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Firefox 3 Release Planned For Tuesday

Users of the Web browser will try to set a Guinness Book record for the most downloads in a single day.

Mozilla on Wednesday said that Firefox 3 will be released next week, on Tuesday, June 17.

Earlier in the week, Mozilla said that one million Firefox fans around the globe have pledged to download Firefox 3 on the day the software is released. The campaign represents an attempt to secure a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most downloads in a single day.

Mozilla may have some competition, however. June 17 is also the day that Electronics Arts plans to release a free demo of its Spore Creature Creator. Spore Creature Creator is a component of Spore, a computer game that's widely expected to sell millions of copies when released in September.

To celebrate "Download Day," Mozilla has invited those who appreciate Firefox to attend a barbecue and Nintendo Wii tournament at its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Such marketing and evangelism might be dismissed were it not for Firefox's continuing market share growth. At present, Firefox users account for about 15% to 18% of Web visits globally, according to a variety of Web metrics organizations. At some sites, like Web design resource W3Schools, Firefox is favored by 39% of visitors.

Firefox's gain has come at Microsoft's expense. In 2004, Microsoft Internet Explorer accounted for about 95% of Web site visits. Today, it accounts for about 76% to 83% of Web site visits globally.

In a blog post, Mozilla VP of engineering Mike Schroepfer said that, as of last week, there were already two million daily users of Firefox 3.

On Wednesday, Mozilla released Firefox 3 Release Candidate 3, which is changed only for Mac OS X users. Firefox 3 also runs under Windows and Linux.

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