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Thu 23 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Firefox global heyday?

In Germany, 22.6% of internet users use Firefox. Firefox has been chipping away at Microsoft Internet Explorer’s (IE) market share for some time now.

Open source browser Firefox is rapidly gaining popularity according to figures from US based Web metrics firm WebSideStory. Its latest usage figures show the upstart open-source Firefox accounts for nearly 7% of the browsers used in the U.S. Firefox fever is at even greater extremes in Europe.

In Germany it is reported 22.6% of internet users use Firefox. Firefox has been chipping away at Microsoft Internet Explorer’s (IE) market share for some time now. Its present 7% share of the American browser market is an increase of more than a full percentage point since the last time the company published its numbers in late February. Internet Explorer fell to 88.8% in April from 89.8% in February.

Less than a year ago, IE owned 95.5% of the U.S. browser market. “About a year ago, when we first started tracking usage, it was a shock that Microsoft’s numbers were going backwards,” says Geoff Johnston, an analyst with WebSideStory. “That was something we’d never seen [before]. At first we, and everyone else, thought it would be temporary. But it's not temporary at all,” he adds.

Taking into consideration the current rate of increase in Firefox’s share, Johnston predicts it will grow closer to 10% worldwide by the end of the year. Firefox’s usage share has essentially doubled since June 2004, Johnston claims. It is suggested that users are moving to Firefox because it has fewer security flaws than IE. However, two recent flaws found on Firefox suggest otherwise. Danish security firm Secunia has labelled the flaws as “extremely critical” and claims they pose a major security risk to Firefox users.

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