16 Comments

Summary:

Mozilla Firefox has passed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to become the world’s most popular browser, according to StatCounter. Firefox 3.5 had 21.93 percent market share at the end of last week, compared with 21.2 percent for IE 7 and 20.33 percent for IE 8.

Mozilla Firefox has finally done it — passed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to become the world’s most popular browser, according to StatCounter, in a graph that’s being widely passed around today. Firefox 3.5 had 21.93 percent market share at the end of last week, compared with 21.2 percent for IE 7 and 20.33 percent for IE 8.

So technically, more people are still using IE overall; its versions combined have 55.44 percent share compared with Firefox’s 32.12 percent, but this is nonetheless a significant milestone for the free open-source browser.

StatCounter’s browser stats come from its work measuring a network of 3 million web sites. Competing browser analytics sources don’t have Firefox winning quite yet; for instance, W3Counter has Firefox 3.5 just a nudge below IE 8.

Mozilla, whose parent organization is a nonprofit, has long defined itself in opposition to Microsoft. For instance, Mozilla Foundation chair Mitchell Baker wrote in a February blog post:

Microsoft’s business practices have fundamentally diminished (in fact, came very close to eliminating) competition, choice and innovation in how people access the Internet.

So, congratulations to Mozilla for creating competition and sparking others to innovate. But as of today, Firefox is no longer the little guy.

  1. I’m not sure I get it. Firefox wins but not really? That they can win with one version and not combined versions doesn’t sound like a win to me.

    Share
  2. It’s misleading and incorrect to state in the title that Firefox has the lead in browser market share when the IE share is greater. You even acknowledge, “So technically, more people are still using IE overall…”.

    It’s not “technically”, it’s true!

    You’re comparing a single version of Firefox to multiple versions of IE. It’s like saying Toyota is the world’s most popular car with 25%, while the 2007 Honda Accord has 20% and the 2008 Honda Accord has 23%.

    Share
    1. @Matt — the headline specifies the version number that’s currently in first place. Though it will be an even bigger milestone to claim No. 1 overall.

      Share
      1. Good point – I did miss the version # in your title, but I still think it’s very misleading and/or incorrect. Why state the headline this way if you then have to qualify the statement as “technical”? If you acknowledge it’s because it makes for a more exciting headline and better link bait then I won’t give you a hard time.

        Share
        1. @Matt – I was comparing one of multiple versions of Firefox to multiple versions of other browsers. You’ll notice Firefox 3.0, etc, are also on the chart. I don’t mind you giving me a hard time. :)

          Share
  3. http://digg.com/software/World_map_of_most_popular_browsers_by_country_Infographic

    Recently I had created this world map showing the most popular browsers by country using the same date.

    Share
  4. all this shows is that FF users know about updates and IE users do not. your typically IE users has absolutely no clue what version they are using and may not even know what is meant if you mention the words ‘update’ or ‘version’

    Share
    1. Internet Explorer users don’t need to know about updates. Microsoft sends them updates with Windows Update. The notices are quite prominent and the hurdle for moving from IE 7 to IE 8 is not a big one since IE 8 contains a compatibility mode that means Web sites designed for older versions will display just fine.

      Share
  5. I was not aware anyone was still using StatCounter. Thought everyone moved to Google Analytics for free analytics, I know I did. I’d also wonder what the make-up of the sites using StatCounter, as it does impact browser preference. Just take a look at stats for a site like w3schools (web devs and designers) ( http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp ) and compare those to an ecommerce site, and you’d see a big difference. So overall, I’d put an Asterisk on the numbers till you know more about them. Nice to see Firefox doing well, it’s my primary, but have to be a cynic on these type of reports.

    Share
  6. Of course Chrome is waiting in the wings to supplant both Firefox and IE…

    Share
  7. I think the bigger story here is that Firefox continues growing and is now at 1/3 of browsers in this data group.

    Sure, it’s fun to say that Firefox 3.5 is the biggest, but a combined share over 50% still means that MS is the big gorilla in the browser space.

    Nice charting, and good catch on the versions, but I’m happy to see Firefox execute some Netscape-style retribution on IE!

    Share
  8. [...] Although Microsoft's Internet Explorer usually places a sad, distant last behind more efficient browsers like Safari, Chrome, and even Opera in terms of performance, it has always led the pack when it comes to the all-important market share. Until recently, that is, when Mozilla's Firefox finally nudged IE out of the way and into second place. [...]

    Share
  9. [...] Although Microsoft’s Internet Explorer usually places a sad, distant last behind more efficient browsers like Safari, Chrome, and even Opera in terms of performance, it has always led the pack when it comes to the all-important market share. Until recently, that is, when Mozilla’s Firefox finally nudged IE out of the way and into second place. [...]

    Share
  10. [...] Rupley Dec. 24, 2009, 9:42am No Comments 0 0 0 0 Even as Mozilla’s Firefox browser continues to strip market share from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the company has been showing off user interface mockups [...]

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post