March 28, 2011

Firefox 4 Sets Software Download World Record

Between early Wednesday to early Thursday users downloaded 8.75 million copies of the new browser, setting an unofficial record for software downloads on the second day of Firefox 4's launch, Computerworld said on Friday.

The one-day tally broke the record established by Firefox 3.0 in mid-2008 which was downloaded more than 8 million times within 24 hours. At the time, Mozilla ran a "Download Day" campaign that resulted in a certified Guinness World Record which had a Guinness representative on-site to monitor the download tallies.

No on-site official was present for this current record so it will remain unofficial.

The final version of Mozilla's Firefox 4 was launched around 6:30 a.m. PT Tuesday after more than a year of development. Firefox also thrashed Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) on the download count.

Last week's 8.75 million download was almost four times the 2.4 million that Microsoft bragged of the week before as the 24-hour count for IE9 when it launched March 14.

Citing pent-up demand for Firefox because of several months' worth of delays, internet analysts highlight the difference between Firefox and IE9 users.

"The Firefox user base is primarily power user, with a much smaller percentage of corporate users compared with IE9," said Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC. "Most large IE9 corporate users [work in] lock-downed environments, and so upgrading is under IT control and, thus, slower."

Firefox 4 shines also due to it running on Windows XP, the 10-year-old operating system that IE9 has left behind. "Supporting XP will ultimately lead to improving share for Firefox 4 as HTML5 proliferates and users with XP machines want to participate in that," Hilwa said.

Net Applications, a web metrics company, explains that XP currently accounts for more than 61% of all copies of Windows in use. Unlike IE9, Firefox 4 also runs on Mac OS X and Linux.

Hilwa has high hopes for Firefox because of its advantages. "All indications are that Firefox 4 will end up being a blockbuster release for [Mozilla], helping them gain their mojo back at least for some time to come."

Mozilla's real-time scoreboard claimed that over 35 million copies of Firefox 4 had been downloaded since Tuesday.


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