Firefox was first released in 2004 by the Mozilla foundation, since which time it has gone through several upgrades and developments. It’s a so called ‘open source’ platform, meaning that the code is made available to anyone who is interested. This also means that developers other than Mozilla are free to add ‘extras’ that can be downloaded separately by users.
The billion downloads indicates that Firefox has around a third of the browser market. I just checked Google analytics for our WebEden.co.uk and I can see that around 20% of visitors are using Firefox.
As you can see from the image, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer continues to lead the market. Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Opera all have just a few users. The continued growth of Firefox is very much at the expense of Internet Explorer. In my view that’s hardly surprising – you can read about why I like Firefox more than Internet Explorer.
The reason that Microsoft is so far ahead in the first place is that they bundled Internet Explorer with all computers running a Microsoft operating system, making it the default browser in every case. Microsoft is in talks with European competition regulators so that European buyers of the new Windows 7 operating system can choose from a range of browsers..
This isn’t the first time Firefox has broken records. Last year it set a new Guinness world record for the most downloaded software in 24 hours when Firefox 3 was downloaded more than eight million times.
You can track the total number of downloads on the Mozilla website, where they have set up a a new website, OneBillionPlusYou.com, in celebration of the milestone.
Are you a Firefox convert, or have you stuck with IE? Any Chrome, Safari or Opera users out there? Leave us a comment below.