Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Mozilla Grabs 6 Percent Market Share as IE Falters

Mozilla Grabs 6 Percent Market Share as IE Falters: "The Mozilla Foundation makes two primary Web browser products, the Mozilla suite, which includes a Web browser, email client, and instant messaging (IM) solution, and the Firefox browser, a standalone Web browser that is nearing its crucial 1.0 release. According to WebSideStory, both the Mozilla suite and Firefox grabbed 3 percent market share in October, for a total of 6 percent, up from a combined 5.2 percent in September. During that same time period, IE's market share slid from 93.7 percent in September to 92.9 percent in October; in June, IE had 95.5 percent of the market.
Other Web browsers are also stealing market share from the stagnant IE. Opera and Apple Safari both edged above 0.5 percent of the market in October, WebSideStory says. While these numbers don't seem particularly impressive, they do come at the expense of IE, which has dominated the Web browser market since the late 1990's. However, since then, Microsoft has backed off from actively developing IE. Now, for the first time, we're seeing rivals finally starting to gain on IE."

A few notes from my experience with Firefox, which I started using primarily because Blogger's BlogThis! utility doesn't work with IE in XP SP2 (perhaps Google, which acquired Google and is expected to promote its own Mozilla-based browser, doesn't consider Blogger's IE bug a high priority...):
1. I've run across a few sites that were obviously designed for an all-IE user base, including a few surprises such as JetBlue's site, which wouldn't let me complete a reservation (I couldn't get past seat selection with Firefox and had to pick up the phone...) and other sites that relied on IE-specific tags such as < + COMMENT + > that aren't supported by Firefox (in a model that's consistent with IE). JetBlue has been promoted as a .NET case study several times over the last few years, so it's not a big surprise.
2. Firefox continues to perform well -- better than IE for most of the sites I visit on a regular basis.
3. The tabbed model doesn't do much for me -- I routinely open links in new windows instead.
4. Several sites, e.g., Microsoft's Money Central site, are dumbed-down when using Firefox (due to the use of ActiveX controls in IE).

Overall: I'll remain multi-browsered for now...
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