FireFox usage grows as IE declines

Open source browser Firefox is rapidly gaining popularity according to figures from US based Web metrics firm WebSideStory. Its latest usage figures show that 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. Less than 70% rely on Internet Explorer.

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By  Jane Plunkett Published  May 18, 2005

Open source browser Firefox is rapidly gaining popularity according to figures from US based Web metrics firm WebSideStory. Its latest usage figures show that 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. Less than 70% rely on Internet Explorer. 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 however fell to 88.8% in April from 89.8% in February. While 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, said Geoff Johnston, an analyst with WebSideStory. “That was something we'd never seen. At first we, and everyone else, thought it would be temporary. But it's not temporary at all,” he added. Taking into consideration the current rate of increase in Firefox's share, Johnston predicts that it will grow closer to 10% in the US and worldwide by the end of the year. Firefox's usage share has essentially doubled since June 2004, Johnston said. It is suggested that users are moving to Firefox because it has fewer security flaws than IE. However two recent flaws found on Firefox are not helping confirm such statements. Danish security firm Secunia has labeled the flaws as "extremely critical" and said they pose a major security risk to Firefox users. One flaw can compromise computers through Firefox's software download feature by installing arbitrary programming code that could make a user's private information - such as logons and passwords - accessible to hackers. The other flaw takes advantage of how Firefox 1.0.3, the latest browser version, executes JavaScript, a common Web language useful for small programming tasks. The Mozilla Foundation says that attackers through javascript could go back to a users’ prior visited web pages allowing them to steal credit card or other personal information. This issue also affects users of the Mozilla Suite. Mozilla has responded by changing its update service and Firefox users have been urged to disable the browser's javascript option to provide a temporary fix to the problem.

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