Report: Mozilla enterprise browser share hits 18 percent

On the same day that Mozilla is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its Mozilla source code release, Forrester Research analysts have released a new study that shows that Firefox's market share among business users has doubled in the past year, and is now at 18 percent.Forrester released the results of its one-month study of 50,000 "enterprise users" -- entitled "Enterprise Desktop And Web 2.

On the same day that Mozilla is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its Mozilla source code release, Forrester Research analysts have released a new study that shows that Firefox's market share among business users has doubled in the past year, and is now at 18 percent.

Forrester released the results of its one-month study of 50,000 "enterprise users" -- entitled "Enterprise Desktop And Web 2.0/SaaS Platform Trends, 2007" -- on March 31.

In December 2007, according to Forrester, IE (all versions) had 79 percent of the enterprise browser market. Firefox had 18 percent and other browsers (Opera, Safari, etc.) had the remaining 3 percent. Even though Mozilla is expending "little energy on wooing IT managers to formally adopt Firefox," according to Forrester, Firefox's share is rising.

From the study's executive summary:

"Mozilla’s share of the browser market rose steadily throughout 2007, only slowing for the quarter directly following the release of Internet Explorer 7 (IE 7) in late 2006. Adoption in the enterprise nearly doubled to 18% by the end of 2007, but large-scale, companywide deployments are not yet typical. Mozilla continues to expend little energy on wooing IT managers to formally adopt Firefox — there is still no official MSI package, and riskaverse users have no recourse to paid support services. However, Firefox can no longer be accused of being immature. Many IE-only enterprise solutions have been tweaked to support the browser, and compatibility is considered mandatory for applications these days."

Forrester analysts seem to be attributing Firefox's rise in popularity as much to Microsoft's difficulties as to Mozilla's prowess. Again, from the Forrester study summary:

"Not only has IE 7 — Microsoft’s five-year IE revision with tabs and candy — done little to squash Mozilla’s uprising, but the vendor is having trouble retiring IE 6. By the end of 2007 — 15 months after IE 7’s public release and three months before the IE 8 Beta — only 30% of enterprise IE users had switched to the new browser. Even with Microsoft spoonfeeding users high-priority automatic updates, enterprise apathy is proving extremely difficult to overcome."

Forrester advises businesses that haven't yet embarked on a major migration to IE 7 to skip it and wait for "the more standards-compliant" IE 8.

(There's still no word, by the way, on when Microsoft is planning to release the final IE 8. IE 8 Beta 2 is expected this summer.)

I use IE 7 more than I do Firefox 2.0 -- primarily because the many Microsoft sites I visit daily as part of my job, not too surprisingly, look and work better in IE than they do in Firefox.

What about you other Windows business users? Are you more of an IE7 or Firefox 2 user ... or an Opera or Safari on Windows fan? Do you think the increased usage of Firefox among business users is attributable to improvements in the Mozilla browser or Microsoft's alleged shortcomings in IE 7?