Reasons to Celebrate Firefox’s Birthday

Today is the 5 year mark of Firefox’s existence. But what is the big deal? Why celebrate the birth of an Internet browser? Because Firefox has opened a whole new world for Internet browsers.

The Beginning

Before the launch of Firefox, Internet Explorer (IE) pretty much ruled the Internet browser world. It had surpassed Netscape and was the main browser choice for Internet users. But users were not satisfied. IE was not the most innovative or secure web browser. But it was all there was until Mozilla developers decided to provide people with secure, fast and extensible Internet browser. The result was Firefox which was launched in 2004

“with belief that, as the most significant social and technological development of our time, the Internet is a public resource that must remain open and accessible to all.” said Melissa Shapiro in a blog.

In the 4 days following the launch, approximately 1 million people took a chance on the new browser and downloaded it. Those 1 million people and many more were not disappointed. Firefox lived up to its promise. It was faster, more secure, extensible and it set a new standard for web browsers. That new standard set the stage for the development of many new browsers.

Today

Firefox has gained popularity that continues to grow. It reached 1 billion downloads this year, has more than 330 million users and has about one quarter of Internet users worldwide! Mozilla couldn’t be prouder of their development, but there is still work to be done. IE is still used by about 60% of Internet users, but according to ars technica, Firefox is converting IE users. But why has Firefox become so popular that people are ditching IE?

Firefox’s Accomplishments

Since IE has been around forever it would seem the likely browser choice and would have loyal users. But people are finding that IE is a little flat and not so secure and that Firefox has more to offer. People have realized that Firefox:

  • Provided Internet users with a fast, extensible, secure browser option
  • Can be customized with its more than 7,000 add-ons
  • Encouraged Microsoft to step up IE’s security and development
  • Encouraged browser development and innovation that paved the way for other browser applications like: Safari, Chrome and Opera

 The Future

Firefox has already done great things for Internet browsers and its users, how could it do more? What can be done to make Firefox better than it is? The developers at Mozilla are determined to continue the development of Firefox and improving people’s Internet experience. Christopher Blizzard of Mozilla said,

“we’ll continue to make competitive browser releases and improve people’s experiences on the web. We’ll continue to innovate on behalf of developers and bring those improvements to the standards space. And we’ll continue to grow our amazing global community of users, developers and activists.”

With plans like that, it seems likely that Firefox will continue to grow in popularity and may continue to siphon users from IE. It also seems likely that with continued development Safari, Chrome and Opera will give Firefox and IE a run for their money.

Author: Dave Nielsen

I started using computers in 1978 on the Apple II and was first online (using my “high-speed” 1200 baud modem) in 1989. I’ve managed web sites for several Fortune 500 companies and for internet start-ups. Working for one of those start-ups is what brought me into the world of credit. I was part of the the executive team that ran QSpace, the first company to offer credit reports over the internet.

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