[news=http://img317.imageshack.us/img317/9608/untitled35hf.gif]Firefox is by no means the dominant web browser. Its market share managed to creep up to 7.86% or 8.3% in September, depending on whether you ask WebSideStory or NetApplications. Despite the relatively small market share compared to Microsoft's dominating 88.46% lead, Firefox has presented the first real challenge to Explorer since the great browser wars of the 90's.
One of Firefox's greater successes was surpassing its 100 millionth download in September. Spurred by strong pop-up blocking and the much beloved tabbed browsing, Firefox has found a solid niche in the online community.
Firefox was gaining a percentage point per month gain from November 2004 to April 2005. The perception was this browser was significantly more secure than its Microsoft counterpart. However, the revelation of numerous security holes has many questioning this notion.
With subsequent pop-up blocking upgrades to Explorer and an army of programmers plugging security holes, many have begun to ponder the need to switch to Firefox. This has resulted in just a 1 percent market share gain for Firefox since April.
Yet Firefox is more of a community web browser than Explorer - “the people’s” browser some say. As an open source client, Firefox maintains a grassroots following much in the way of eMule or DirectConnect. This has helped spur scores of convenient plug-ins that add flair to this web browser. Extremely popular features such as the handy search box and Bug-Me-Not provide an experience that is not easily duplicated by Explorer.
And of course, tabbed browsing has been one of the hallmarks of this browser. Expected to arrive in the next version of Explorer, this feature allows the individual to browse a virtually unlimited amount of web pages while only opening one window. The latest version of Firefox expands on this idea by introducing "drop and drag" tabbed browsing. Basically, if the user has several tabs open, he or she can rearrange the tabs to any order desired. This is a significant and very helpful upgrade to the Firefox browser.
Another improvement, which actually ranks number one on the change log, is the automated upgrade feature. This is a significant security feature, as it will prominently notify the user when an upgrade is available. Like Microsoft's Explorer, patches will be regularly issued without having to redownload the entire browser. In addition, since many plug-ins have not yet upgraded, it disables them until an upgrade is available.
With the lines between Firefox and Explorer becoming more blurred, especially with the upcoming arrival of Explorer 7.0, Firefox's gain in the market may continue to slow. Depending on how well Microsoft improves Explorer, it may erase any talk Firefox's climb to power completely.