Firefox…Your Guess is as Good as Mine


I remember the good old days when I used Internet Explorer 6 and it seemed everyone else was using Firefox 2.0. Of course that wasn’t the case as Firefox only had about 15% market share, but users were very vocal about telling you what the best browser was. If I were to write a discouraging word about Firefox, I would get roasted crispy brown like a Thanksgiving turkey.

The funny thing is that because Firefox played so much better with WordPress, I started using Firefox more and more. Over time I tended to stay with Firefox for other tasks as well. Today it’s my most used browser, probably getting about 70% of my time.

Now as I surf the web in my Shiny New Firefox 3.5 ride, I find plenty of people bashing and complaining about memory leaks, frequent crashes,and slow loading pages. Some express that things are not as good as they once were. Has the steady rise of Firefox made Chrome the new underdog?


It seems that the old question, What have you done for me lately, is being applied to Firefox. Slow steady growth and the recent celebration of 1 billion downloads qualifies Firefox as having a substantial following. Is it losing some of it’s “cult” status? It is the well established second choice in browsers and it seems more is expected of it. No longer the underdog, Firefox fans seem a little more critical these days.

Market share

Don’t we love to throw figures around? We’re all quick to shout about market share. Pitstop, Bill P, ArsTech, PC World, everyone has market share figures. But the problem with these figures is that while the figures are correct, we must be careful when describing what they reflect. If PC Pitstop figures reveal that 30% of the systems running the OverDrive Scan have Firefox installed, that does not necessarily mean they are using Firefox as their daily browser. Trying to ascribe market share from those figures is nothing more than a guess. It means only that at some point, for some reason, someone installed Firefox on that computer. They may not even know it’s there.

In addition to guarding against faulty extrapolation, it’s important to note the source of the figures. What sort of people use the site? Is the site, or in our case, scan, designed for systems using Internet Explorer? Are the users teenagers listening to music, 50 year old men with a mechanical background? Who is the site appealing to?

The recent rush to cloud computing has set all interested parties scrambling to establish themselves in the browser market. The idea of systems run by browsers instead of operating systems is inspiring strong efforts by all concerned. It’s a mad dash to claim as much market share as possible, but who really knows what that is. As we’ve seen, that depends on who you ask. It’s my opinion that the phrase “My best guess”, should be included with each article offering figures on Browser Market Share.

Search after search produces a gigantic number of people giving their break down of market share, but in every case there is more involved than meets the eye. Take a look at some of the links below and you’ll see why I think everyone’s figures are no more than a Best Guess.

Cnet “This: the world of browsers is in serious flux. “

3Schools Take a look and note disclaimers.

ars says 22%

The company putting the data together for this graph is NetApplications. You’ll find them quoted by quite a few sites suggesting figures for market share. The figures look reasonable, but do you know this company? I don’t. They may well be 100% accurate but you couldn’t prove it by me. Do they have an agenda? Of course, but heck if I know what it is.


I could go on and on and include official looking graphs but that’s exactly opposite of the point here. Do your own search. Try to remain as unbiased as you can. Consider where you’re coming from as compared to the rest of the world and tell me what your best guess is for Market Share For Today’s Browsers. Your best guess is as valid as any others out there.

Here’s mine!

Internet Explorer All Versions = 76%
FireFox All Versions 17%
Safari 4%
Google Chrome 1.5%
All others 1.5%

Please be gentle, I’m out of touch and drive a Caravan.

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21 thoughts on “Firefox…Your Guess is as Good as Mine”

  1. I found out my Firefox was crashing because, per Firefox, my printer was the primary and didn’t communicate well. It suggested that I choose another printer as my primary and once I did, Firefox quit crashing. Firefox has features that IE doesn’t. Speed is essential in my position, and the tabbed browsing & Find functions can’t be beat. I have the Tabbed Browsing set so that it cascades down the left side of the screen, rather than from across the top. Firefox really had me in mind when that function was created. I use it for my Customer Service/Tech Support Tools and have many screens that I have to access with lightening speed, so I am working with anywhere from 15 to 20 tabs constantly through the day. IE can NOT keep up. I upgraded to 8.0 and it is still slower than molasses in January.

  2. It’s Chrome hands down because of the speed. I love it. I need to get’r done without all of the waiting hassle. I still have to use IE8 occasionally but that’s just a minor inconvenience.

  3. For my penny, I am, and have been ever since I found it, a dedicated user of Avant. I find it works extremely well for any website I’ve ever loaded and is as configurable as I need it to be. Like a few others I can’t use IE8 because it is incompatible with my employer’s operations. Try it!!

  4. I love Firefox’ nice, clean pages. If it would download jpg and cid files I would love it even more. So I finally went to IE 8 which is too slow and the pages are so full of ads you can hardly find the location box. Now I use both browsers, depending on the need.

  5. I do not like Fire Fox because it lets a bunch of bad cookies get onto my system that do not show up when I use Aol or IE8. I have stopped useing Fire Fox for this reason, and if I do use it I must run Adaware and Norton Virus scan after to get rid of the cookies. This is not good……………..

  6. I, like everyone here, also started with IE. I liked using Firefox on my sister’s computer, so I downloaded it. I’ve used it exclusively, since. I updated to IE7 when it came out,just to be up to date in case I ever wanted to use IE again.It would connect to the internet (I had dial-up back then),but would not go to ANY site I typed in or clicked on, not even from my Favorites.When IE8 came out, I updated to that, and it works fine now. Fire Fox is still my preferred browser, though.

  7. I have Firefox, IE7 and Chrome. I use FF the most. IE7 next and Chrome occasionally. Our company will not allow IE8 on Company machines as it interacts poorly with some of our apps. My main reason for using FF, I refuse to be an unpaid beta tester for microsoft. If I pay for a companies product I want it to operate correctly with no problems or corrections from me. My employer expects me to do my job right the first time. That is what I expect from others.

  8. Ive never had that internal debate on what browser i was going to use. I switched to firefox long ago not because it was radical and different but it had an addon that let me check my net usage and automatically cleares the cookies n stuff after i close the browser. I dont care if IE can do that now cause i havent checked, nor do i feel the need to. Until Firefox messes up then ill just go back to IE.

    FYI i use firefox as my main browser and when i cant do certain things ill use IE.

  9. I’ve used Firefox since it was in beta. Any alternative to the crashes, pop-ups, ActiveX applets running in the background without my permission, etc. of IE5/6 was a very pleasant change. More importantly, vulnerabilities are more promptly acknowledged and addressed with Firefox than with IE.

    My experience is that Firefox runs faster, smoother with far fewer problems, patches and security vulnerabilities than the Microsoft product. Google Chrome is interesting and the fastest loading browser I’ve ever used, but some sites have trouble with it. I have no experience with Apple’s Safari or Opera browsers, but do not take my failure to comment one way or the other as a slam on them.

  10. I have IE v.8.0, FireFox v3.5.1, and Google Chrome on my computer. I use FireFox as my first choice but some sites just won’t work right unless I use IE. Chrome is interesting but as yet is not as versatile as either FireFox or IE.

    So if my computer is scanned and I’ve got three browsers, what does that do to the numbers?

  11. Michael M. T. Henderson

    I started using Firefox because IE5 crashed almost every time I used it. But then something I did–probably a minor upgrade to Firefox, 3.5 to 3.5.1, say–made the program very unstable. It crashed instantly whenever I started it; so I reluctantly went back to IE6. I guess I finally persuaded my Vista machine to use the 64-bit version of IE6, because it no longer crashes. Its only problem seems to be that it can’t find urls as easily as Firefox, and keeps telling me I must have “typed them incorrectly” even though I had clicked on them on another site or in an email message. So I conclude that if one can get a stable version of Firefox, one is better off than with IE6 or Chrome, both of which (see previous post) have trouble finding sites. I don’t think Opera will work with my 64-bit Vista system.

  12. I am by no means an expert on this subject however, I have used browsers since the internet(world wide web)first became the thing to do. I have always thought Netscape which I believe is the predecessor to Firefox was far superior to IE. I would have liked to see Netscape continue on but Microsoft ruined that! I think the bottom line is most people use the browser that is installed on their computers when they buy it and for the most part unwilling to change because they get comfortable with what they are using. Microsoft can keep IE!

  13. I have been using Firefox since it was called Mozilla and will keep on using Firefox because it is the fastest browser I have even used and it works on %99 of websites. I know Safari is faster but it doesn’t seem to run well on my computer plus it doesn’t have as much websites supporting it as Firefox. IE is a slow and sluggish browser. Chrome is even worst. Opera is not bad but doesn’t work on as many websites as Firefox.

  14. I have used Firefox for the last 12-18 months. I still have to use IE in conjunction with Messenger and Outlook and not much else. I was forced, in a previous IT post, to use IE only, so did get familiar with IE8. IE is streets behind Firefox and was obviously aware of it’s limitations, adopting several FF features. Firefox’s add-ons are a major reason why I love the browser so much, giving me the opportunity to hone the appearance and functionality to my needs. Some of the add-ons I see as indispensible and would prefer them to be integrated into FF proper.
    Firefox DOES suffer memory leaks and always has done since I installed it. I cannot say, however, whether or not those leaks are caused by the browser itself or the add-ons. The latter is where most of the problems arise, nearly all the crasheds being add-on related. It is a simple matter to diagnose by using FF in safe mode and re-adding the add-ons one at a time. The value added by the many add-ons I use (at any time 40-50 active ones) vastly outweighs the occasional problem. The memory leaks I can also live with – it’s no big deal to reload FF every few hours.
    I cannot see me leaving Firefox in the forseeable future, certainly not to return to IE. I have not seen any other current browser so cannot comment on the likes of Chrome.

  15. IE7 & IE8 (win7 only) are the best. Chrome is a governmental test – i dont’ trust google at all.

    I only want to use ONE (1) browswer, because IE does it all, that’s the one for me.

  16. Just to throw this out there, but I’ve been using Firefox for about 4 years now. I’ve recently switched back to IE and find IE8 to be quite nice at times. Firefox has just gone down hill imo.

  17. I guess that I’m probablly the only guy in my boat.
    I have had PC’s now for about 11 or 12 years now and
    have never had anything but IE……………..

  18. I never understood this browser obsession. I use Windows and IE, it works great. I’ve tried all the other browsers out there and they’re all about the same. They’re “browsers”. Besides IE does everthing I need so why use something anything else.

  19. It is the “NUMBER ONE” choice in web browsers.

    When people “choose” a web browser it is almost always Firefox.

    The rest of the people just use what came with the computer, and or continue to use what came with the computer because they can’t be bothered to try something else, can’t be bothered to learn something different.

    That is the Microsoft plan, it was the goal, and worked well for many years.

    Things are changing however, and people are actually choosing to use other applications and other operating systems.

    There will be companies who realize it, take advantage of it and prosper.

    There will also be companies who refuse to adapt, they will survive, but will lose market share as other browsers become more popular.

    That will leave those companies scrambling to catch up, or perhaps missing the boat all together.

    In other words, sites that rely on activex, should have seen what was coming and gotten away from it years ago, the writing was on the wall. Instead they continue to offer IE only compatible websites, and by doing so they do “former” customers a disservice as those customers move on with different software and operating systems, they no longer can use the services the site offers. When a web site makes things difficult by demanding people use certain applications or software to access the sites services, that site isn’t thinking of customers any longer.

    I wouldn’t bank on any one “browser” being so dominant that put eggs in it’s basket.

    Much better to rely on the underlying technologies that are cross platform and work in all browsers.

    That way whether Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE……….. is being used then the visitor to a site can access the site and it’s services.

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