Firefox Threatens IE in the Browser Market
Mozilla is starting to pose a threat to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer after years of being the darling of a strange mix of AOL enthusiasts and techies. This week Mozilla released the preview of FireFox 1.0, and with more web surfers becoming browser savvy, a range of reasons from security to adware to “being sick of Microsoft” has started a shift from average web users from IE, to Mozilla based browsers – especially FireFox.
It’s happening all over the web, CNet reported that visitors on their site using Mozilla and Firefox jumped to 18 percent for the first two weeks of September, from 8 percent in January.
WebSideStory reported that Microsoft’s share of browser users who visited top e-commerce and corporate sites shrank from 95.6% in June to 93.7% in September. Further more the tracking firm’s study showed that people using browsers made by Mozilla grew from 3.5% to 5.2%.
How did this shift begin and why does Microsoft have such a huge influence in the first place? It all began with Mosaic and Netscape to get people to surf online, and later Internet Explorer took it one-step ahead.
However, Microsoftâ€™s monopolizing nature turned Internet Explorer from a free browser that saved you from buying Netscapeâ€™s browser to a level that it has become distasteful. The lack of development and support for standards mean we are stuck with technologies 3-4 years old. And apart from all this, the bugs and security issues with Internet Explorer have became so dangerous to online security that government bodies have started issuing warnings to people to stop using Internet Explorer for surfing the web.
Add to this the fact that the next version of Internet Explorer is only expected to arrive in 2006 and that too only for people who would upgrade their operating system to Longhorn does not help the online community.
Mozilla Foundation is coming to the rescue of anyone who wants to get an alternative. It is an open source initiative that is developing web technologies to provide secure software to people to use the internet. Their primary product Firefox is the most popular and is on the verge of the first major release with version 1.0 planned in the coming weeks. Even though it is still in the technological preview stage now, it has made a big difference to the online surfing habits of people.
Firefox is not only just compact and fast; it is also updated very frequently to take care of any newly discovered bugs. Features can be added with extensions that provided excellent functionality to the browser. Online support is in abundance in the form of forums and IRC channels, which are full of enthusiasts ready to help any new user with the problems. And the fact that it is free and available for all the major platforms (windows, Mac and Linux) makes it even more worthy of trying out.
All the buzz Firefox is getting will go long way promoting it to more users online who can help the cause by choosing this nifty software over Internet Explorer to make their experiences of surfing more secure and fun. You can be a part of the revolution! Give Firefox! a try and support the cause. The web can do with a better browser that promotes technologies which makes internet more secure and accessible. And Internet Explorer is inhibiting that development.
Sushubh Mittal is the technical consultant to SEJ and blogs at Software Journal.