Challenge to Explorer
But that hasnt stopped people from taking a close look at the Mozilla Foundations browsers, including the Firefox 1.0 that it released this month. Mozilla has managed to knock a few chips off of Explorers granite pedestal by increasing its market share more than five points, from 2.1 percent in May to 7.4 percent by the end of October.Of course, the once-popular Netscape Navigator browser is still in use, but it hardly makes a ripple in the market. It is rarely seen, like a shy, nocturnal mammal whose extinction has been long predicted, but not yet proven. Whether the erosion of Microsofts market share will continue into 2005 remains to be seen and depends on whether the next version of Explorer will have compelling enhancements that will reverse the slow downward trend that started this year. But the biggest continuing story of 2004 was, without question, Oracles unremitting effort to buy PeopleSoft. The battle has cost both companies millions of dollars that would have otherwise been spent on research and development or marketing of their software products. It also cost former PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway his job, when the companys board of directors determined that Conway made deceptive comments to Wall Street analysts that the Oracle takeover bid wouldnt be a sales deterrent. PeopleSoft founder Dave Duffield returned to lead the company through its buyout battle with Oracle. Early in 2004 it looked like PeopleSoft might get a reprieve from the U.S. Department of Justice that ruled the proposed buyout would violate Federal antitrust law. However, Oracle sued to overturn that ruling. After a two-month trial in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that there was sufficient competition in the U.S. enterprise software market to prevent the merger from violating antitrust law. Next Page: Court wrangles destined to continue.
Coming up a valiant third in the market is Norways Opera Software ASA browser, which runs on all the key platforms: Windows, Linux, Macintosh and Unix. The company is rapidly upgrading Opera to take advantage of the attention it is getting from computer users far beyond the shores of Scandinavia.