Firefox Tops 300 Million Downloads But Loses Market Share

Firefox Tops 300 Million Downloads But Loses Market Share

It's not clear from a recent survey whether Firefox lost market share to Microsoft or Apple.

Mozilla's Firefox Web browser, in all its versions, has been downloaded more than 300 million times since its initial release on Nov. 9, 2004, but last month for the first time in more than year, it lost market share.

In January, Firefox saw its share of the browser market drop to 13.67% from 14% in December, according to Web metrics vendor Net Applications. During this same period, Microsoft Internet Explorer reversed a year of consistent decline, to reach 79.75% market share, a gain of 0.11 percentage points from the previous month.

It's not clear from Net Applications' numbers whether Firefox lost market share to Microsoft or Apple. In January, Apple's Safari browser also gained market share, rising to 4.7% from 4.24% in December. Netscape, Opera, and other browsers all showed declines in January.

On Jan. 8, Microsoft said that Internet Explorer 7 had been downloaded 100 million times. In a post on the IE blog, Tony Chor, an IE group program manager, said that more than 25% of all visitors to sites in the United States were using IE 7 and that "We expect these numbers to continue to rise as we complete our final localized versions, scale up AU [Automatic Updates] distribution, and with the consumer availability of Windows Vista on January 30, 2007."

At InformationWeek.com, Firefox enjoys significantly greater usage than indicated by Net Applications' figures. During the month of January, traffic breakdowns to our sites show visitors were using: 34.8% Microsoft IE 6; 20.1% Microsoft IE 7; 19.2% Mozilla Firefox 2.0; 10.2% Safari 2.0.4; 10% Mozilla Firefox 1.5; and 5.7% Other.

Firefox enjoys about 15% market share on average worldwide, according to a Mozilla.org spokesperson, with higher rates in parts of Europe. Net Applications' statistics represent data culled from Web sites in North America, South America, Western Europe, Australia and the Pacific Rim, and parts of Asia.

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