Firefox usage by country: the browser wars are back

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Posted at 17:34 on 09 December 2006

According to French company XiTiMonitor, Mozilla Firefox now has a 23.2% market share in Europe. (The report is in French: it’s not appeared in English on their website yet, but no doubt will do shortly.) They have published a couple of interesting maps giving breakdown of usage by country within Europe as well as for other parts of the world.

It seems that it’s taken off the most in Europe and Australasia, where its market share is 23.4%. The USA and Canada are lagging behind on 14.5%, and Latin America comes bottom on 11.1%. Even so, it’s quite clear now that it’s posing a fairly significant challenge to the dominance of Internet Explorer. It has a whopping 40.5% market share in Slovenia, and 15.8% here in the UK.

These figures would indicate that it’s gaining a pretty firm foothold among non-geeks and Microsoft’s dominance of the browser market is no longer something to be taken for granted. Interestingly, Firefox usage goes up at the weekends, suggesting that people are installing it on their home computers though they may be restricted from doing so at work, where they don’t have administrative rights on their Windows machines and can’t install software, condemning them to Internet Explorer.

I use Firefox almost exclusively at home myself, in combination with Google Reader for my RSS feeds. Even though IE7 has been released, and it gains RSS support, tabbed browsing and anti-phishing features, there’s little that it does that the Firefox 2.0/Google Reader combination doesn’t do better. Firefox 2.0 also has a spelling checker for form fields, which Internet Explorer doesn’t. Sweet.

Some of the best Ajax websites out there actually say that they’re best viewed with Firefox, though they usually work fine with Internet Explorer too. There are still a few websites that don’t work properly on Firefox and recommend Internet Explorer, but they tend to be fairly poor quality both technically and graphically. This is no doubt down to the fact that the best developers tend to be geeks who use Linux and view Microsoft with suspicion, if not as the evil empire, and the best designers all use Apple Macs.