IE 7 and Firefox 2 on a par in Europe

IE 7 and Firefox 2 on a par in Europe

Summary: Xiti, which monitors share of browser across 32 European countries, reports that IE7 and Firefox 2 have, on average, reached parity in terms of site visit share. This compares with a clear advantage to IE7 in the early part of March.

TOPICS: Browser, Microsoft


Xiti, which monitors share of browser across 32 European countries, reports that IE7 and Firefox 2 have, on average, reached parity in terms of site visit share. This compares with a clear advantage to IE7 in the early part of March. There are significant disparities between nation states with 17 of the countries indicating a preference for Firefox.

More significantly for those in enterprise land is the distribution of where Firefox is faring best. Of the most divergent countries, Germany shows 32.7% in favour of Firefox compared with 21% for IE7, Austria shows 26.2/24.2 while Finland shows 38.5/23. The remaining 12 countries that prefer Firefox are all either in the Eastern European area, part of the old Soviet bloc or less developed from a technology perspective.

I could speculate about the reasons for this but at least part of it will have a cost component. OK - so IE comes with Vista but recent analysis by Ryan Stewart, David Berlind and Zoli Erdos suggests that by 2010, the OS won't matter. Stick with me a moment on this. If their arguments hold true then it might be that Xiti's analysis is giving us some indication of how well Vista is faring across Europe.

The figures for Germany are a surprise. This is where Microsoft has been doing particularly well with its Dynamics business applications. If ever there was an indicator that Microsoft needs to be more open and cross-browser friendly then that's the country I'd be watching most carefully. It won't matter so much for its own business applications but it sure as heck matters when it comes to the development of bespoke applications and new services. As John Carroll recently said: is my belief that the only way a Microsoft web strategy would make any sense is if it was designed, from the start, to work cross browser and cross-platform. Granted, the likelihood that that will happen certainly goes up with a Mozilla boasting credible market share, but irrespective of that, it should be part of Microsoft’s strategy from the outset.

If Microsoft takes this continuing research seriously and responds accordingly, it would be the single best way for it to mute its detractors while making development for business critical apps a lot easier. And just to put it in perspective, Europe had an estimated population of 728 million in 2005.

Topics: Browser, Microsoft

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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  • I guess the other 50%

    consists mainly of IE 6.

    So were is the news?
    • Exactly

      Statistics can be misleading.

      He only uses the newest versions of Firefox and IE and he only uses Europe. North/South America and Asia are a different story.

      This is like watching the nightly news. The news organization and reporter think of an agenda they want to push and then create or look for the story.

      There's nothing here.
      • The trend is stronger here

        FF is on par with IE6, both of which are 2X IE 7 share.

        In any case, the good news for all consumers is simply that there is little way any site can mandate IE only as a growth path in development, which all these stories help solidify.

        • Maybe not stronger but at least at

          Their Firefox usage figures are probably higher than at the more mainstream sites because their users as a whole are more tech and web savvy. But when I examined their data from January 2006 to June 2007, I did see some trends. In that period IE (all flavors) lost 7.5% share and Firefox gained 9%.

          I remember reading at one point that some "experts" predicted that Firefox would only reach a 10% market share and stagnate. This didn't happen and it is a good thing for everyone since there is no longer a lock-in into one particular browser/OS on the web.
        • You Pick Your Numbers...

          And I'll pick mine:

          See how childish this is.

          Bottom line: A browser (like an OS) is a personal choice. Don't treat it like a religion and don't push your values on other people.

          Now, that said, I think we can all agree that competition is a good thing.
  • There could be a few reasons for these numbers

    1. IE7 only supports XP & Vista. Anyone using Windows 2000 or lower is either stuck with IE6 or moves to FF2 or another browser. Also, anyone on a different OS platform cannot use IE7 or IE6 for that matter.

    2. While the numbers may not mean a lot right now, it may be showing some trends. Are people choosing FF2 over IE6/7 in greater numbers in Europe each month? When people migrate to Vista, will they also choose FF2? Are people in Europe moving to FF2 as a statement against Microsoft in the EU anti-trust cases?

    3. Now that people in the Europe know that they have a choice in browsers, it seems they are more willing to exercise that choice. It also points to the fact that more users are comfortable downloading and installing another product rather than just using the bundled application. If this is the case, this could be a bad omen for Microsoft since these people could also choose to download and use other office suites, such as Open Office, or other programs that compete with Microsoft products.

    It will be interesting to see how the numbers look in the next 6 months to a year. It would also be interesting to see the data and trends for IE7 and FF2 in the USA as well.

    I work at a school that has both IE6 (older computers running Windows 2000 Pro) and FF2 on all computers. When FF (starting with version .93) was first put on, hardly any staff or students used it. Now I see more staff and students using it. When I ask these students why they are using FF, many tell me that they also use it at home and like it. The staff that use it tell me that they like the pop-up blocking and tabs. (I know that IE7 has both but when it comes to upgrading from IE6 to IE7, will they pick FF2 or IE7?) I know that the above paragraph is not statistical in data but it does show a trend (at least in my school).
  • wow wouldve never guessed

    I use mostly safari and a bit of firefox, but i would have never guessed that ie7 and
    ff2 are at par. even if ie 6 is accountable for 50 percent of the market share, it is quite
    possible that whenever the user makes the transition, he could quite posibly vouch
    for firefox over ie. who would have thought.