Firefox

Firefox
While our inclusion of MySpace is likely to have met widespread agreement, adding Firefox to the list will prove far more controversial. Mozilla's open source browser has been fighting the good fight against Internet Explorer since late 2004 and is arguably the driving force behind today's hugely competitive browser wars.

The problem for Mozilla, however, is the war it ignited is arguably becoming too competitive for a non-profit organisation with just 300 employees and a huge reliance on Google for advertising revenue. Whereas Firefox served to highlight the snail-like development of IE6 – a browser which Microsoft took five years to replace – now its own evolution seems slow at best. For example Firefox 3.0 began testing in 2007 and the final version of Firefox 4.0 won't arrive until mid 2011, nearly 12 months since the first beta was unveiled.

Where it has lost out is to Google Chrome, a browser whichhas hit its ninth version - incremental changes or not - in just over two years. Latest figures put Chrome market share at around 10 per cent, a growth rate on par with Firefox at its pomp while Firefox stagnated in 2010 dropping from 24 per cent in January to 22.8 per cent in December. Yes Internet Explorer market share continues to fall (61 per cent to 57 per cent in 2010), but with IE9 just around the corner it should be good enough to satisfy casual users while figures suggest the more adventurous are opting for Chrome.

This is just one half of the problem, however, since Mozilla's major rivals also control the mobile sector though iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7. Since its confirmation in 2007 Firefox Mobile has made negligible impact with Opera sweeping up dissenters from these and other mobile platforms.

2011 certainly won't be the end for Firefox, but it could be seen as the beginning of it.

Also for the chop: RockMelt – a noble social browsing experiment which has failed to gain traction

comments powered by Disqus