Some memes die hard. Along with the persistent claim that the popular Firefox browser platform is only for Windows-haters, we often see the comment that simply downloading something… even 100 million-plus of something… doesn"t mean people are using it. In fact, Firefox"s Mary Colvig says they believe 40 to 60 million people are actually using it.
Nevertheless, something appears to be happening.
Market trackers claim that Internet Explorer"s "share peaked in 2002 at 95%, while Mozilla-cum-Firefox variants (Firefox) grew from 4% in 2002 to 11% in 2006. As we"ve noted before, the growth of Firefox usage among Email Battles readers has been more dramatic, swelling from 8% in 2004 to 58% in 2006 (January vs January).
Lest you conclude the growth in Firefox was strictly due to Linux-BSD users… During the same period, the number of visitors to Email Battles who were not using Windows grew from 4% to 26%, leaving Windows with 74% of our traffic.
Whichever way you look at it, 26% of our visitors use not-Windows, and 33% browse with Internet Explorer… or 74% use Windows, while 58% use Firefox… the verdict at Email Battles is clear. More and more Windows users are deserting IE for Firefox. (Boing Boing has reported a similar exodus, pegging IE visitors at 32%.)
Will Microsoft be able to stop the bleeding with Internet Explorer 7? Hard to say.
Some folks will never go back. Once you settle-in with just the right mix of extensions to make Firefox your own, it"s pretty tough to imagine reverting to common browsing… even if it has been prettified and brought up-to-date with tabs.
This time around, cosmetics may not be enough.