While some may debate whether it matters or not which Internet Browser is used by the most people, others will insist it’s not just about browsers, it’s about having the freedom to cruise the web unencumbered by the not so subtle pressures of a giant corporation. Thus, it is with heavy hearts that Firefox fans the world over learn that the number of people using Firefox, is now less than the number that use Google Chome, which is in turn, less than the number of users that use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Computerworld, citing statistics from StatCounter, the premiere Internet statistical analysis site, writes in a recent article that Chrome use surpassed Firefox this past month which now accounts for just 25.2% of all web traffic. Chrome has 25.7 and IE 40.6. Other browsers such as those installed on Apple computers make up the rest.
What’s perhaps even more disturbing to die-hard fans is the fact that Firefox’s numbers have been declining for the better part of a year, while Chrome use has been on a steady incline since its release back in 2008. Some might call it inevitable, while others may point out that IE’s share of users has been slowly falling for several years and is now at an all-time low, which means, if current trends continue, Chrome will likely overtake IE as the dominant web browser in as little as nine months.
Mozilla Firefox is different from the other two leaders because it’s made by a consortium of programmers who see offering the masses a web browser by a group that is not backed by millions of dollars and thus has no other agenda than to provide a good way to cruise the web. The downside to that approach is that Mozilla has had to rely on donations, primarily from large corporations, the largest of which comes from, oddly enough, Google.
In the past, Google has had good reason to support Firefox; to keep Microsoft from dominating completely the means by which users access the Internet. Google benefited greatly from offering that support by usurping much of the technology that was developed for Firefox and putting it into Chrome. But now, many are wondering if Google will cease sending funds to Mozilla, effectively killing Firefox unless another backer can be found.
To counter the anticipated loss of funds from Google, Mozilla has been actively advertising for donations from other big name clients, but has thus far been able to find any that are willing to donate as much as Google has, which doesn’t bode well for Firefox. By this time next year, its user base could well be stranded, using a browser that no longer has a maker.