Software // Operating Systems
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7/1/2010
09:10 PM
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IBM Makes Firefox Default Browser

Employees not using the browser will be "strongly encouraged" to use Firefox on Linux, Mac and Windows laptops and desktops.

IBM says Mozilla Firefox will be the default Web browser for all of its 400,000 employees, giving the open-source software a vote of confidence as an enterprise-ready application.

Bob Sutor, VP of open source technology and standards at IBM, said Thursday in his blog that Firefox would be used across employees' Linux, Mac and Windows laptops and desktops. While other browsers, such as Opera and Google Chrome, are cross-platform, Firefox is the "gold standard for what an open, secure, and standards-compliant browser should be," the executive said.

As one would expect, Mozilla welcomed IBM's decision. "We are pleased to hear about Firefox becoming an option for even more people and appreciate IBM's longstanding support for open standards," the open-source group said in a statement e-mailed to InformationWeek.

In elevating Firefox to default status, IBM employees not using the browser will be "strongly encouraged" to use it, Sutor said. In addition, all new computers will have the browser preinstalled, and vendors selling IBM browser-based software will be expected to support Firefox.

IBM believes Firefox will be particularly useful as the company increases its use of cloud computing. "For the shift to the cloud to be successful, open standards must be used in the infrastructure, in the applications, and in the way people exchange data," Sutor said.

IBM has contributed to the building of Firefox for many years, so its support is not surprising. However, its declaration that Firefox is "enterprise ready" may help the browser's recent dip in usage among Web surfers.

In its latest monthly report on browser usage on the Web, NetApplications found that the market share of Firefox and Microsoft's Internet Explorer slipped in May, while Google's Chrome continued to climb. IE and Firefox, however, remain the number one and number two browser, respectively, with Chrome in third place, followed by Apple Safari, according to NetApplications.

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