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back to article Firefox nabs 30 million users in eight weeks

Internet Explorer's dominance of the browser world continues to melt away at a steady but glacial pace — with Mozilla earnestly waving a hair dryer. Mozilla Corporation CEO John Lilly revealed in a Twitter post on Monday that Firefox gained over 30 million unique users over the past eight weeks. He calls the recent growth spurt …

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Win 7

When windows 7 finally gets its browser selection system, that should hopefully give IE a good kick in the crotch, although i have to say that mozilla's estimation that they need to multiply their figures by 3 seems fairly over-optimistic

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Phoning home, eh?

El Reg writes:

"Tristan Nitot of Mozilla Europe later told ZDNet UK that Lily's figure was an estimate based on the Firefox browser phoning home every 24 hours to check for updates."

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Huh. So, why is it it that in spite of my specifically asking FF 2.0.0.20 _not_ to attempt to install add-ons via the Prefs, it still insists on phoning home to Mozilla for add-ons?

Thank the FSM for Little Snitch.

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Anonymous Coward

Monopolies and duopolies

Replacing one monopoly with another one is no improvement. I thought the healthy result was for a more evenly spread market?

I remember everyone feeling this way about IE5 when Netscape was still stuck with a static rendering engine and botched CSS implementation. Things only went from bad to worse then, let's hope Web 2.0 isn't followed by Web Hell.

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Anonymous Coward

I got Windows 7

and the first thing I did was install Firefox.

I've even converted my wife to use firefox by installing an IE skin on it and setting it as her default browser. So far she hasn't noticed the difference.

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FAIL

What's this IE?

And how did it get on the Internet?

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FAIL

OMG.... statistics and lies

While a Firefox user myself, these statistics seem a little bit wonky. Multiply by 3 to include those who dont browse every day??!!! What about me where on my home dial-up computer i do not have auto-update set.. lets multiply by 3 for people who disable auto-update. Now, what about people who are using a live CD.... hmm, x2 for that, then people who are not allowed to use Firefox because of corporate policies, well, lets include those as well, multiple by 10.

Revised total: 100 trillion users of Firefox.

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Windows 7...

...was still released with IE utterly embedded in the operating system, and a lot of the less tech savvy users, for example people that will be using Win 7 on their first PC, won't know that there are alternative browsers out there.

In my opinion, users should click their internet link for the first time and be offered a list of browsers to use as their default, loosening M$'s hold on the market. Let's face it though, this will never happen.

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Remember IE6

Remember that although FF has 20 odd percent of the total, IE6 still has nearly 25% of the market. These are users with no choice as it is usually big companies and many of these companies are moving to IE7 and not IE8. FF's market share of those users who can make a choice could well be as high as 50%.

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Bias at work

What no Firebug or Firepants remarks or do you save up all the slagging off for Microsoft

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The result of poor QC

Well its hardly surprising considering that Microsoft are completely failing to acknowledge this issue where IE8 hangs at 'connecting' and are attempting to blame third party add on's.

Everyone I know who has this problem has switched over to FF because it is just so frustrating.

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Sigh.

"The org then multiplies that number by three to accommodate for people not browsing every day."

Basically, they made it up.

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not wishing to pee on their bonfire but...

I have Firefox installed on my home PC work PC and my work laptop... does that make me one user or 3?

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wait, what?

"The org then multiplies that number by three"

How did the land on 3? Is that just the number they needed to multiply it by to get to the number of users they wanted to say they have?

As you can see I have 5 years work experience but if you multiply that number by 3 to account for any days I may have worked in a previous life, I actually have 15 years experience. That, and I'm a qualified statistician.

What a load of old bollocks.

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Win7 raising IE usage?

I really don't see that happening.

If you have firefox now, no doubt you installed it rather than having it provided for you. This means that when you upgrade your first website will be firefox.com. I know it was for me.

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Stop

Worth pointing out..

These are American numbers.

Globally Opera has a bigger marketshare than Safari..

http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-ww-weekly-200904-200913%29.-bar

Also Opera has far better cookie and browser sniffing handling, so it's possible Opera numbers are slightly higher. (you can set Opera to identifify itself as IE or Firefox if sites refuse to work).

if you want European numbers, Opera is MUCH stronger:

http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-eu-weekly-200904-200913%29.-bar

And if you want silly press releases like this Mozilla one, then how about this one:

http://www.opera.com/press/releases/2009/10/27/

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Inflated Figures, Surely

"Counting the requests gives Mozilla an idea of the number of active daily users. The org then multiplies that number by three to accommodate for people not browsing every day."

That doesn't sound right.

Given that I use Firefox at work and at home on both my laptop and desktop on a daily basis, I'm being counted as 9 people. Given that I can't be unique in this it would surely be better to just use the "phone home" number, or maybe even scale it down and not up.

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Welcome

IE down, Windows next?

"...Whether IE can take back the slow erosion of users with Windows 7 should be an interesting statistic to follow in the months ahead..."

Let us hope not.

I, for one, welcome the slow decline of our erstwhile monopolistic overlords...

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N2

Oh I remember that...

Internet Explorer - havnt used it for years.

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WTF?

not browsing the web every day?

....what?

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FAIL

I would put it down to

I would put it down to IE not running browser games properly. The spacings are out, not all the buttons sre there, and adverts hog resources and crash the browser.

FAIL from MS.

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Could it be...

Because IE 8 is such an unmitigated pile of shit? Infuriating things such as the inability to do anything while another tab is opened and the tendency to tell you that you have no connectivity when you patently do.

On the other hand, I'm also getting a bit tired of having to install a Firefox update every time I friggin open it.

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Gates Horns

Windows 7

I wonder how much of this is a result of people trying out the Windows 7 RC?

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@Yamthief

Will that help? If users are unaware of the choice in browsers and what it means, they'll be baffled and/or just choose "the blue one" anyway.

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Grenade

@Wind Farmer

To: sales@stupidcorp.com

Cc: bigwig@stupidcorp.com

Dear Sirs

I recently visited your web site for the first time, and I was informed that I could not proceed further unless I used Internet Explorer. Since IE is not available to users of the Linux operating system, and since IE is well known to be the world's least secure, most buggy, and least standards-compliant browser, my first visit to your site will also be my last.

Darwinian economics should provide an appropriate resolution to this issue in due course.

Yours etc.

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Coat

On multiplying daily usage by 3

@Woodgar @Bernie 2, @ Loki 1

I work at Mozilla, and I would defend the multiplier of 3 * average daily usage as a reasonable estimate for actual usage (although obviously, it is a simplification).

In Europe (including Russia), there are an estimated 402 million internet users, and we see about 47 million daily users of Firefox.

Net Applications reports Firefox market share in Europe at 34.2%, which would mean approximately 137 million European users (assuming 1% users = 1% market share).

This would mean actual Firefox usage is 2.9 times the average daily usage of Firefox.

It does seem likely that Firefox users tend to be heavier-than-average Internet users, but many use more than one browser, (for example they might be obliged to use IE at work). I don't know of any good studies that can account for that, so, all things being equal, a multiplier of 3 seems a reasonable approximation.

Mine's the navy anorak.

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I smell a rat

Multiply that figure by three for people not browsing every day? Surely they'd be able to do a count up of each unique install. If not, how do they know the orginal ten million is accurate?

In short, as much as I love Firefox, this smacks of the same kind of bullshit bigging up of numbers that Sony did for the PS3.

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Def
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Go

Re: Worth pointing out..

Yep, Opera is my browser of choice. And I finally got the girlfriend to ditch Firefox and its seemingly unending recent spate of crashes for Opera last week too.

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Linux

While Firefox is alright...

Chrome and Chromium have taken over my families computers. It's super fast and the Task Manager is an awesome feature. I still use Firefox periodically while the bugs are being worked out of chromium, but lately Firefox just feels bloated and slow.

Fedora with Chromium; for that futuristic computing experience!

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@Conor Turton

We (Mozilla) do not count unique installs, we do not track users in that way. We count pings to a list of blocked malware and to update servers.

I hope my explanation I posted above makes it clearer. I agree that the figures are a simplification - they have to be - but they are certainly not bullshit.

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@Andrew_F

You wrote : "Will that [having a ballot screen to choose a browser] help? If users are unaware of the choice in browsers and what it means, they'll be baffled and/or just choose "the blue one" anyway."

Yes it will help. Many people are aware of other browsers but don't know how to go about installing them or can't be bothered to do so. And if they are *not* aware, then why would they "just choose the blue one"? They might "just choose the red one". Or the yellow one. Even if they jpick one at random it will help diversify the browser base.

But then there are people who would be perfectly capable of installing another browser but the ballot icon makes it quicker. No different in principle from placing an icon for a word processor on the desktop instead of having to go to looking for it in the file system. It helps.

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Challenging the accuracy

Hi,

Whilst I don't understand why they multiply by 3 using a weighed amount isn't a necessarily a bad idea.

Personnally I find it odd that they collect all of the versions into a block (for example only IE and Firefox).

It would be good to see if anyone was still running IE5 or Firefox 1.5.02 for example and understand why - personnally it could also be used to show IE 6 hopefully losing market share on a month by month basis.

Mike

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It ain't MS so it must be good. Nooooo!

Firefox 3 is rubbish. And when it's not being rubbish.. it's being slow. My trusty old laptop had no problems with version 2 but 3..

It seems to spend it's entire life constantly updating it's SQLite DB with tens of megs of data, freezing itself in the process. Grinding to a halt when you enter anything in the address bar while it ponders what URLs to suggest. These will bear no relation at all to what you've typed. This apparently is called 'The Awesome Bar'. (type) www.thereg (freeze) you must want http://www.richard-e-grant.com (yea.. awesome). Downloaded files is a separate window, obviously the programmer who did tabs was off that day, which picks a random screen location to appear at everytime you open it. Is it Add-ons or is it Extensions? The menu says 'Add-ons', the button you click to get them says 'Get Add-ons' but wait.. they appear in the 'Extensions' pane. Go to a website with an untrusted cert. Great it warns me. Click 'I Understand The Risks'. I do.. really. View website? Nope, more text and an 'Add Exception' button. Click. View website? Nope, more text and another button. Something about confirming. Don't care by now. Will click anything to get to the porn, errr, IT related website.

OK, maybe I'm being a little harsh. I think Mozilla now cares more about being the most popular browser in the world and not about creating the most popular browser in the world. They're forgetting what made people turn away from IE. Look at the Debian Iceweasel spat, they run themselves more like a corporation than a foundation.

Today, I will mostly not be using Firefox.

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@Nuke

Good answer. The reason I suggested they might choose "the blue one"* is because it's familiar. If you've accessed the internet on a Windows computer before, you probably already associate that icon with the internet. And if you don't know what's best, you've a reason to stick with the familiar.

* actual anecdotal quotation

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WTF?

@Nigel 11

I love it when Linux users get all uppity and threaten to take their service to another company because the corporate website won't play with their browser/OS combi. Since under 1% of us use Linux on the desktop, that makes us a rounding error for any corporate. There's a much higher percentage of disgruntled Firefox on Windows users, and that may have some effect on web development (eventually).

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@Futumsh

"On the other hand, I'm also getting a bit tired of having to install a Firefox update every time I friggin open it."

join us...

http://www.opera.com

it's a breath of fresh air...

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Stop

Did he just pull that figure out of the air?

"over 30 million unique users " but how many new users? 5 or 6 I would imagine.

I'm glad I left it for Opera years ago.

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Anonymous Coward

Mutiply by 3 for the number of what?

If people aren't regularly browsing the internet, like for say 80% of waking hours, why do they even count as people? Not browsing forums and useless, but interesting, content at work all day is sooo 1990s. Everyone knows the more you read fascinating stories about gay flamingos on excellent news sites the higher your productivity.. it must be true because I found it on the internet, which is sort of like our version of the BBC.

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Stop

@MarkOne

I have just tried Opera 10 (I usually try every release), I would say that it's a good step forwards again.

That said....

I'm behind an authenticating proxy and every time I launched it I had to confirm the proxy login details (yes, they were saved, but I had to OK them every time) /and/ it popped up two or three of those requests, presumably for different server sources for the content on my homepage. Not good, but not a serious issue.

More worrying was the fact that the memory and CPU usage popped up to 100% on my machine (from about 50% and 30%) and I couldn't get logged into my Amazon account.

So, thanks for the invitation, but I'll skip this release too. I'll keep looking,

I will keep Opera Mini on my phone, though. It's way better than the built-in browser.

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FF in corporate networks

I don't know if Mozilla have sorted this yet, but a while back I was told one of the major stumbling blocks to getting FF installed on corporate networks was that all settings were stored locally. Ideally in a networked environment, you want most preferences locked out of the way of 'ordinary' users (do you really want your minions screwing up the proxy settings or installing any add-on that takes their fancy?) and set at domain server level.

That and the fact that some companies still write web software that refuses to run in anything other than Internet Exploder (e.g. CareFirst 6 won't allow you past the terms of access screen unless you're running IE)

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