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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.

Despi
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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I still use Firefox 1.5
By tjr508 on 4/3/2008 3:00:46 PM , Rating: 2
I also have a laptop with a 1.5Ghz processor and 256MB RAM.

Am I missing out on anything?




RE: I still use Firefox 1.5
By Zurtex on 4/3/2008 4:31:26 PM , Rating: 2
You should see much better performance in Fx 3.0, it consumes far less memory, so you can do much more without it just eating what little memory you have after your OS is done with it.


RE: I still use Firefox 1.5
By Shida on 4/3/2008 4:58:47 PM , Rating: 2
Especially with FF 3.0 b5. It just came out.
http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/all-beta.html


RE: I still use Firefox 1.5
By encryptkeeper on 4/4/2008 8:59:55 AM , Rating: 3
How's Beta 5 compared to Beta 4?

BTW, this made me kind of chuckle...
The survey found 55.2% of companies still use IE 6 as of December 2007.

I think half of the reason for this is that IE7 requires (if you don't know the workaround) a genuine copy of Windows (XP). Many times, illegal copies will be sold on machines by people claiming they're expert computer consultants...when they're really just looking to save a buck or two. Except for one person, anyone I've ever shown FireFox to has adopted it for permanent use.


RE: I still use Firefox 1.5
By mindless1 on 4/5/2008 6:00:37 AM , Rating: 2
It's because businesses are conservative, wanting to keep the same platform. Even if that weren't true, if someone would pirate and activate XP, they could similarly foil the WGA check. There's just no complusion to cater to employees who would prefer a different browser. They might also prefer a different style of tiles on the floor or a receptionist who also works in a strip club but those aren't changing either.


RE: I still use Firefox 1.5
By MaulBall789 on 4/3/2008 5:31:36 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say you're missing a whole lot of security upgrades and patches by now. Not to mention a pretty decent increase in performance. Other than those, nothing at all.


RE: I still use Firefox 1.5
By fic2 on 4/3/2008 5:44:36 PM , Rating: 2
Is there a way to have the tabs all in the window. It did this in 1.5, but in 2.x after so many tabs it sends them to a drop down thing. I hate that. I usually keep a lot of tabs open (36 currently) and it is easier to just click on the tab at the top then go scrolling through some list.


RE: I still use Firefox 1.5
By Bremen7000 on 4/3/2008 9:09:56 PM , Rating: 2
Tab Mix Plus.


RE: I still use Firefox 1.5
By smitty3268 on 4/3/2008 9:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
There's a hidden preference in about:config you can set (google it) or you can get a bunch of different extensions which will do that for you.


RE: I still use Firefox 1.5
By smitty3268 on 4/3/2008 9:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
Firefox 2.0 didn't really have a single must-have new feature over 1.5, but after installing it I did notice that everything just seemed more polished. Lots of little tweaks did add up to a better experience.

However, at this point I'd have to recommend just waiting for 3.0 to come out and upgrade to that as soon as possible. You might even be better off switching to the current beta(5) right now unless you depend on a lot of extensions. You'd certainly have better security and it would run faster on that old machine.


RE: I still use Firefox 1.5
By wordsworm on 4/4/2008 8:01:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Firefox 2.0 didn't really have a single must-have new feature over 1.5


I don't remember the search bar being quite as nifty as it is now. I like the fact that the search bar can now have other search engines added to it quite easily, and accessed via a drop down menu. Also, there are the 'live bookmarks' that I don't recall being included with 1.5. Those are the only two things that I can think of that I thought were great improvements. Although, changing where the x appears to close a tab was greatly improved as well.

What I'd like to do is change the search bar a little bit and have the ability to split the screen in half. I'd like to have two Firefoxes, essentially, open in the same window, without all that resizing and adjusting that's involved with having two actual windows open simultaneously.

Secondly, I'd like to see some changes in the search bar: I'd like to see the icons of the individual pages lined up with the ability to select one or more search engine at a time, thereby opening up 2 windows split in half or 4 windows split in 4 with each search result displayed. Another way to do it would be to have a main page located to the left of the screen with multiple large sized (say 200x200 pixels) preview screens on the right. I'm sure my screen space would allow me to stack 4-6 quite easily. Then, simply select one for it to be displayed in the dominant side to the left. I'm not sure if I'm explaining what I'd like very well or not. I wish I had time to really learn how to redesign Firefox myself... because I think it would be a vast improvement over the current system.

Anywho... I'm still loving my current Firefox.


"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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