete control over the manipulation and creation of Office documents. Yes, this will put at least 3 companies out of business. But this will also ensure (ensnare?) businesses.

    Then everybody will have what they want. Business types just want excel/office for browing the Internet and the tech types will be able to code standards compliant web pages for their intranets.

    Oh...and as a side note. Work on security a bit too. Personally, I don't see how they are going to fix it with backward compatability a overriding requirement. If they can't get rid of ActiveX, then their security problem won't go away.

    -I hate unripe sigs.
  • Hopefully this will prompt the National Lottery's website in the UK to let me access the Subscriptions part without telling me that my browser isn't secure enough.

    Try going here [] using FireFox and you'll see what I mean.
  • by bender647 ( 705126 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:57AM (#11983954)
    Why would Microsoft care how many people use IE? They give it away for free. Is it just that Firefox is a "gateway drug" and leads to use of other non-Microsoft solutions?
    • Other people have made very good points about how browser lockin can lead to webapp lockin. Back in the bad old days this was a major issue: people were afreaid that IE would lead to mass adoption of WMV, IIS, and would allow MS to create proprietary web standards by majority. Certainly these fears haven't completely been abated, but I do think MS's ability to do this is worsening.

      I also know first-hand from MS employees that some of the justification is much shorter-term. A majority of IE users don't
  • CNN Story (Score:4, Interesting)

    by furballphat ( 514726 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:59AM (#11983965)
    It's pretty neat how far FireFox is beginning to spread. CNN carried this story on TV just a half-hour ago. They mentioned that FireFox was becoming the most popular alternative to IE. My coworkers (who's job includes watching CNN) came by and asked me why this FireFox thing is better. I told them about tabbed browsing, popup blocking, lack of security issues, and other niceties.

    One of the coworkers downloaded FireFox right away. I actually expected him to take a little while to wean off of IE. After I showed him FireFox's features, however, he set FireFox to his default browser and deleted his IE shortcuts! I think we're definitely making headway. :-)
  • A Tad Scarry... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @10:06AM (#11984003)
    When my father-in-law says, "I'm running Linux now," I about piss myself. Then I realize he just installed Firefox on his Windows box and confused all FOSS by lumping it in with Linux. Then, while trying to explain to him that FOSS is good but it's not just all Linux, I get questions reguarding the slowdown of his computer mysteriously timed with the install of Kazaa.

    /me bashes head with phone.
  • by DeathAndTaxes ( 752424 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @10:31AM (#11984115) Homepage
    heh I'm wondering if they are counting popups and malware-spawned browser windows toward the IE percentages. Several people are saying 70 to 80% is more likely, but if you count the extra 'hits' from popups and such, that could easily push those numbers higher. ;-)
  • by SoupIsGood Food ( 1179 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @10:32AM (#11984125)
    I help to run "one of those" sites, the nature and scope of which I will leave entirely to the reader's imagination, save to say it's unlikely people hit it from work.

    Over the course of the past three months, I'm seeing closer to 30% of my traffic as being Mozilla based, with Firefox accounting for almost all of that. 60% is IE, and the rest is split between Opera, Safari, Konqueror and various spider bots. Oddly enough, Opera is better represented than Safari... I attribute this to its popularity on cell phones.

    Speaking with other admins, these numbers aren't unique.

    IE's lost its monopoly in the home browser market... its overall dominance comes from locked-down corporate desktops, where change comes but slow.

    SoupIsGood Food
    • A friend is the admin for a major hotel chain here in Europe, they have 5 different names for their hotels based on the rating. The servers are all together in a big farm with load balancers and multi-homed links. Their traffic is a mix of home users, business users, and travel agencies.

      His stats run about 19% for Firefox, and no more than 65% for all versions of IE combined. Contrast that with 88% market share this time last year for IE.

      Because of the dynamic business nature of his sites, they have over
  • by Lazy Jones ( 8403 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:21PM (#11984802) Homepage Journal
    Here in Austria (no, not in Soviet Russia), websites are reporting ~20% Mozilla, ~70% MSIE ...
  • by Tobias Luetke ( 707936 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:32PM (#11984851)

    I run a snowboard store at [] and this months statistics are really surprising.

    Obviously this is a pretty young clientele


    • FireFox 46 %
    • MS Internet Explorer 37.3 %
    • Safari 9 %

    Operating systems:

    • Windows 74.5 %
    • Macintosh 13.9 %
    • Linux 9.9 %

    Go non MS stuff!

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors