Does Firefox have what it takes to hold on to the #2 spot?

Microsoft's Internet Explorer is losing ground. Firefox has stagnated. Chrome is grabbing market share. Does the once darling of the browser market have what it takes to hold on to the #2 spot?

Microsoft's Internet Explorer is losing ground. Firefox has stagnated. Chrome is grabbing market share. Does the once darling of the browser market have what it takes to hold on to the #2 spot?

The data says it all really. Here's is the usage share data for the top browser for September 2009 and September 2010.

In a year Chrome has managed to more than double its usage share at a time when the other major players are losing ground or barely able to hold onto the share they have.

Some of the trends are easy to explain. The migration from Internet Explorer is driven mostly by people dumping older versions of the browser. Safari is mostly tied to Mac OS adoption so is limited in that respect. But what's going on with Firefox and Chrome? Is Chrome a better browser? Has Firefox become a worse browser?

My guess - and it is little more than a guess - is that there has been a subset of Firefox users who have been disgruntled for years about the performance of the browser, especially when it came down to speed and resource consumption. Chrome appealed to these users who craved a clutter-free, unbloated browser.

But there's more. Google is pushing Chrome in a big way, using web and even newspaper ads to make even ordinary users aware of the fact that Chrome exists. Don't underestimate the power of offering Joe Public a free download.

But what about Firefox? It feels to me that the once popular browser, the first to really give Microsoft's Internet Explorer a real run for it's money on Windows since Netscape, has become somewhat stagnant. Sure, there's progress and development still being made, but it's slow and the developments aren't "cool" or "dramatic" any more.

Thought? Does Firefox have what it takes to maintain the #2 spot, or is Chrome inevitably doing to steal the spot?

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