While some indications show that Firefox has begun falling behind in the browser wars, it seems to be receiving increasing acceptance in corporate environments. Its recent nod of approval from IBM, the bluest of the blue, bodes well for Firefox's future.
June was not a great month for Mozilla's Firefox browser. Some recently released statistics from Net Applications, a company that gathers statistics and trends on web browsers, showed that Firefox usage dropped from 24.3 percent to 23.8 percent during the month of June. Meanwhile, its main nemesis, Internet Explorer, saw a jump in usage during the same time period of 59.8 to 60.3 percent. Other browsers such as Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera brought up the rear.
Despite the mini slump, Firefox just received an ego bump from IBM, as the major corporation announced that it had selected Firefox as the browser of choice for its employees. When you consider that IBM has over 400,000 employees across the globe, this announcement should definitely help boost Firefox's usage statistics. Considering how heated browser wars and competition has become, the timing could not be more perfect. Although Mozilla claims that Firefox has approximately 400 million users of its browser, it still lags far behind Internet Explorer in terms of numbers.
The decision was leaked to the public via a blog post last Thursday by Bob Sutor, IBM Software Group's Vice President of Open Source and Linux. Although the announcement does not necessarily mean that IBM will force all of its employees to use Firefox as their default browser, it will at least expose them to it. Many of the company's employees have already used Firefox in the past across Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. IBM plans to simply add to that number of users with the dedicated conversion to Mozilla's side.
To implement the conversion, IBM plans to first encourage all of its employees to use Firefox as their default browser, and all new computers will have the browser installed. Employees will be educated on the browser and what it has to offer. IBM will also require that its vendors make all of their browser-based software Firefox-friendly.
As to why Firefox was chosen, Sutor cited various reasons in his blog post. He touted its open-source qualities as beneficial, as it is supported by a community of developers interested in its improvement, rather than a single commercial being such as Microsoft. Firefox's highly secure nature and the fact that it is constantly being improved and maintained internationally was another plus mentioned. He noted that the browser is friendly to open standards and can be customized easily to fit the corporation's specific needs. This was also mentioned as a huge positive for IBM's eventual shift into cloud computing. Finally, Firefox's innovation and how it caused other browsers to improve their features and performance was just another factor that helped in making the decision.
Sutor's point about Firefox's innovation carries a lot of truth. It seemed as if Internet Explorer was the only option in the past for many when it came to browsing the web. With Firefox, many had a choice to partake in a new browsing experience. Firefox offered added security and other features that earned it some loyal fans. In turn, this caused other browsers to rethink their features in an effort to get a piece of the browsing pie, and it turned up the heat on existing browsers to improve their technology. In the end, this has benefited and will continue to benefit consumers, as competition breeds excellence.
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