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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Happy First Birthday, Firefox

Popular open-source browser hit the open market a year ago today. Firefox is celebrating with a slew of data proclaiming its maturation in the world of Web browsing.

When Firefox was introduced to the masses, Mozilla Foundation President Mitchell Baker called it a major milestone. He declared that millions of people would "be able to enjoy a better Web experience."

Baker's prophesy was at least partially true. Firefox 1.0 was downloaded more than 10 million times in its first month and more than 100 million times in the first year -- in more than 20 languages. In just a few weeks, Firefox 1.5 will try to bring at least 100 million more users to the Mozilla camp.
The Firefox Hype

By December 2004, Mozilla was in full hype mode with the Mozilla Foundation publishing a two-page advocacy ad in the New York Times to raise awareness and promote adoption.

The ad asked, "Are you fed up with your Web browser?" Two months later, the number of downloads climbed from 11 million to 25 million.

"Microsoft restarting Internet Web Hosting and Web Design services from the original domain name registrar, Network Solutions. Explorer development says a lot about Firefox," Jupiter Research Analyst Joe Wilcox told LinuxInsider. "Microsoft might have started doing that anyway because Windows Vista development was cranking up, but I do think there was some relationship between the events."

Analysts said Web site operators also took notice, understanding that they could not limit development to suit Internet Explorer as they had done in the past. Then there's the buzz around Web 2.0.

"Web 2.0 and the idea that services and software Get your FREE Oracle Database Software Kit today! will be delivered through the browser over the Internet rather than just from the desktop is emerging," Wilcox said. "Whether it was intentional or not, Firefox is definitely part of that whole phenomenon."

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