back to article Firefox 3.5 wins top dog browser crown - sort of

Firefox 3.5 trundled passed Internet Explorer 7 in the past few days to become, temporarily at least, the world's most popular web browser. According to analysis outfit StatCounter, Mozilla's latest browser just slipped ahead of Microsoft's surfing tool in the week commencing 7 December by grabbing 21.93 per cent of the global …


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  1. AndyS

    Broken link

    Surely the link's meant to point to a higher res version of the picture? Currently just redirects to the article.

    Good news all round though, although as the article points out it's fairer to compare firefox as a whole to IE as a whole.

  2. Dirk Vandenheuvel

    And this matters why?

    To be honest the browser that people use, is almost a non-issue for end-users. It has lost all real significance and is just a tool. "Winning" the browser war has no real advantages for any company at the moment (except for bragging rights) unlike 10 years ago when battles were being fought over real Internet features (MS vs Netscape).

  3. Juan Inamillion
    Thumb Down

    Does anyone really give a toss?

    Surely the real issue is whether any particular browser complies with W3C standards so it can be used on any platform on any site.

    Of course that presupposes that manufacturers and site builders build to standards too.


    No time soon then.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Everyone knows

    Popular != best

    iPod, popular, but rubbish

    Firefox, popular but rubbish

    Xbox, popular but rubbish

    Fords, popular but rubbish

    iPhone, popular but rubbish

    The list goes on...

  5. spezzer
    Gates Horns

    and the reason firefox exists?

    is to have a alternate browser with no history (or shortcuts) for porno surfing!! well done chaps!

    1. Will.

      Oh really?

      IE8 has InPrivate browsing and Chrome has Incognito Mode, they've had them for months.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Browser Wars the Sequel

      It matters because more and more people are starting to think of the browser as a platform where certain features are considered must have: it was frames, now it's a JIT javascript engine. Google's "product" suite is starting to gain traction and Microsoft is beavering away on its own products.

      So unfortunately two years from now we might indeed be facing "This website is best viewed with..." signs again. In the meantime we can hope that the adherence to standards will indeed make it unimportant which browser we use.

    3. DrXym Silver badge


      The reason it is a "non-issue" is precisely because there are so many browsers. When Netscape and then Microsoft were dominant, they could foist any old crap on users and frequently did. Whole eco systems such as AOL home pages and plenty of intranets simply did not work on other browsers because people coded to a specific feature found in one product.

      Now that browsers are striving for standards compliance, users get a far more consistent robust experience. Web sites offer better content since they can code to the standards not to the quirks of a browser. There is also more than just bragging rights at stake here. If Google Chrome were to win (for example) you can expect tighter integration with their service which is possibly even more awful to contemplate than what Microsoft ever did. And if Microsoft clawed back share you can see Silverlight inveigling its way into more sites. Personally I want a heterogeneous playing field since it keeps everyone honest, at least as far as browsers and standards are concerned.

      1. Al Jones


        Silverlight works just fine in Firefox, so it doesn't need IE to succeed. And it's far less CPU intensive than Flash.

    4. Cameron Colley

      Is Silverlight a W3C standard then, and is IE8 standards compliant...

      ...or, for that matter, is Firefox?

      What matters is that there are enough OS+Browser combinations out there to stop any one company becoming the De Facto standard. If Firefox didn't have such a large share then there would be no W3C because Microsoft would be writing the standards book -- as they did until not all that long ago.

    5. Old Marcus


      Is that a personal opinion I see there sir? If you could come with me please...

    6. John Angelico
      Thumb Up

      Begging your pardon

      but I have just in the last 24 hours had to report to an ISV that their software does not work on my FF3.5, and asked them (politely) if it is fixable.

      They acknowledged that it is targetted only at IE, and they have vague plans to broaden their coverage of browser brands, so I pointed out that FF now represents on average 30% of the browser usage "market".

      They were VERY surprised at this statistic, since I was the only person in the last 6 months to report browser problems with the application (a database enquiry system for lab test results - could comfortably be written to be browser-agnostic).

      I give them credit for being customer-responsive, as they said they would start field enquiries about browser usage and interest in a FF version. I recommended that they ask clients not only "who has had problems using FF" but also "who has FF but doesn't use it for their app", as that would represent latent demand.

      So "market share" / usage stats have their place - and it's not just 'bragging rights'.

    7. Kristian B

      The standards are a joke

      @Juan Inamillion:

      You're not a web developer are you? Have you even read the standards?!?

      No browser exists or has ever existed that supports the standards in their entirety. And it's a good job, considering that XHTML 1.0 - the W3C recommendation since 1999 - actually breaks the HTML standard! Any browser that bothered to implemented the spec would not correctly parse half of the websites online today, because XML empty elements (e.g. <br/>) collide with the SGML SHORTTAG constructs from HTML 2.0+ (e.g. <br// and <p/This is the paragraph content/). But no major browsers ever implemented the SGML minimization features so W3C happily went against their own standard and screwed anyone that did implement it.

      It's now 10 years after XHTML became the official W3C recommendation and Internet Explorer still doesn't support it! So we have to do the dirtiest things like serving XHTML with the "text/html" mime type telling all browsers to treat it as SGML-based HTML and not use XML parsing.. which was the whole point of the swap.

      Also W3C is back-pedalling now and developing the new HTML 5 spec separately.

      Half of what makes the web great today, which most developers reply upon, are de facto standards like the innerHTML DOM extensions and XMLHttpRequest (AJAX) object. Even the new ECMAScript spec (JavaScript standard) officially prioritises the current use of the language over strict conformance to its spec.

      So now thanks to web standards, half the web is XML-based HTML but served with the wrong mime type (meaning the browser uses its SGML parser and see lots of syntax errors) and the other half of the web is correctly SGML-based and served with the right content type header. And on top of that almost all website depend on an array of de facto standards and non-standards.. GREAT!

      WOOO Go web standards!

  6. Neil Stansbury

    Tube Ads

    Saw adverts at Baker St. Station on the London Undergound the other day for Googles chrome browser, first time I'd seen a browser ad in a general public area.

  7. Captain Save-a-ho

    Mac uptake of Chrome is important?

    "Importantly, Google's Chrome browser has also been doing a stellar turn since Mountain View - finally - pumped out a beta version for Mac fans."

    How can this statement even be anything more than coincidence? It's not like Mac users make up such a HUGE percentage of computer users.

    Also, not that important to support Mac users, for those scoring at home.

  8. Steven Knox

    Not Business as Usual

    Besides the fact that a >30% drop in share means that they are losing their clout with web developers, the fact that the browser is commoditizing (how quickly are new features in one browser* copied by the others?) and that there is no one "enemy" to sabotage (sure they could shoot down Firefox, but Chrome and Safari are right behind, and even so, "other" is almost 10% of the market now) means that there's only one way left to compete: standards compliance.

    And that's definitely not business as usual for Microsoft.

    * i,e, Opera.

  9. Richard 22


    Interesting that Opera's share is pitifully low and apparently decreasing. They seem to be the real losers of the browser wars, despite producing a reasonably competent browser (I have Opera installed, but always use Firefox instead - never really got on with opera though I don't really know why)


      Re: Opera

      Looks like these stats are for Opera 9.6 - I would suggest that the decrease is more likely to be due to Opera 10 being released than people deserting Opera in droves......

    2. MarkOne

      re: Opera

      Depends on who you listen to and what sites they track. Opera has never been strong in the US (i.e. Firefox home turf) and we all know that American like American things, regardless of how good or bad they may be.

      If you look at Opera Euro marketshare then it shows that it's on the rise and above that of Chrome and Safari.

  10. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Jobs Horns


    Does it endlessly thrash the HDD without purpose like Safari does? If not, that would explain why it has become more popular. It's why I'm using FF right now.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A decade?

    In just a couple of years it will be interesting if FF funding gets wiped out, should Google go for a big Chrome push and decide no longer to subsidise Mozilla.

  12. Ian Emery Silver badge


    About this browser option thingy when you install Win7.

    Has anyone ACTUALLY encountered it in the wild??

    When I installed a copy of Win7 a few weeks ago it defaulted to IE and no choice was offered (Legal, UK version).


  13. Test Man

    @Ian Emery

    The "browser option thingy" was only agreed last week. It will be offered via Windows Update early next year (as in sometime in the first quarter). So no noone will have encountered it in the wild.

    However, when it does come out, it will also appear for XP and Vista users in Europe.

  14. raving angry loony

    scale and readability.

    I tihink El Reg will find that when an article places a link tag around a small, hard-to-read image, that it's usually to provide a larger, readable version of that image. As you did with the link above it to "Statcounter". Said image link is usually not used to just link back to the fucking article that contains said small, hard-to-read image in the first place. Numpties.

    No comment about the article itself of course. Microsoft will continue to rank "high" in these things so long as they have a desktop monopoly catering to people who don't know any better. That's pretty much a given.

    1. heyrick Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      "it will also appear for XP and Vista users in Europe"

      Let's hope it is smart enough that it won't bother if MSIE is _not_ your default browser. I run Firefox (don't like Opera, don't trust Chrome) and have things set up as I wish on my XP box. To have Windows Update prompt me to pick a browser? Thanks, I already have...

      Funny roadsign icon 'cos it looks like a dangling spider and I was reading "The Snow Spider" earlier as there was only rubbish on TV; and I can't think of anything smart to say about Paris 'cos I'd much rather have an icon of Summer Glau...

  15. Bunglebear

    HDD thrashing

    Eddy Ito - switch off "malware and phishing detection" in the options of Chrome and it stops the thrashing of the disc. Not sure about Safari, but I imagine its something similar.

    I use Chrome for speed and Firefox for plugin options. Both suit me fine, haven't used IE in years. Does anyone use IE who knows how to download another browser?

  16. Big-nosed Pengie
    Gates Horns

    And the winner is...


    The more browsers there are in the wild the more important it is for web sites to be standards-compliant. MIckey$haft's ability to force the sheep who use their crap to adopt broken models declines.

  17. Jigr69

    Wot about Chrome + Linux

    Does the spike in Google Chrome coincide with the Beta release for Linux fans?

  18. Sceptical Bastard

    Did I read that right?

    Quote: ",,, IE 6, meanwhile, retains 13.89 per cent of the market..."

    What *are* these people thinking of? Oh, sorry ... they're not thinking at all.

    Several commentards are saying 'so what'. The 'what' is that ten years ago Microsoft had the browser market more or less to itself and could foist any old shit on us (ActiveX anyone?) and now Microsoft doesn't and can't - not by a long chalk. That seems a significant 'what' to me.


  19. markp 1

    So where... Opera 10 or other versions of said browser? And mobile editions of that and Safari? And does the Linux Konqueror thingy have enough share to get a look-in or is it relegated to "other"?

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