back to article Firefox market share drops as IE makes slender gain

Mozilla’s Firefox has lost market share against Google’s young pretender Chrome browser for the third month in a row. According to NetMarketShare’s latest stats, Firefox's share of the global browser market slipped under 23 per cent in July. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer saw its usage share rise a slender 0.42 per …


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  1. Defiant

    No need for Chromes size

    The only problem with Chrome is its HUGE. There just can't be a justifiable reason for a 100MB plus install.

    Opera is what 11/13mb while Firefox is around 33mb

    1. Geoff Campbell

      I think I speak for all of us here when I say:

      Big, fat, hairy deal. 100MB? So what? What does 100MB of bandwidth or hard disk cost these days?

      Seriously, what's the problem?


  2. MontyPole
    Paris Hilton

    The Devil Is In The Details

    My two penneth is that Firefox needs a complete re-design.

    Even IE8 looks more up to date.

    I know people are going to say how it looks doesn't matter. It does matter.

    Firefox still looks like a slightly jazzed up IE6.

    What's under the hood might be safer, more secure etc.

    But if it looks like a bag of spanners, which it does, then it's going to lose out, which it is starting to do.

    Paris - now tell me looks don't matter!

  3. Martin Gregorie


    FireFox just isn't very good these days. Its much slower than Opera 10.6, taking a very noticable time to scroll El Reg's front page back to the point I was looking at after I exit a story. Opera is there instantly.

    Unlike Opera it crashes. Some movies (flash IIRC) just cause it to suddenly vanish and its PDF viewer seems to coredump regularly.

    In case you're wondering: FireFox 3.5.11 under Fedora 12 on a Core Duo based Lenovo laptop.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Come back and report the problems

      How about upgrading to Firefox 3.6. There's really no point complaining that something isn't very good anymore if you're not using the latest version.

      1. Martin Gregorie

        It is....

        ...the latest release in the Fedora distro, and yes I do upgrade the distro on a weekly basis.

        The crashes and lethargy aren't recent. They've been integral to all FF 3.5 releases.

        I was sufficiently pissed off with Opera 10's shortcomings prior to 10.6 to seriously consider moving to FF as my default browser, but the FF 3.5.x's sloth and the frequent helper crashes dissuaded me. This was fortunate, since Opera 10.6 has none of the deficiencies of FF or of the earlier Opera 10.x versions.

        1. mittfh


          Cripes, the Fedora team are a little slow. Mandriva 2010.1 comes with 3.6.6. With eight (mainly text-based) tabs open, it's consuming 118 MiB - 107 for the main binary and 11 for the plugin container. I have 28 add-ons enabled and 2 disabled.

          The only problems I've really noticed are the perennial memory leaks - after running it for a few days (putting the computer in standby between sessions) and opening several YouTube tabs, the memory usage can spiral (I once had it consuming over 800MB - I was starting to wonder why it was starting to be lethargic!) - but then that's probably my fault for running it into the ground. Startup takes about 12 seconds (about the same time as LiVES) but then again, there are 28 add-ons to load!), but Chrome takes ~6 seconds (including loading the Google homepage) on the first try and ~3 on subsequent occasions (as do the other Kebkit browsers - so it probably keeps a Webkit service running for a while after closure) and Thunderbird ~9 seconds (excluding checking my two accounts). GIMP and take ~8 seconds, and RPMDrake ~18 seconds. Which is my biggest bugbear about the OS. If you include the time it takes to log into Mandriva Control Centre ("Configure Your Computer") in the first place, you're looking at nearly 30s before you can search for and install software. And unless you know roughly what the package is called, you can't cheat by using a terminal and urpmi - besides which, the CLI doesn't allow you to browse the repositories.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            Thank you. Now that I've finally seen someone actually use "MiB" outside of Wikipedia I can die happy.

            Out of interest, do you also say "initialism" instead of "acronym" and point out which words are a portmanteau, as you use them?

      2. Eddie Johnson

        Stop the Merry-go-round

        Some people don't have the time to be upgrading every week. You have to evaluate these things. One big problem is that every major update and a lot of minor ones (ie 3.5=>3.6) break extensions and if critical extensions aren't supported you can't move forward. I still run Firefox 1.5 and 2.0 in certain circumstances.

        Mozilla has adopted an annoying pattern of taking things away recently too. Things like cookie file compatibility, the forms tab of Page Info, useful stuff. With a track record like that updating blindly is insanity.

        I just found they've taken away the ability to globally install extensions via a command line option. There's still a way to do it but it requires a lot more investigation and time investment, not exactly what I'd call progress. Just the fact that they keep rearranging things for no obvious reason annoys me to no end.

  4. bob's hamster

    Big Deal?

    Until fairly recently I would've been quite concerned about IE seemingly growing back market share at the expense of more "worthy" alternatives like Firefox, but nowadays with open standards prevalent across the web it's not such a big deal. As long the browser does the basics well, (renders correct html and css and is fast and stable) then who cares? Having said that I much prefer Firefox because of the wonderful plug-ins available (fire ftp, firebug etc.). Long may the competition continue!

    1. J 3

      @Big Deal?

      Yes, big deal.

      Why do you think browsers are better about open standards nowadays? Because MS saw the error of their ways and decided to come to the light side of the Force?

      And why do you think that if one browser reaches near-monopoly again (specially if it is a browser from some big company) it will not just do things as it wants, creating its own "standards" ? (again)

      As long as NO browser gets too much of the market (how much exactly that cap would be, I don't know), then we can have a reasonable chance of things improving in the open standards department. Not to mention that they keep each other on their toes -- everyone would quite likely still be using IE6 or something only slightly made up for looks if it wasn't for the growth of non-MS browsers.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets see.

    i.e. is being pushed hard on TV.

    Safari - well everytime an i-device(tm) comes out, there's that reason, it's default

    Google punts chrome everytime you go to the most popular search engine

    And FF falls. And it is advertised where?

  6. umacf24
    Thumb Up

    Best for non-tech users

    I've been recommending Chrome for non-technical home users of Windows XP users for months now. These are people who will never master NoScript, but we CAN get them to browse with a non-admin account.

    Chrome has a huge advantage here because the updater works even if you never log on as an admin. With Firefox, updating is a perennial pain. Site compatibility seems fine, and the secure Javascript model seems to give some of the advantages of NoScript.

  7. Paul Berry
    Thumb Up

    That'd be because Chrome is lean and fast

    Don't get me wrong, I love Firefox. But, on older, slower machines where I just want to do a quick Google search, it's Chrome every time because I don't want to wait 15 minutes for Firefox to start. Searching by typing the address bar is a big usability win, too.

    As long as Google keep Chrome lean, fast and simple, they'll keep gaining market share.

  8. Uwe Dippel
    Paris Hilton

    Lies, Lies, all Lies!!

    That's what I would have called these stories only a few weeks ago.

    Then, in half an hour of idleness, I simply and only, tried. Chrome.

    Since then it's been up here. It renders faster, never crashed on me (recently, Firefox started to crash twice daily).

    True, I miss the great add-ons of Firefox. No-Script, Downloadhelper, you just name them. Text search is horrible in Chrome. And it consumes giant amounts of RAM. But since I have 4 GB, it is just enough for Chrome to keep me more happy with Chrome.

    IE8, though, is still lousy. At least here.

    Paris, because there are always better alternatives

  9. illiad

    STILL waiting for a usable FF4 beta!!!

    B2 still will not do addons - that includes adblock! :(

    1. Defiant

      Yes you can

      You can but you need an addon to install the addons and no I'm not joking

    2. Ocular Sinister


      I installed Beta 2 a few days ago and my add-ons carried on working. I think they auto-updated in the usual way and that was that.

  10. illiad

    "it is advertised where?"

    - massively supported by the community.... and the summer hols means it is not being used that much, only a blip in its 25% share.... It will continue after hols! :)

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ...don't ever run a business.

      Run by the community is NOT the same as advertising and brand awareness (god I can't belive I typed that).

      You can have a good product, but if people don't know about it, it won't sell.

      And as for the holidays, what the fuck has that got to do with ANYTHING, please rationalise that bizzare statement. Do people suddenly stop using firefox because the suns out? Or is it only schools that use it. Please do explain your point!

      1. Ed Deckard

        I run a business, a fairly successful one

        And word of mouth from happy customers is the best publicity you could possibly have.

        1. Geoff Campbell

          Being of a scientific bent....

          ....I once decided to test this word of mouth mantra, many years ago. I just happened at the time to have recently started an ISP with reasonably large ambitions, and I publicised it throughout the technical on-line community I was very active in, giving away a number of free accounts to seed the process. Everyone was very complimentary, and said nice things to all their friends, and sure enough I signed up a couple of hundred people in a few months.

          Meanwhile, the Marketing Director was running a nationwide press advertising campaign, with ads in technical and non-technical publications, radio on London FM stations, and so on. They managed three thousand sign-ups in the same time.

          So it appears you are wrong. Word of mouth is not the best advertising.


          1. DavCrav

            @Geoff Campbell

            You forgot the important sign-ups/pound metric, which is of course more important. How costly was a national press campaign, compared with your word-of-mouth campaign?

            1. Geoff Campbell
              Thumb Up


              I forget the figures (this was 1995, it's all a bit of a blur....) but the advertising campaign paid for itself many times over within the first couple of months. We were starting from scratch, no subscribers whatsoever, had we relied upon pure word of mouth we'd've gone out of business.


  11. Delboy

    Keep using IE

    I hope the majority of people keep using IE because it will remain the most targetted, by hackers, and I don't use it.

  12. Blain Hamon

    Nevermind market shares for FF, Chrome, IE7+

    What I want to know is, why wont IE 6 hurry up and die already?*

    *Yes, yes, I know, there's still companies out there dependent on one-off ActiveX controls on their internal network, but guh. Even MSFT wants to get rid of that albatross.

    1. Eddie Johnson

      IE6 Lives On

      Because MS never released 7 or 8 for NT and 2K. And yes, there are still a significant number of those OSs running.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    FF losing out? Not suprised

    ver 3.6 has been a nightmare since the 3.6.4 update; flash was locking it up nearly every time; .5,.6,.7 made no difference and .8 made matters worse!!

    Even on a brand new build ( first powered up today), FF3.6.8 has crashed 5-6 times, just from opening a new tab!!!

    It was so bad on my old PC I switched to 4.0beta, which STILL had the flash issue.

    Thankfully the first update fixed that.

    And if 3.6.8 crashes on me again tonight 4.0beta will be back!!

    Coat with empty pockets, no dosh left!!!

  14. ad47uk
    Black Helicopters

    Mozilla have lost the plot

    I think Mozilla have lost the plot these days, even the new beta version 4 is no better. It is a shame as I started to use Netscape and then changed to Firefox when Netscape was dropped. I now using Iron, which is a chrome clone, but without the Google spying bits, much faster than Firefox in start up and displaying pages.

    Add ons are not as good, but I found some that does what I want.

    Sorry Mozilla, but your browsers are now history on my computers, in fact I had Opera, safari, Firefox 3.6 and 4on my computer as well as Internet Exploder and I have now just got one browser installed and that is Iron.

    Ok I know that Internet Exploder is still there and it is hidden.

  15. MineHandle

    Firefox too successful for its own good?

    I wonder if FF is too successfull for its own good.

    FF became popular 5 years ago because of three things: IE6 security issues, better standards support and great developer tools.

    If you look at the browser market now the first two are largely non-issues now. IE8 is as secure as FF and its standards support is reasonable (still lacking but getting there). Likewise Opera, Safari and Chrome are all much the same to the non-technical user. So it boils down to things like branding, personal preferences and so on. 5 years ago I installed FF on all my relatives computers. Now I don't bother anymore. They are happy using IE8 and I have no real reason to tell them to use something else. FF gave MS a good kick up the arse and we are all the better for it, but there's no need to evangelise about it so much at this point.

    I am also wondering whether, due to increased standards support, browsers are actually becoming irrelevant. Don't we all access the internet through smart phone apps and so on?

  16. Anonymous Coward

    What did they expect?

    Firefox was only really ever Netscape under the hood... Those who were there will remember that Netscape didn't just lose it's market share to due to a certain competitor's dominance, a good deal of it was down to Netscape being rubbish. That underlying rubbishness had to show through in FF at some point.

    The only reasons FF was vaguely successful outside IT pro's the feeling they were sticking two fingers up to bill gates... Users don't really care about security or standards and the only thing hailed as new to FF was tabbed browsing (also lifted from Netscape).

    * Flames, cos well, it is fire-fox...

  17. Wibble
    IT Angle

    Which IE?

    There's a choice of three. All different. Lumping them all together is negligent.

  18. Greg J Preece

    Still a happy FF user

    No stability issues, no extension issues. Sure it's a bit slower than the others but its improving, and it works the way I want it to. Plus, unlike a certain other browser, it doesn't spend half its time dialling home (didn't MS get slated six ways from Sunday for that...?).

    And unlike some other punters here, I think I will reserve judgement on FF4 until it's actually finished.

  19. mhenriday
    Thumb Down

    Strange, I don't see this declining trend for FF share

    when I check StatCounter's worldwide stats ( ) - FF seems to be holding its own with a market share of 31 - 32 %, IE declining slowly, with a current share of around 53 %, and Chrome increasing at a fairly rapid pace and now enjoying a market share worldwide of over 10 %. For the United States, which always occupies a privileged place in the affections of Reg bloggers, the respective shares are 53 %, 28 %, and 9 %. Perhaps it's time for a discussion on just whose statistics should be used as the basis for Reg articles and why....


  20. Ainteenbooty

    This is fucking horrible!

    What abysmal travesty of a situation would lead a person to migrate BACK to IE after leaving it?

    I could really care less about who wins out between Firefox, Safari and Chrome. As long as IE dies in excruciating pain the result would be positive.

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