To Advocate For or Abandon the 10%

Back in 2002 or 2003, when Internet Explorer reigned at the undisputed leader in browser market share, I was very outspoken over the need to support all browsers – even those with only 5% share or less. I argued about the need to provide a consistent experience for all users, regardless of what browser or version they decide (or as forced) to use. This ideology was all the easier to adopt considering how had market share at the time – I feel as though my strong feelings were just as much about not idly allowing the “evil” corporate browser to swallow even more share by helping make it the de-facto browser on the internet. Fast forward 5+ years and oh, how the tables are turning. A new generation is jumping online and they’re not just blindly clicking the blue ‘e’ on their desktop. Firefox 3 shattered the record for most downloads and, according to some metrics, is passing up 20% global market share and well above 40% in some European countries. The underdog is now the up-and-comer.
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Firefox still climbing the charts

I have to say I’m starting to become surprised. The Firefox phenomenon just doesn’t seem to want to slow down as is apparent with them breaking the 18 million download mark. The upstart browser is now the #1 used browser for my blog and seems to be climbing every week. While it still has some issues with Flash on OS X, all-in-all I’m very satisfied with the 1.0 release and I’m assuming a large majority of the 18 million or so people that downloaded it are as well.

I know I’ve been covering Firefox quite a bit on this blog lately, but I really feel that this could be the beginning of a real interesting situation a year or two down the road. I feel a lot of people still using IE are doing so in the thought that IE7 will take care of all the current problems and they’d rather wait it out than take the time to migrate to a new browser. If this does not happen however, I think there is going to be a huge second movement to Firefox if the open-source browser continues to make improvements on its already solid foundation.

The exposure has been amazing and the hype has pretty much been fulfilled. The next step from Microsoft could really be the defining moment.