Chinese water torture continues for Microsoft

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Janco Associates‘ latest report on the state of the browser market makes interesting reading. The company’s press release is rather blunt: Microsoft Flops and Loses Another 7% of its Browser Market Share in 12 Months...

What Janco doesn’t show in the press release is the detail (that’s only available in the full report). One table, in particular, is illuminating. In April this year, Janco had Internet Explorer at 65.40%. Now, five months later the company says that market share has dropped to 58.50%. If that decline is sustained it’s entirely possible that Microsoft will drop below 50% in January or February next year.

Also in this report is Janco’s assessment of the Windows Vista failure. The press release headline continues: … Vista Still only used by less than 15% of all users. The full report features another interesting table, one that charts Vista market share against other versions of Windows as well as Microsoft’s total share of the desktop OS market since launch. It shows that not only is Microsoft having trouble converting existing customers but it is also losing some of those customers to the competition: in the time it has taken to get that 15% market share, Microsoft’s overall desktop OS share has dropped by more than 4% – from 96.32% to 92.20%.

And, the data don’t take into account the unwanted licences said to be boosting Vista numbers. This analysis also can’t calculte the possible lack of confidence that will be caused by Vista’s security having been shown to even more useless. If I could afford to be a Microsoft shareholder I’d be thinking about selling round about now.

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Firefox 3 rocks

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I’ve been using Firefox 3 right through the beta programme – in fact ever since it was included in Ubuntu with the release of Heron. I love it so I’m not surprised that more than 8 million copies of it were downloaded in a 24-hour period last week. And now there’s an excellent review of the new browser from the Financial Times (of London). Fortunately for those of us outside the immediate catchment area, Duncan McLeod has posted it on his blog here.

Do your bit for Firefox

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Tectonic is reporting that the Mozilla Foundation, through its Spread Firefox campaign, is trying to set a new world record for the number of downloads in a single day. The plan is to make the attempt the day Firefox 3 is released – some time in June. That’s all well and good in parts of the world where decent bandwidth is available at reasonable prices but here in deepest, darkest Africa… <sigh>

Firefox tanks in the US; grows elsewhere, apparently

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This just in from Janco Associates: Firefox has lost 4% market share since January. You can find an excerpt from the white paper here or pay $249 for the full report here. Janco has claimed that this is global market share but I have my doubts because Firefox market share in Europe and on most of the rest fo the planet appears to be continuing to increase.

Indeed, XiTi Monitor reported at the end of April that Firefox was on the closing in on the 30% mark. ars technica has an excellent analysis of the XiTi research here. In related news it seems that IE users are dumber than folk who choose to use a Mozilla browser like Firefox. I wonder if that’s an indication of who going to be the next US president?

Firefox cracks 20% US market share

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Research just released by US-based Janco Associates shows that Firefox is continuing to take browser market share away from Microsoft and now has almost 20% of the market. Janco has claimed in the past (in an interview with yours truly) that figure represents a global market share but other research houses, on other continents see it differently.

Indeed, a year ago the European research house, Xiti Monitor, measured Firefox use at 25% across Europe – some territories exceeded 40%. Unfortunately, there isn’t definitive local research on the subject but reports from blogger friends who track these things seem to indicate that SA is closer to Europe than the US. Hallelujah.

French police take last step to freedom

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El Reg is reporting that the gendarmerie is now ditching Windows XP in favour of Ubuntu, having already switched browsers to Firefox, and dumping MS Office for OpenOffice. Apparently, 70 000 desktop PCs are involved in the migration. Smart.

That’s a similar process to that followed locally by the CSIR – as I reported last year in CIO Africa, which sadly is a print only publication – and also almost exactly what I did almost four years ago: switched email to Thunderbird, browser to Firefox, office suite to OpenOffice and, finally, operating system to Linux. The result: stability the likes of which I hadn’t experienced since the advent of Windows. And it seems others have stumbled upon this migration path – if the recent uptake in Firefox use is any guide.

As I can attest, it works, like a charm. Still, the fear factor remains – something that Microsoft exacerbates with all the FUD it spreads around Linux and open source. Luckily, the CSIR’s Open Source Centre is availing its expertise and migration services to South African SMMEs wishing to get off the proprietary software treadmill.

Update: I managed to find an electronic copy of my CSIR story, and posted it here (1.2MB jpeg).

Indepth review of the OLPC

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The Register is running an excellent and detailed review of the OLPC project‘s XO laptop. By necessity it’s very long but if you have any interest in the topic is well worth the read. Reviewer Brian Hurley concludes:

“There’s a lot to like about the XO laptop. It’s tough, it’s great as an eBook reader, it has a big (for its category), high resolution screen. It runs silent and cool, has good battery life, and the clean design of the Sugar interface is easy to use.”

But he does note that several areas need work, among them the web browser and the file system as well as multimedia performance and support. Read the full review here.

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