Is Firefox’s 20% market share worth more than just 20%?

About a month and a half ago Mozilla announced Firefox officially held a market share greater than 20%. At the time of posting this marketshare.hitslink shows the share to be 20.41%.

Not too shabby owning a fifth of the market. However a look at the statistics of some of the popular Technology website shows a Firefox market share exceeding 50%. Arstechnica reports a Firefox usage of 51.34%, ReadWriteWeb at 55.04% and Techcrunch just shy of 60% at 57.80%

You might argue that technology websites are likely to be viewed by enthusiasts who are likely to move away from the standard shipped browser and that real number lie in average users. But then again it is the enthusiasts who spend a lot more time browsing than their, if I may say, ‘regular’ counterparts. This is real life scenario.

Doesn’t this increase Firefox’s usage statistics then? As an unrealistically simplified example let’s take 20 people browsing for an hour each versus 70 people browsing for 15 minutes each. Firefox’s timewise usage is higher than IE in this example but that’s not what I’m going for. The point is Firefox may be pegged at 20% (which by the way is a huge achievement) but it’s 20% weighs and counts for a lot more.

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Never mind Gmail, let’s take Chrome out of Beta!

Techcrunch reports that Google VP Marissa Mayer told Michael Arrington (of Techcrunch) that Google will be taking Chrome out of Beta. Turns out this is not news at all. Windowsitpro reports Google VP Sundar Pichai already told the same thing to The Times in UK with a time frame; January. This is most likely due to their decision to increase market share by convincing OEMs to bundle Chrome with new PCs who won’t accept a Beta product.

Gmail despite having a range of features has still been in Beta for years. But Chrome is still an immature product. Speed is its greatest advantage but Opera almost matches that and preliminary tests of Firefox 3.1 Betas show it is likely to match, if not beat, Chrome. In addition FireFox has a wide variety of addons which Chrome is yet to match.

I just think Google is better off developing a fuller product and then distributing the product en-masse rather than ship an incomplete product only to have users switch to a fuller browser.

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Why does Google continue to work with Mozilla while developing a product which is competition with it?

We’ve got a lot of people wondering why Google recently renewed the search deal with Firefox when they had plans to release their own browser. Why the answer to isn’t obvious is beyond me but hey I’ll take my own shot at the obvious answer anyway. So how do I put this simple, let’s see. How about, urm, because it makes damn business sense. Firefox drives a lot of traffic through Google. If Google were to decide to not extend the deal, it would lose anywhere between 15-30% – depends on what continent and service you’re looking at – of the browser share market.

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