Firefox Nears One Billion Downloads

Firefox, the popular open source browser, is set to have been downloaded more than one billion times over the next hour according to the browser's official marketing website, Spreadfirefox.com.

The counter is currently stuck at 999,935,615. The billionth download will be reached at around 1630 UK Time and there's even an automated Firefox counter on Twitter @firefoxcounter. Firefox will also launch a new website called "one billion plus you" on Monday.

Microsoft Internet Explorer still dominates the browser market with approximately 60 percent worldwide down from around 90 percent from two years ago while Firefox holds 31 percent of the market.

This portion is much higher in Europe than in America. The rest is shared between Chrome, Safari, Opera and a handful of lesser known browsers.

The first version of Firefox was released back in November 2004, is the open source version of Netscape and version 3.5, which was released at the end of June 2009, has already been downloaded around five million times in the first 24 hours.

Version 3.0 established a world record last year when people downloaded Firefox more than eight million times. Mozilla has not said whether the download figure actually includes numbers from nightly builds, mobile Firefox and other unofficial sources.

But we do know that the figure represents the sum of all Firefox versions downloaded over the past five years - which means that the actual number of users is much lower - as well as those any other manual downloads.

A few days ago, Mozilla developers showed off draft screenshots of the next version of the browser, Firefox 4.0 and the number of Firefox downloads is roughly growing at the rate of 1320 per minute (that's around 80,000 an hour).

Our Comments

Firefox is expected to grab even more market share in Europe because of the decision by Microsoft to open up Windows 7 and allow other browsers to be bundled, by default, on Microsoft's new operating system. Microsoft never said when the billionth Internet Explorer browser was downloaded.

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