Firefox: Trickle Becoming a Flood?

By Harry Fuecks

Looking at these (based on traffic to w3schools), that “Moz” column is fascinating, meanwhile IE6 traffic has shrunk for the first time.

What does this prove? That I’m a fool for stats ;)

  • Anonymous

    And the latest US-CERT (US Computer Emergency Readiness Team) advice is simple: “Use a different web browser” (than Internet Explorer)

  • Bill Creswell

    Yea! – bigger than IE5.0!

  • Dean C

    Hehe this is absolute nonsense as we all know those going to w3schools will mostly be those interested in web-devlopment and use a standards browser :)

  • SB

    Mist: w3schools also has a lot of Windows and IE-specific content, so I think that balances the game.

  • sweatje

    There are lies, damn lies and statistics ;)

  • khlo

    It really depends who you ask.’s stats for May put Mozilla usage at 1%, but at the same time TheCounter’s counters are mostly used by webmasters who use Microsoft Frontpage.

    I’d put the real usage of Mozilla at around 5% after looking at various sources. It’s almost certain that Firefox usage is going up though, and IE usage is going down.

  • Jeremy W.

    The CERT thing wasn’t actually don’t use IE. I hate when people feel they need to misrepresent advice in order to make their point. The case to switch from IE is strong enough without misrepresentation.

    That said, I’ve already posted my thoughts on stats over here:

    Ultimately, the ‘trend’ is nearly impossible to guage. Is Mozilla’s usage going up? Maybe, but the non-IE demographic is being split between FireFox, Moz, Opera and Safari. Few of the browsers are gaining actual ground.

    I have yet to see any real stats that show IE at less than 90%. Considering it was at 95% 3 years ago, a 5% shift is statistically insignificant at best.


    Since the past few years, you can’t deny that usage of Mozilla has gone up, hell, i’ve even been pulled in by the Firefox craze, and i doubt i will ever go back to IE.

    Personally i think the one thing thats gonna kick Mozilla in the teeth is the fact that people are afraid of change. Let’s face it, many computer users are novices just trying to find information, and if IE comes as standard on their machines, why should they change to Mozilla? Do they even know about Mozilla? I love Mozille Firefox to pieces, but i can’t ever see it overtaking IE in the next few years.

  • HarryF

    It’s interesting. Where I think Firefox may have a compelling edge over the rest is the extensions. At first glance that may seem nerdy but with time think there might be a “pokemon” factor – obsession with Firefox extensions. If Firefox becomes “in” via that path could get very big. Who knows?

  • Jake

    I agree with ULTiMATE, except for us (web devers/designers) who else is really interested in this stuff? As far as they know, there is only IE! My parents are perfect examples. They’re just fine with IE, because they don’t understand what we do about it.

    That said, IE has been dead for, what, 2 years? And will be for at LEAST another 2 until the next windows OS. Until then, I think we are kinda stuck with IE 6.x.

    Anywho, that’s my 2 cents. lol

  • Jeremy W.

    ULTiMATE: Do you really think so? Has it gone up? AOL switched to Moz, and usage stayed stable. AOL dropped Moz and usage stayed stable.

    Show me overall Moz-based browsers actually gaining ground. I’m not saying it’s not happening, just that the rate of growth is so small that it could easily be non-existant.

    I also agree with Harry though, FF is by far the best browser out there (in my opinion), but it does need some ‘cool’ ‘stuff’ to get people in.

  • KJ

    I absolutely does NOT need any ‘cool’ stuff to get people in. Simplicity is key.

  • Ghandi

    Mozilla based browsers are definitely better than Internet Explorer. IE will be dead until Longhorn becomes Windows 200X. Now is the time for the Mozilla Foundation to make their move. They need to get the Mozilla name out there. The only news that the general public could have received recently is about that website based trojan that hijacked websites for whatever and that “security professionals” recommmended other browsers that don’t run on some websites. I read about that on and seemed to me that they called other browsers as less than good quality browsers. Perhaps, like Harry said, that if Mozilla could break ground on “cool” websites that recommend Mozilla browsers for better viewing of the “cool” websites then we may see an increase in browser usage.

  • Jeremy W.

    KJ, Opera has been simple for nearly a decade. And yet it hasn’t grown. Simplicity isn’t enough. You need to give users a reason to switch and, like it or not, that is generally “coolness”.

  • AlexW

    KJ, Opera has been simple for nearly a decade. And yet it hasn’t grown. Simplicity isn’t enough. You need to give users a reason to switch and, like it or not, that is generally “coolness”.

    Corporates amd ‘Mum’s and dad’s’ don’t install new software because it’s cool. There’s only two things that inform the decisions of those guys.

    1 – Money (or the risk of losing some): The whole file-sharing thing was motivated by getting valuable stuff (music) for free. Isn’t likely to be a fctor since both are free and they already have IE.

    2. Safety (and the risk of evil things happening on their desktop): Symantec, MacAfee, ZoneAlarm, etc have made millions selling to these fears.

    So, if they read about enough ‘IE security exploits’ and also about Mozilla being free and immune to this latest nasty bug that’s the most likely thing to get that download happening.

    Unforunately Mozilla doesn’t have a big marketing team to take that idea and hammer it home.

  • Dan Allen

    I am actually getting similar statistics for my website. I am seeing IE at around 80% and moz in the 20% range. That is still a strong slant, but I will tell you, that is a pretty darn big dent!

  • KJ

    IE tried to be ‘cool’ with ActiveX and the like. ‘Coolness’ always seems to have a trade off with security. I think FireFox is better off keeping the base browser simple, usable, quick (get the memory footprint down); any ‘cool’ stuff can be added with plugins and extensions.

  • Jeremy W.

    Alex, I’m sure you know as well as I do that it comes down to more than those 2 factors. Exposure, best of breed, build vs buy, reach vs depth, etc.

    Moms and dads install what’s on their computer when they buy it, and generally that’s just about it. Corporates do due diligence to solve issues.

    I work at a company with 10,000 employees and we are firmly an IE company because it saves us no money to move and there is no security risk.

    We’re patched, IE is centrally managed and locked down and we have layers upon layers of firewalls which also track usage, content filtering, HIP / HID, etc.

    We aren’t “perfect”, but we aren’t exactly an anomaly either. Do the IE security threats bother us? Sure, and everytime a new one comes out it’s my job to assess the impact to us. We could easily roll out FireFox and remove IE to all 10,000 desktops in a matter of hours if we had to, not a big deal. Until there’s a real reason to do so though, it’s simply a non issue.

    KJ: DHTML was cool. XML was cool. PDA’s are cool. Web Services are cool. Scripting languages are cool. It isn’t cool that makes something a security risk (or not). It’s how much security is taken into account, and built into the product, from the beginning. There is nothing that says a technology like ActiveX could never be secure. It was simply badly done.

  • AlexW

    Moms and dads install what’s on their computer when they buy it, and generally that’s just about it… I work at a company with 10,000 employees and we are firmly an IE company because it saves us no money to move and there is no security risk.

    Of course, I’m generalizing for the sake of simplifying the view a reasonably complex picture, but you seem to be fundamentally agreeing with me.

    Your company hasn’t been motivated to contemplate change to Mozilla because the neither the monetary (‘it saves us no money to move’) nor the security motivations are sufficient at the moment.

    I’m tipping that if the directive ever comes through to change those 10,000 IE browsers to Mozilla, it will be anxiety rather excitement that drives it.

  • Wei

    “Web Browsers Used to Access Google March 2001 – May 2004”

    It may be assumed that Google has a pretty large and broad audience.

    Remember that most new computers are preinstalled with Windows XP, meaning IE 6, and considering the IE is right there on the desktop on a defaul. For the average pc user, if it works, it will do. In addition, upgrading Office or Windows will also upgrade IE, thus more IE users.

    As for Mozilla (Firefox), I would say that the average user would not care or know about it.

  • pfitz

    US-CERT (US Computer Emergency Readiness Team) actually made me change for the first time for quite a while from IE to Firefox.

    Now after using firefox for a little while theres no way I’m going back – tabbed browsing is fantastic and so are the add-ons – the web developer browser add-on is great.

    So yeah, maybe when Longhorn comes out I’ll dabble in IE for other than testing, but not until then.

  • Zoe

    I agree that security fears are a huge factor in making people switch. My husband was an IE/OE user until several months ago when he got some popup that started downloading something onto our computer. I told him I’d download a browser for him that blocks popups. I downloaded Moz, and he loves it. He doesn’t need it to do anything “cool” — the popup blocker and tabbed browsing are enough for him.

    No, I don’t think Moz is going to take over IE, but if we geeks at least get our families using Moz, I’m positive they won’t go back.

  • Elaine

    “if we geeks at least get our families using Moz, I’m positive they won’t go back.” just set my in-laws up with a computer, IE is carefully hidden, and Firefox’s icon on the desktop just says “Web Browser” under it. so far, so good.

    and I was suprised earlier this year to see that one of the computer mags we get (Maximum PC) named Firefox their (non-game) software program of the year. it’s geeky, sure, but not web-programmer geeky.

    their most recent edition features “13 ways to make […] Firefox […] even better” with an introduction to extensions. cute graphic, too, of the lizard chewing on the IE “e”.

    I’d like to think that Firefox could progress along several dimensions at once: cool factor for some, standards-compliance for others, small, safe and simple for yet more, etc….

    Maximum PC seems to be taking the cool factor tack; with my folks, I’ve taken the small/simple/safe tack. (at work, it’s all about the standards-compliance.)

  • AlexW

    No, I don’t think Moz is going to take over IE, but if we geeks at least get our families using Moz, I’m positive they won’t go back.

    Absolutely. I switched my parents computer over, and explained a few of the benenfits (and then hid the IE icon just to be sure).

    They blinked a couple of times, typed in a URL, it loaded, and they nodded slowly and went ‘ok’. You have been assimilated.

    “Web Browsers Used to Access Google March 2001 – May 2004”

    That is pretty interesting. The graph is kinda tiny but it looks like it’s saying Mozilla and IE5.5 are on a par and IE5 is a little bit ahead of that.

    That wouldn’t surprise me much of they were SitePoint user stats, but from an audience as incalculably broad of Google, that’s a fair bit higher than I would have guessed.

  • dereko

    Firefox is very good as far as I can see. I particularlly like the Web Developer Toolbar. Never been a big fan of opera but like firefox over IE.

  • MJ

    As a web developer, I design for IE. Why? It has that bulk of the market, so I’d be a fol not to, wouldn’t I? And the more developers who design FOR IE, the more IE useage we’re going to get, right? It’s a vicious circle.

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