Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Happy Birthday Firefox

(By Philip Carnelley, 10 Nov 09, 08:30) Today is Firefox’s 5th birthday. Mozilla claims 330m users worldwide and the latest stats we’ve seen indicate that it has around 24% share of the browser ‘market’. Certainly it’s made an impact and has more than held its own against Microsoft’s hegemony. Its impact has been manifold, but we’d highlight two areas in particular.

One is that it has actually driven the use of standards across the Internet, as Microsoft has been unable to continue developing proprietary variants of IE on the basis that everyone else will follow. It’s very rare now to find a website that won’t support IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and the rest. Indeed it has made it far easier for Apple and Google to produce their own browsers. This in turn made it possible for the EU to get heavy with Microsoft in the long-running competition dispute over pre-installing IE on Windows – there is an alternative. The second is to help demonstrate that there is a place for open source solutions on the desktop. Other than Firefox, the main impact of open-source software has been server-side. Interestingly, we think that Firefox’s success may help Oracle in its arguments with the EU over its potential ownership of MySQL.

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