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.