Firefox caught in a trap
Open source browser Firefox is caught in unforeseen circumstances.
BY A CORRESPONDENT
7 October, 2005: After an impressive headstart, Mozilla's open source browser Firefox seems to be facing problems. Launched late last year, Firefox took on market leader Internet Explorer with gusto, and became the No.2 browser in very little time. By June 2005, it was commanding 8.71% of the browser market share, and aiming for the 10% mark. All seemed to be going well.
In the meantime, Mozilla released an update to its browser and Google made its toolbar available for the Firefox, increasing its popularity. The nimble fox caught the imagination of lots of new surfers.
Success came with a price. Firefox flaws were detected soon, and Mozilla went into fixing them one by one. As if it was not enough, in July, for the first time since the launch of Firefox, the browser's marketshare declined.
Did Netscape's resurgence have anything to do with this decline? Does not look so. Firefox's market share dipped to 8.07%, even as Microsoft's Internet Explorer raised its share from 86.56 to 87.20%.
Emboldened by the Firefox, Netscape relaunched its browser, but it has not been able to chip into the Explorer market share. The browser was heavy and clumsy, while Explorer and Fox powered ahead. It was only recently that HP started offering buyers the choice of getting PCs preloaded with Netscape.
In the browser market league tables, Internet Explorer currently occupies the brute majority, folowed by Firefox, Apple Safari, Netscape and Opera.
Rude shocks were to follow soon, with the Firefox evangelist website spreadfirefox.com hacked twice in the last three months. The hackers made use of the TWiki software running on the website server for the attack. Spread Firefox advised its members to change their passwords, in a precautionary step. The website said it does not believ any sensitive information has been leaked, but took the step to be on the safe side.
Looks like Firefox and its advocates have some tough job on their hands.
BY A CORRESPONDENT