Although the Windows Web browser choice screen, which allows European Windows users to choose which Web browser they would like to use, started just a few weeks ago, already Microsoft is losing market share to the competition.
It seems that although Microsoft’s browser is the most recognizable and the majority of the market uses it, the tides are slowly changing. For once, Microsoft’s dominant share of the market might be buckling under the pressure of availability of competing browsers.
As that continues, it might be Mozilla’s Firefox browser that could enjoy the strongest growth as a result of the European Union’s ruling. Mozilla’s browser is the second most popular browser in the world, trailing only Internet Explorer for the crown.
And although its market share is significantly lower than that of Microsoft’s, the European Union is a collection of major countries with hundreds of millions of users. As more and more of those users decide against Internet Explorer in favor of Firefox or another browser, it shouldn’t take too long for Microsoft’s share to come back down to more beatable levels. That’s when Firefox can capitalize.
Let’s take a look at why Microsoft needs to worry about Firefox.
1. It has substantial market share already
If Mozilla had just a little market share like many of its smaller competitors, the chances of the browser beating Internet Explorer would be extremely slim. But that’s not the case. Currently, Mozilla has over 20 percent market share in the space. And that number is growing by the day, now that Microsoft is forced to give European users the option of choosing their desired browser. The more Mozilla gains market share and attracts European users, the more dangerous it will be for Microsoft.
Part of Mozilla’s appeal is its library of extensions. Users can easily find extensions ranging from business integration to social networks that extend the functionality of the browser far beyond its default installation. Extensions can’t be underestimated. If users can find value in their extensions, they won’t leave Firefox. It’s a major advantage to have as Microsoft is losing its own users.
3. It’s open source
Although the average, mainstream user might not care about Mozilla being open source, it really does matter. Open-source software is widely considered superior to closed applications, thanks to the ability for the entire community to work on improving a single piece of software. Closed software, like Internet Explorer, is a different story altogether. Since it’s closed software that only Microsoft can work on, it lacks the benefit of having thousands of eyes working on improving it. The browser is also a major target for hackers.
Speaking of hackers, Mozilla’s Firefox browser is hailed as a relatively secure browser compared with much of the competition in the marketplace. That’s an important distinction. One of the main issues most users have with Internet Explorer is its poor security. The company also waits too long to update software when security issues arise. Mozilla doesn’t suffer from the same issue. By tapping into the vast knowledge of the open-source community, the company usually updates Firefox more proactively. Plus, thanks to a better core design, the browser is just inherently more secure. If security is what users are after, Firefox isn’t a bad choice.
Multiple Factors Working in Firefox’s Favor
5. Speed is important
In recent versions of Firefox, Mozilla has done a much better job of improving the security of its browser. Mozilla was obviously affected by the exceedingly fast Google Chrome browser. In recent iterations of Firefox, the browser is noticeably faster, loading Web pages more efficiently than it has in the past. Of course, users won’t find that out until they download Firefox, but if they find that it’s suitably quick, they will likely stick with it.
6. It’s trusted
Firefox has a fine reputation in the browser world. Unlike Internet Explorer, which suffers from security woes that seem to dominate its spotlight, Firefox is considered a reliable, secure and all-around nice browser. That obviously helps Mozilla attract European users who are wondering if there are other browsers out there that might be better than Internet Explorer. Trust is everything in the online world. And Mozilla currently enjoys a significant amount of it.
7. It’s readily available
Due to the way Microsoft’s browser choice screen is designed, Firefox is readily available to users who want to download the software. When Windows displays the browser options, Firefox is prominently displayed. That only helps Firefox attract users. Thanks to its name recognition and where it’s made available in the software, Mozilla’s browser can readily capitalize on its preferred placement in the browser choice screen.
8. Experts like it
We can’t forget that when it comes to browsers, experts are extremely important to the success or failure of a product. Luckily for Mozilla, Firefox is one of the most well-liked browsers in expert circles. So, when those folks talk to novice users who ask them which browser they should be using, you can bet that they’re mentioning Firefox. When those novice users go back to Windows and pick a browser, they might just remember that conversation and choose Firefox over the others. Part of Firefox’s success can be directly attributed to experts who noticed the value of using it over Internet Explorer. That continues today.
9. People will talk
Firefox’s success won’t be limited to downloads from Microsoft’s browser choices. Although it will continue to add more users through that offering, users are also likely to talk to friends and family about Firefox. If they like it, they will tell others to try out Firefox and get rid of Internet Explorer or another browser they’re using. That kind of person-to-person recommendation is extremely valuable. And it typically contributes heavily to market share increases. It worked when Firefox first launched. Why wouldn’t it still work now?
10. Think mobile
Recently, Mozilla has been making a strong push in the mobile space. The company realizes that more and more users are accessing the Web on their mobile phones and if it wants to be successful going forward, it needs to focus some of its efforts there. If users are happy with Firefox Mobile, they might be more willing to use Firefox on the desktop. In order to achieve that goal, Mozilla needs to find a way to work with mobile vendors and bring its mobile browser to those platforms. Firefox Mobile might not be as important as Firefox on the desktop, but if Mozilla can gain market share in the mobile market, it should help the company all around.
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