The Firefox vs. IE enthusiasm gap: What browser needs to rally the base more?

The Firefox vs. IE enthusiasm gap: What browser needs to rally the base more?

Summary: Mozilla has put off its latest Firefox until early 2011. That slippage by a few weeks isn't a big concern---unless you need to rally the base and close what Ed Bott calls "an enthusiasm gap."

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Mozilla has put off its latest Firefox until early 2011. That slippage by a few weeks isn't a big concern---unless you need to rally the base and close what Ed Bott calls "an enthusiasm gap."

Ed looked at his own blog and noted that enthusiasm among Firefox users just isn't what it used to be. Specifically, Ed was looking to measure how much mojo the new Internet Explorer had.

Zooming out a bit, I pulled the figures for ZDNet overall via Google Analytics. Generally speaking, there's an enthusiasm gap for both Firefox and IE. Firefox traffic in February represented more than 36 percent of ZDNet traffic and IE had nearly 39 percent. In June, Firefox fell to 34.44 percent of traffic while IE dropped to 38.57 percent. In October, Firefox represented 33.06 percent of traffic and IE had 36.54 percent.

So what happened? Google Chrome happened. In February, Chrome was 11.84 percent of traffic. By June, Chrome was 15.07 percent of traffic. In October: 18.25 percent.

For what it is worth, Safari traffic has been steady about 9 percent or so.

This Firefox enthusiasm gap was something I was thinking about last week. Mozilla pushed out Firefox 4 and I was disappointed. That news happened to coincide with yet another security update. Mozilla needs to rally its base and I'm part of that group.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has jazzed up IE and is talking HTML5. Simply put, Microsoft is pushing IE forward. See: Internet Explorer 9 beta review: Microsoft reinvents the browser

To put, this browser battle in election terms. Firefox and IE represent the two major political parties. They are entrenched and have partisan groups---open source and Microsoft---behind them. Google Chrome represents the third party for folks that want to vote out the incumbents. Chrome has the enthusiasm among its base. And people are voting with their downloads.

Like many people, I use all three browsers, but Firefox is the one I perceive to be most at risk. There are good things happening, but the lack of a concrete mobile play for now and a shiny new object---Firefox 4---is worrisome. The way Chrome is surging even a stumble by a few weeks can impact Firefox share.

A look at the stats on ZDNet:

Topics: Browser, Google, Microsoft

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38 comments
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  • Its not an enthusiam gap, it's a performance gap

    IE9 is really kicking its a** up one side of the street and down the other. If FF can't take more people from IE than it's losing to chrome it's in deep kimshi...
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: The Firefox vs. IE enthusiasm gap: What browser needs to rally the base more?

      @Johnny Vegas
      It?s not a matter of which one wins, you have a choice to which browser you and anyone else uses. Firefox will do just fine.

      Correction it?s not Kimshi, it?s Kimchi. (Chi sound as in "nature energy" or "inner energy") Korean kimchi is undoubtedly the healthiest food on the planet.

      Mock an Asian food, truly sad.

      Riding with Penguins in a World of Glass and Fruit.
      Hoooay!
      daikon
      • German sauerkraut is better.

        @Linux Rocks
        Dr_Zinj
    • If performance was all that mattered, IE share would have gone to zero a

      long time ago. What will help IE9 more than anything is the new look. But, in any case, wait until IE9 is shipping and beats the currently shipping Firefox and Chrome browsers before you start boasting.<br><br>I can still remember all the years that IE performance was orders of magnitude worse than the competition, and all of the Microsoft apologist saying that users did not care about speed.<br><br>And, even if IE9 performance turns out to be better in some areas, it will be most likely measured in single digit percentages, something an end user would not even notice.
      DonnieBoy
      • RE: The Firefox vs. IE enthusiasm gap: What browser needs to rally the base more?

        @DonnieBoy:

        To be fair, IE actually had a (perceived) performance advantage on Windows - mostly because it had a higher priority access to Windows' deeper levels than other browsers did - all other browsers are stuck with using public APIs.

        The fact that IE is still seen as sluggish by comparison is a tell-tale sign of bloat... something I don't see Microsoft reducing any time soon.

        IMHO, the biggest reason IE fell from grace (in spite of being default) so fast is because of its legendary crap security.
        Random_Walk
    • RE: The Firefox vs. IE enthusiasm gap: What browser needs to rally the base more?

      @Johnny Vegas When I used IE I was hacked all the time, when I switched to Firefox it stopped. My hotmail acount is hacked all the time, everytime they update Hotmail they change everything which makes it a nightmare to use. I have windows 7 professional which is supposed to be able to run XP programs, it doesnt. Microsoft has nothing I would ever pay for!!!!!!!!!!!!
      gswank54@...
      • supposed to be able to run XP programs, it doesnt.

        @gswank54@...
        I have no problems running "XP" programs. I can run them directly or in the virtual XP box. I have several older programs running right now. I have several clients that are running versions of programs from the XP era, therefore I have to assume operator error, or more likely, a Linux or Apple troll!
        barefoot1976
    • I'm lost until Loverock Davidson tells me

      what the truth really is :-)
      Over and Out
  • RE: The Firefox vs. IE enthusiasm gap: What browser needs to rally the base more?

    After having been a committed Firefox user for many years, Chrome was love at first sight: the single search/address box, wonderful search engine shortcuts and the uncluttered interface make browsing simply more efficient. Whenever I come across Firefox somewhere it now seems bloated, sluggish and I simply hate having to type queries in the separate search box again. Firefox needs to rethink their approach because right now they are definitely behind the wave.
    mulder@...
    • Right, MS copied Chrome, NOT Firefox for IE9. In any case, you can bet that

      Google will keep Firefox fully funded, and Firefox will work on a much more streamlined interface.
      DonnieBoy
      • RE: The Firefox vs. IE enthusiasm gap: What browser needs to rally the base more?

        @DonnieBoy

        Why would Google do that?
        Why didn't they just keep funding firefox instead of inventing their own browser?
        Don't you think because they want a piece (or maybe the whole lot that firefox has) of the pie themselves as well?
        live.tiles
      • Google created Chrome in order to saturate the market, push innovation, and

        just to try out different user interface models. Of course they wanted to and did push JavaScript performance. In any case, it is the sum of all high performance, standards based browsers not controlled by Microsoft that is important to Google. They could care less if Firefox or Chrome take share from IE.

        In any case, if Firefox went away, some would go to IE, and some to Chrome, increasing IE percentage. Google will not let that happen.
        DonnieBoy
      • RE: The Firefox vs. IE enthusiasm gap: What browser needs to rally the base more?

        @DonnieBoy - Let's be fair here, Google copied the source for WebKit, wrapped it in a minimalistic shell and called it Chrome.

        They certainly get the credit for starting the race to de-chrome the browser (ironic, huh?), but don't think they created the whole thing themselves from scratch any more than they created ChromeOS and Android without using mountains of pre-written SO and UI software.
        bitcrazed
    • I simply hate having to type queries in the separate search box again

      @mulder@... You never had to use the extra search box in Firefox, I always used to type my search directly in the address bar, no difference here with Chrome.
      dutchkind
      • never liked the idea of a combined search/address box:

        try search something with a dot or slash in it and u'll know why i don't like it
        cym104
  • RE: The Firefox vs. IE enthusiasm gap: What browser needs to rally the base more?

    Excuse me. I still use Seamonkey and am very happy with it. What's happening with IE? I do have to use it once in a while at sites the are still in the dark ages. Version 7, I think...
    BTW, can you right click on a link in your email and choose "open is a new tab" in any of the other browsers.... yet?
    bobwinners
    • Re; email and choose "open is a new tab"

      @bobwinners
      That bit has been in Opera for years.
      Not surprising; they were first with tabs too.
      hkommedal
    • RE: The Firefox vs. IE enthusiasm gap: What browser needs to rally the base more?

      @bobwinners
      I heart Seamonkey as well... The integrated features as you mention are what made me use it as my primary browser. I suggest to anyone who has never used it, definitely take it for a test drive!
      sevanuik
  • RE: The Firefox vs. IE enthusiasm gap: What browser needs to rally the base more?

    Dunno. I'd compare this to CyanogenMod and/or Yahoo. In Yahoo's case, Google has provided a large share of it's revenue even though it was a competing product. Yahoo has had a great deal of time to reinvent itself and become a major player again in a public way. Yahoo hasn't done that, but they have had opportunity.

    CyanogenMod (a different flavor of Android for your phone) Started out offering some neat extra features but fell behind the 'Android release curve'. People were saying 'when when when'? The Cyanogen developer community said "When it's ready". And guess what, when they shipped CM6 (Their first revision of Android 2.2) It was faster, more feature rich, and more reliable than any stock android rom out there.

    If you have staying power, long-term a better product is the way to go.

    Your argument, the 'enthusiasm gap' may have some *small* merit.. but as long as the next FF is a relevant (superior) competitor at the time of release enthusiasm is likely to return, as well as web-traffic.
    relativityboy
  • RE: The Firefox vs. IE enthusiasm gap: What browser needs to rally the base more?

    Why would Google do that?
    Why didn't they just keep funding firefox instead of inventing their own browser?
    Don't you think because they want a piece (or maybe the whole lot that firefox has) of the pie themselves as well?

    Tracking! Google wants to be able to integrate gmail with the browser so it has more detailed information on YOU>
    bobwinners