Firefox community weighs up IE 7 threat

Firefox community weighs up IE 7 threat

Summary: One Firefox contributor thinks the browser could grab a 25 percent market share before IE 7 even launches

TOPICS: Networking
Firefox supporters are confident that Microsoft's plans for version 7 of Internet Explorer will not hinder the open source browser's rapid growth.

David McGuinness, a Mozilla contributor, claimed on Tuesday that by the time the next version of IE is released Firefox may already have taken a large proportion of its market share.

"The Firefox download rate shows no signs of slowing down and at the current download rate it's possible that Firefox could reach a 25 percent market share well before the final version of IE 7 is released," said McGuinness, on the day that the Mozilla Foundation announced Firefox had been downloaded 25 million times.

Already 4.8 percent of Internet surfers are using Firefox, while 92.7 percent are using IE, according to online measurement company WebSideStory's figures from January.

Microsoft has not revealed when the final version of IE 7 will be released, although the beta is scheduled for this summer. The final version is scheduled to arrive before Longhorn, which is expected in the second half of 2006.

But Gary Barnett, a research director at analyst firm Ovum, thinks it is unlikely that Firefox will reach 25 percent market share that soon, as the initial download rate is unlikely to continue. Initial adopters of Firefox included many proponents of the open source movement, while to reach the broader market Firefox will need to target non-technical consumers, according to Barnett.

"Although I would be delighted if Firefox got 25 percent marketshare [before the final version of IE 7 is released], I think it's extremely unlikely," said Barnett. "Early interest was coming from politically motivated people -- this will get Firefox to five or ten percent, beyond that they're marketing to my granny."

Barnett also warned that developers should not assume that Microsoft will not adapt to the open source threat.

"The most dangerous thing that the open source community can do is think that Microsoft is stupid," said Barnett. "The open source community must not forget that Microsoft is more than capable of responding to the challenges that the open source community gives them in terms of reliability and security."

Topic: Networking

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  • Barnett is wrong.

    Already Microsoft is handling its FireFox problem wrong by announcing a XP SP2 only, as usual still vaporware, update for IE6 SP2 (also a XP SP2 only product).

    When and if released it'll be half of what was promised. Combined with things that turn out to break or needing reprogramming "for better user experience (tm)". Followed soon thereafter with a flood of fixes and exploits. At least if history has learned us anything because that is the repeating theme since 1995.

    Do you think that adopting IE7 will come with zero effort, zero cost and zero man hours? No way. And the thank you for all that? Jump through the hoops again becomes here comes Longhorn. Part one. Next runner up. Longhorn part one and a half. Guess what comes after that. Hint: it's what you've been doing since 1995. You guessed it: you did it all wrong, you need the latest and greatest, again.

    Adopt FireFox and you'll have to jump through hoops as well. Sure enough there will be challenges along the way (e.g.: booting out those commercially motivated external advisors that somehow seem to be able to run up bills everytime you follow their "independant" advise). But once that's behind you (e,g: finding alternatives for those websites that are too lazy or too ignorant to come up with anything but an IE-only "website"; a better word for such websites would be a "NBM site"; Nothing But Microsoft) and that's it. You've invested most of the blood, sweat and tears needed to make and continue the change over.

    It's your choice. It's your time, your sweat, your blood and your tears.

    Microsoft, with its huge R&D budget, its "Thrustworthy Computing" claims, is alleged large developers network, its enormous profits margins and its immense cash reserve just told you: we can't fix your IE problems in Windows 98, Windows NT or even Windows 2000.

    But a 19 year old could. With FireFox.
  • yeah i agree with arthur because only young blods challange this microsoft monopoly in windows

    Keep it up buddy
  • it will xp SP2 only.. AND.. most likely if you have a legit copy..! so that nerrows down even further how many people will be able to use it.. continueing to decrease their market share of browser.....

    i think marketing will do some good to further firefox.. but granny will not download and install anything.. here at work..i have made firefox the default browser with the IEVIEW extension.. (and a few others) ... todate.. everyone who has used firefox here for any length off time eventually comes to ask where they can download a copy for home.. having people use it at work is where they will have their first contact.. then they can be introduced further in OSS..
  • I think IE7 will be too little and too late. It will be very hard to even catch Firefox regarding its advanced features, great support for web standards, speed and security. Firefox has also another big advantage, at least here, it is translated in my mother language and IE is not. And by the time IE7 is out Firefox and opera too will both be far ahad again.
  • now, in Germany there are two websites counting browsers and publishing the numbers:
    "Der Spiegel", the German equivalent of "Time" and "Newsweek" with 200 000 000 hits/month reports 27% of its visitors use Firefox, and, a computer magazine's webpage, reports 37% of its visitors are using firefox, with IE usage down to 30%.
    How many people are usingfirefox while visiting this page?