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3/30/2005
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Firefox Thrives Among Bloggers

Increasingly, users of blogs and tech-oriented sites are using Firefox. They're embracing Firefox at a far faster pace than Internet users more broadly.

While Firefox's global share of the Internet browser market remains in the single digits, according to widely cited Web-site statistics firms, the upstart browser is doing considerably better in the blog community.

On Feb. 28, Web-analytics company OneStat.com reported that Firefox's global usage stood at 8.45% while Internet Explorer commanded 87.28% of the browser market. Ten days earlier, WebSideStory.com, another Web-analytics company, puts Firefox's figures at 5.69% and Internet Explorer's at 89.85%.

A spokesman for WebSideStory.com said Firefox usage was still on the rise but at a slower rate than seen in recent months.

Meanwhile, blogs tell a different story, which can be read as a sign of things to come or an aberration among the partisan minority.

At Boing Boing, among the most popular blogs, the most recent statistics for the month of March indicate that 35.9% of visitors are using Firefox, compared with 34.5% using Internet Explorer.

Between Jan. 1 though March 9, Phil Windley's Technometria blog reports that Firefox accounted for 28% of browsers tracked, compared with 58% for Internet Explorer.

Kottke.org, another popular blog, reported on Feb. 27 that 41% of visitors sported Mozilla-based browsers (one of which is Firefox), while 31% of visitors arrived with Internet Explorer. Comments posted by other bloggers, many of which include the browser breakdowns, suggest that computer-savvy bloggers tend to favor Firefox. Evidently, the sites they frequent reflect this.

Technically oriented sites show a similar, if less pronounced, trend. On Wednesday at InformationWeek, 22% of visitors arrived armed with Firefox, compared with 69% toting Internet Explorer.

At W3Schools.com, a Web-development resource site, the figures are similar, with 21.5% of users choosing Firefox in March, compared with almost 67.9% opting for Internet Explorer. Given Firefox usage figures of 20.4% in February and 19.3% in January, and Internet Explorer's drop from 69.7% in January, it appears that Firefox continues to gain users at the expense of Internet Explorer.

A few days ago, PC news site Ars Technica reported that Firefox had become the No. 1 browser among its readers with 40% market share. Internet Explorer, which stood at 38% last September, has dropped to 30% today.

All such statistics are subject to interpretation. But overall, the numbers suggest that Microsoft needs some truly compelling features in Internet Explorer 7.0 to win users back. If the choices of the blog community foretell or influence the tastes of those with less technical sophistication, then Microsoft has reason to worry.

A Microsoft spokesman does not report on which browsers are used to access MSN or Microsoft.

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