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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In the futile search of an Outlook alternative..

I’ve been using Outlook for about two years now. It has done an excellent job at sorting my life out, whether it’s been keeping up with my calendar appointments, making sure my contact details stay upto date or I always have a copy of my current task list. In addition every mobile phone manufacturer supports synchronisation out of the box so setup seems to be relatively painless.

It’s only after the end of the honeymoon do you realise Outlook’s shortcomings. Like most software built by Microsoft, it’s highly functional. But the functionality comes at the cost of bloat. While most people get used to the sluggish nature, you really realise the difference when you try an alternate solution such as Thunderbird for email. Outlook crawls to its knees when using IMAP, presumably because Microsoft wants to push Exchange usage. However this is inexcusable when a relatively newer software like Thunderbird is lightning fast. Scrolling through contacts, adding calendar appointments do seem to have a considerable lag. All of this on a fairly decent machine (2GHz, 2GB Ram).

It’s a shame Outlook has had no real competition in terms of an alternative that would offer the entire PIM solution. Calendar and Contacts are only basic in Thunderbird when compared to that of Outlook. In addition there is no solution for synchronisation between Nokia and Thunderbird. Such a shame considering Nokia is the world’s largest consumer mobile phone manufacturer.

It’s almost a year since Thunderbird branched out as a seperate company and we’ve seen just two alpha releases of Thunderbird 3, which isn’t exactly impressive as their roadmap suggests we should’ve seen a beta release by Q3 and it’s only two weeks ago that a second alpha was released. However all this is secondary as Thunderbird has miles to cover in order to be a true alternative to Outlook. And until that day arrives, Outlook is king and will continue to rest on it’s laurels for a long time. And like all Microsoft’s products, innovation will only start when some real competition starts to kick in.

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