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Firefox Hits 100 Million Mark

Posted by iTech - 2005-10-21

The Mozilla Foundation's Firefox browser has reached 100 million downloads only five months after hitting the 50 million mark and just a few weeks prior to the one-year anniversary of its formal release.

While the browser has seen download rates spike over the past year, the adoption of the browser mainly has been a steady growth path, the foundation noted. At this point, between 200,000 and 300,000 downloads occur per day.

Mozilla has openly thanked its thousands of contributors worldwide for efforts that have caused adoption to go far beyond expectations.

"Their work developing and fine-tuning the Firefox browser ensures the best Web experience available," Mozilla noted in a statement. "Volunteer extension developers further enrich Firefox's capabilities by enabling users to customize and enhance their browser and truly take back the Web."

Growing Pains

Getting to the 100 million mark might be cause for celebration at Mozilla, but the organization has not been without its challenges.

Most notably, the browser has had several security flaws reported, and its marketing site, SpreadFirefox.com, was recently brought down by hackers.

A Symantec report noted that Mozilla browsers had more reported vulnerabilities than Microsoft's Internet Explorer in the first half of 2005, but the report also noted that the Microsoft flaws were considered more serious.

Choppy Waters Ahead

While pundits continually have said that the adoption rates for Firefox will slow, the ranks of Firefox users have grown, indicating that it is nibbling away at Internet Explorer's formidable market share.

Gartner analyst Ray Valdes said it is possible that use of the Firfox browser will see a significant drop once Microsoft's next OS is released and subsequent changes are made to the Internet Explorer browser.

"Much will depend on how Microsoft ties Internet Explorer to its big releases next year," said Valdes. "They may not have planned to emphasize Internet Explorer, but I think Firefox's adoption rate is something they're noticing."

At this point, many enterprise I.T. departments are looking at Firefox as a viable alternative to Internet Explorer. This interest could product the kind of corporate endorsement necessary for the browser to keep growing, noted Valdes.

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