Microsoft’s (not so) secret enemy

So let’s put together a couple of stories in the news and see what comes out.

According to the AP, Google co-founder Sergey Brin finds the Microsoft/Yahoo! deal “unnerving,” because it threatens innovation on the Internet.

“The Internet has evolved from open standards, having a diversity of companies,” Brin told The Associated Press after the event. “And when you start to have companies that control the operating system, control the browsers, they really tie up the top Web sites, and can be used to manipulate stuff in various ways. I think that’s unnerving.”

500 million downloads of FirefoxIt may be unnerving, but here’s the other story.

As of this writing, Firefox had been downloaded 500,309,502 times, a significant milestone by anybody’s measure. If Sergey finds the MicroHoo deal unnerving, Microsoft must surely find this likewise scary.

Over at Market Share, where they keep track of such statistics, Firefox is spreading rapidly in global reach. Just two years ago, Firefox had an 11% market share. Today, that’s 17%. This ought to frighten Redmond and warm the heart of Sergey, because loss of browser control has major business ramifications for Microsoft.

Firefox grows market share rapidly

The postmodern open source movement is the real enemy of modernist technological monopolies, and it’s representative of much of what’s happening in our culture today. I haven’t regularly used Internet Explorer for a couple of years, and I’m completely sold on Firefox. If you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to give it a whirl.

It’ll make Sergey feel better.

(Thanks to Michael Arrington for the Firefox tip.)


  1. The other interesting piece is that Opera — which has driven a LOT of the browser innovation — has gained virtually NO share in that time.

    My guess is that Opera didn’t ditch the ad-supported model until after Firefox took off — and it was too late to play catchup.

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