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The business crowd is warming up to Firefox

A new study shows that in at least one sector 2007 was a very good year for Firefox and a bad one for Microsoft's Internet Explorer.  The pair squared off over the course of last year and have been fiercely competitive.  Microsoft and Mozilla were not above talking a bit of trash about each other's browsers, with critical words exchanged.  Mozilla showed modest gains overall, but still trailed significantly in market share to Internet Explorer in overall adoption.

Now, as Firefox 3 prepares to square off with Internet Explorer 8, this new study, released this week by Forrester Research, paints an intriguing picture of Firefox's significant 2007 gains in a very important market sector-- the business community.  The survey, which collected data from over 50,000 large enterprise employees, discovered that over they year Microsoft's browser marketshare fell 10 percent, while Firefox's share jumped from 9.8% to 18%.

More interesting still the survey reveals how Internet Explorer 7 struggled to win adoption in the business community.  The survey found
55.2% of companies still use IE 6 as of December 2007.  IE 7 only has a 23.4 percent adoption rate, just barely more than growth and use of Firefox.

Interestingly, Firefox 2.0, released in October 2006 "
almost completely replaced" the previous browser, Firefox 1.5.  The study indicates that the strong growth of Firefox evidenced both by the strong adoption of Firefox 2.0 and by the overall market share growth was driven by employees, not IT managers, for the most part.  The reports states, "Mozilla continues to expend little energy on wooing IT managers to formally adopt Firefox."

The report also notes that many IT shops are moving to support Firefox with
enterprise Web apps, despite taking a backseat to employees in pushing the browser's adoption.   Forrester analyst Thomas Mendel states that new numbers spell trouble for Microsoft.  Says Mendel, "Even with Microsoft spoon feeding users high-priority automatic updates, enterprise apathy is proving extremely difficult to overcome."

Mendel advising companies hoping to stick with Microsoft who haven't upgraded to IE 7 yet to wait to upgrade until the release of IE 8.  The IE 8 browser is expected to be more competitive with Firefox.  IE 7 largely played a catch-up role, adding features such as
improved security by blocking known phishing sites, increased standards support, tabs, a search box, and RSS support.  IE 8 will pack more advanced features, though, making it more viable.  Internet Explorer 8 builds on IE 7's progress with such features as site blocking for malware sites, even more standards compliance, WebSlices, and Activities.

Unfortunately Microsoft faces a major deal breaker in one of its own aforementioned accomplishments.  By implement a more standards compliant browser for IE 8,
analyst firm Gartner believes Microsoft will break many of the existing business web apps developed for older non-standards compliant versions of the browser.    This could lead these apps not to render properly.  Gartner states that it strongly urges companies to "strive to design for standards, not browsers."

Also another point raised by analysts is that many of IE 8's features require Windows Vista adoption.  With many companies still using XP and reticent to switch, this could also hinder adoption.

te what is expected to be its most advanced browser yet, Microsoft faces a tough road in 2008, if the trend from 2007 continues.  Microsoft is left to hope that IE 8 can salvage its slipping grip on browser marketshare in the business sector.

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By greylica on 4/3/2008 2:30:06 PM , Rating: 2
We need a Browser that can be reinstalled in case of problems.
Firefox and Opera is OK, if broke, you can delete and replace.
An Internet Explorer, if broken, can't be reinstalled. You have to format Windows, and possibly have to call Microsoft to activate Windows again.
It's easier to reinstall a browser than an entire system isnt't ?

Firefox and Opera - I recommend for everyone.

RE: Modularity.
By INeedCache on 4/3/2008 4:35:18 PM , Rating: 1
I have never had to reinstall Windows to fix problems with IE. It can be deleted and reinstalled, or in the case of IE7, reset to original configuration which solves most issues. I have absolutely no problems with IE7, and actually prefer it over Firefox. I think many folks simply read or hear stuff about how "bad" IE is and how "great" Firefox is, and then that's it, it becomes fact. What a way to run your life.

RE: Modularity.
By MaulBall789 on 4/3/2008 6:08:46 PM , Rating: 2
I think many folks simply read or hear stuff about how "bad" IE is and how "great" Firefox is, and then that's it, it becomes fact.

The fact is Firefox is a much more user friendly experience, very flexible and customizable. If IE7 works better for you there's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't mean the rest of us follow the herd for the hell of it. I'll bet good money that most common users are using IE5/6/7 just because it's already there and are too afraid to try anything else, if they know anything else exists at all.

After years of using IE5/6 I was ready to try something else, partially to get away from the ActiveX security issues that kept popping up as well as the inherent problems of having the browser integrated with the OS.

I tried out FF 0.x and 1.0+ and Opera but didn't feel they were ready for prime time. After FF 1.5 arrived I tried it again and was very impressed. Since then I have used it exclusively.

When IE7 was released I went back for a few weeks to give it a fair shake. Messed around with some of the add-ons, some different configurations and, though it definitely was an improvement over IE6, the overall customization and comfort level wasn't there.

I tried out Opera 9 as well and after a week or two didn't really ever get used to its add-ons and little windows everywhere.

It's my own opinion, of course, but it doesn't take a genius to test the different browsers and see which one fits what you do best. Firefox is great, not because I was told, because I tried it for myself.

When IE8 comes out I'll try it out too and if it's better than FF3 then you can bet I'll switch back. I'd be crazy not to.

Add-ons currently used in FF:
Adblock Plus
Customize Google
IE Tab

Theme: Metal Lion - Vista

RE: Modularity.
By encryptkeeper on 4/4/2008 9:10:26 AM , Rating: 2
I think many folks simply read or hear stuff about how "bad" IE is and how "great" Firefox is, and then that's it, it becomes fact.

Or you could read articles like this one above and realize that sometimes, just because everybody jumps on a bandwagon, you should too.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

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