Last week Ars Technica reported that Firefox may never hit 25% market share. Firefox has certainly put a big dent in Internet Explorer’s share over the past few years, but it seems to have stalled out. Certainly Google Chrome is one reason, as it has attracted the attention of many web users in the past year. Since its 1.0 release in 2004, Firefox has been the most widely-adopted success of the open source world, but now it appears to be stuck. And my response is “who cares?”
I’ve been a Firefox user since the 1.something days, with occasional forays into Opera and Chrome. I appreciate the work the developers have done, and I think Firefox has been an excellent product, but I don’t particularly care what the market share is. In fact, the more browsers that are in widespread use, the better I think it is for the web. Having a larger number of browsers forces browser and site developers alike to adhere to standards instead of implementing however they see fit.
The whole point is that users should have a choice, and that websites should work no matter what browser is used. Realistically, we’re not to that point yet, but look what’s happened in the past six years with less than a quarter of the market. I’ll continue to use whatever browser I feel is best for me, and I won’t care how many others agree. It’s just a tool, people.
Not only that but the more competition and division in the market the more hackers will have to divide their time and bugs that can be exploited on one browser aren’t as likely to work on others so when some virus is let loose it may spread less quickly and less far. If everyone just used IE all the time evil doers could concentrate their efforts and we’d all be quite a bit more vulnerable.
I use IE and Firefox – I choose Firefox for dodgier websites or when I’m in a hurry, the rest of the time I use IE. So how would I count in the market share?
@CoWmAn that’s a good point, too. The more difficult life is for crackers, the better. I’m not sure how you’d get counted, but I’d guess you’d end up as both an IE and Firefox user, depending on which sites you visit with which browser. For dodgy sites, I generally use Opera or Konqueror…not that I’d ever visit a dodgy site, of course.