Firefox passes 50 million threshold

Firefox, the open source browser launched last November, today passed the 50 million download mark. At the same time Blake Ross, Firefox's creator, took a side swipe at rival Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner's offer to swim the Atlantic following its latest browser release.

"We've spent long nights in a tiny conference room here in Mountain View trying to figure out how to celebrate this momentous occasion," said Ross. "Should we lower Mitchell [Baker], our fearless president, into an erupting volcano or send her backpacking through the Alps?"

Despite recent security flaws unearthed in the browser, it continues to grow in popularity. According to statistics released earlier in the week by web analysis company, Firefox and Mozilla suite browsers accounted for 8.69 percent of the world market for web browsers. Opera stood at 1.03 percent.

But Microsoft's Internet Explorer still accounted for 86.63 percent of the total market. Firefox managed to increase its share of the market by 0.24 percent since February, but the rate of increase is beginning to slow. The Research was based on a sample of 2 million visitors divided into 20,000 visitors of 100 countries each day of the preceding week.

"It seems that the rapid growth of the global usage share of Mozilla's Firefox is slowing down at the moment. It looks like that browser users of Internet Explorer for Apple's Mac are switching to Safari because the global usage share is still growing" said Niels Brinkman, co-founder of

The browser has won many plaudits since its launch. In February the Mozilla Foundation picked up the Editor-in-Chief's Award at the SC Awards ceremony held in San Francisco in February. The browser also gained a five-star rating in SC Magazine's review section.

As reported in SC Magazine earlier this month, Firefox became the target of spammers trying to fool people into downloading a virus.

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