Well if this isn't a sign of popularity I don't know what is...
Downloads of the Firefox web browser have today passed the one billion mark. On Mozilla's 'FirefoxCounter' twitter feed it proclaimed:
"1,000,019,496 downloads at 24.1 per second on 2009-07-31 15:00 UTC"
The figures are made all the more impressive too when put in context. The browser first launched in 2004 and by March 2008 there had been 500 000 000 Firefox downloads. Just 16 months later it has doubled that total. Latest estimates also place the global Firefox market share at record high 31 per cent. Internet Explorer now tallies approximately 60 per cent with Chrome, Safari and Opera all under five per cent.
Interestingly, this one billion mark may be just the beginning as the European Commission has forced Microsoft to either strip IE8 from Windows 7 or offer third party alternatives at launch - a choice the Redmond giant is currently deciding between. This should give Firefox exposure to the casual user, the biggest challenge to its expansion so far.
Furthermore, while Firefox faces the growing challenge of Google's fellow open source (and much faster) browser Chrome it is not standing still with Jetpack extensions potentially replacing the current add-on scheme, promises of optimisation improvements galore and already giving sneaky peaks of Firefox 4.0 (below).
Yep, this battle is just getting started...
One Billion Plus You (FireFox Celebration Page}
Browser Share via BBC News