Despite only being introduced four years ago, Firefox has gained a relatively large share of the browser market. Some reports are now putting it as high as 20% for the third quarter of 2008.
Of course, browser statistics are often significantly inaccurate. You have to pick and choose which stats to include and which ones to ignore in order to quote the 20% figure. Remember also that these statistics cannot take into account closed networks such as intranets and they are skewed by places where Internet Explorer is required, such as schools and many offices. However, the trend definitely shows that Firefox now has a significant portion of the browser market.
While Microsoft is able to bundle Internetx Explorer with every copy of Windows, Mozilla has to work hard to convert users to Firefox. Mozilla run Spread Firefox, a website which centralises the effort to promote the browser. This features their affiliate campaing that allows users to accrue points based on how many people they refer to download Firefox.
Mozilla also recently ran a successful campaign to achieve a Guinness World Record for the highest number of downloads in 24 hours. 8,002,530 copies of Firefox were downloaded in a single day.
Who can also forget the double page advert that Mozilla ran in the New York Times back in 2004.
While Firefox’s growth is exciting for many, there will come a point where it cannot grow any more. It is important to remember that Firefox is only used by people who choose which web browser to use. For the less tech-savvy people, Internet Explorer isn’t a web browser, it is the Internet. This represents a significant number of people and it will be a substantial obstacle for Mozilla to overcome in the future. That is unless a significant court ruling in the future requires Microsoft to unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows. In that case, the statistics will get very interesting indeed.