Mozilla Firefox Popularity Threatening Microsoft
It is not everyday that Microsoft feels threatened by something so trivial. But I am pretty sure that they would be terrified of November 9. Well, not exactlyâ€¦ they are going to rock the gaming world with the launch of Halo 2. But that day Mozilla Firefox also releases its first final version.
Firefox is not just another application from the Open Source Community. It is something that is aimed to practically take back the web from Microsoftâ€™s monopoly in the Internet Browser market. Internet Explorer holds around 90% of the market share (take or remove few percentage points). And that seems to have made Microsoft complacent. We have not seen a major enhancement (apart from some itsy bitsy security updates in Windows XP SP2) in the browser engine that brings it at par with the technologies and web standards relevant today. And the reason IE is the most used browser; it becomes necessary for corporations to support it with their web applications and websites. And in the process, they end up making sites that uses proprietary and sometimes insecure IE only technologies like ActiveX.
Internet Explorer crushed the original king of the browser market when it was integrated with the Operating System in Windows 98. The reason that it was free and came preinstalled with the OS, made it sure that people preferred to use it instead of download and buying another browser. Netscape practically died with that move and had to go free. But it was too late and Internet Explorer took over as the number 1 browser in the market.
With Netscape getting messier with each updating version (Netscape 6 was absolutely horrible), there were few alternatives left for users to switch to. Opera and few other browsers survived but were not lucrative enough to challenge the monster from Microsoft. That led to the vision of Mozilla Foundation. And Firefox is the major piece of weaponry in their arsenal, which is aimed at directly hurting Microsoft where they have heart the online community. It is aimed at getting some of the chunk of the market share of Internet Explorer and provides a safe and compact alternative to people. And it is a statement from the open source community to tell Microsoft that they can no longer ignore the casual surferâ€™s need for a better browser. And the popularity of it proves that people wants to fight back to prove that they will not take an inferior product.
November 9 is the D-Day when Firefox announces its presence to whole world, through a full-page advertisement in a major newspaper in USA and other online campaigns that they are ready to rock Microsoft. If they can succeed in upstaging Internet Explorer by dropping its usage numbers even more, maybe the next giant step would be to launch Linux in a similar ways! It is popular no doubt, but it needs the promotion that is being done with Mozilla Firefox.
Sushubh Mittal is the Technical Columist at Search Engine Journal and the Editor of TechWhack