Why has Firefox Growth Stalled?

by Preston Gralla

Some disturbing news for Firefox fans -- for the first time ever, the browser's market share dropped, to 8.07 percent in July from 8.71 percent in June. At the same time, IE market share grew by the same amount, to 87.20 percent in July from 86.56 percent last month.



Why the slippage? There are several reasons, I think. There are an increasing number of Firefox vulnerabilities being discovered --- and updating Firefox on your PC can still be kludgy. Add to that the publicity surrounding the upcoming IE 7, which will have Firefox features like tabbed browsing, and there's a clear reason why some people are turning away from Firefox.



This may not be a temporary blip. The release of IE 7 will present a major challenge to Firefox.



If Firefox is to regain momentum and gain more market share, it's going to have to figure out a better way to update software on PC, and it'll also have to come out with compelling new features as well. Tabbed browsing by itself won't cut it any more, once tabs hit IE.



What features do you think Firefox needs added? Let me know, below.


What features does Firefox need to add in order to compete with IE 7?


6 Comments

aristotle
2005-08-17 12:24:02
Re:
"Firefox Market Share Shrinks! The Sky is Falling!"
http://www.webstandards.org/buzz/archive/2005_08.html#a000545
phaxda
2005-08-17 13:33:30
stalled because it's not tied into the OS
10 percent or so is pretty darn good for a piece of software competing against a program installed by default on every windows pc! as long as ie is so heavily tied into the os, it'll have the upper hand no matter how horrid it is.


the same thing applies on the mac, though apple makes it far easier to switch to mozilla products.


i'm just grateful for all the great work people have put into firefox--and i don't think that losing this teeny tiny bit of ground is going to stop them from innovating.

eric.john.miller
2005-08-17 19:24:06
Need dial-up connect/disconnect
The only "problem" I've run into with my users after switching to Firefox is that it doesn't auto-magically disconnect from a dial-up connection when the user closes the browser. The "average Joe" user I support becomes confused when their modem stays connected but they have "closed the Internet" as they describe it.


After a bit of a tutoring they understand what to do but their parting question is usually - "If Firefox is so great why doesn't it do that?"

jwenting
2005-08-17 22:57:52
market saturation
Seems they've reached saturation point. Everyone not using Windows and all the True Believers in the "Microsoft is Evil" cult have now installed the thing.
The rest of us who tried it and gave up (or just want a version for testing purposes) are slipping away, and not enough new users are appearing to compensate.


So FF has now reached a state where the main market is replacements instead of new purchases, and that's not a growth market anymore.

aristotle
2005-08-18 01:19:18
Re:
Safari is actually a good browser, though, and it’s arguable that Firefox doesn’t feel as much like an OS X app on OS X as it feels like a Windows app on Windows. Nevertheless, a lot of Mac users I know use multiple browsers, including Camino, the fully OS X-ified Mozilla cousin of Firefox.
aristotle
2005-08-18 01:23:04
Re:
How about “the last significant update was 10 months ago?”


1.5 is looming. We’ll see what happens.