Yahoo started offering a beta version of its toolbar for the open source browser Firefox on Microsoft Windows on Wednesday, with versions for Linux and MacOS X following at some expected "shortly".
The Yahoo toolbar was previously available only for Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Mitchell Baker, the president of the Mozilla Foundation, said the Foundation is pleased that Yahoo is adding support, which he claimed showed the high level of interest in the browser.
"We're excited about the release of the Yahoo Toolbar for Firefox," said Baker in a statement. "Firefox has been downloaded more than 23 million times since its launch in November and the Yahoo Toolbar release demonstrates the popularity of the browser and the success of the Mozilla platform."
The Firefox version of the toolbar includes features such as bookmarks, search history and translation tools, but does not include Anti-Spy, the spyware-fighting tool that Yahoo added to the IE toolbar last year.
James Governor, an analyst at RedMonk, said this is a positive sign for Firefox, but it is unlikely to replace IE as the front-end for enterprise applications.
"There is increasing evidence that Firefox is becoming a platform to develop to," said Governor. "But from an enterprise perspective it will require support from vendors before it can be used as the front-end for applications. Internal applications [that are accessed by a browser] work to non-standard IE elements -- you can't just swap IE out and put in Firefox."
You can download the toolbar from Yahoo's Web site.