Firefox: Flaming Out?

Firefox appears to be losing momentum while still well short of 10% marketshare.

In the last five months, Firefox usage has only gone from a little less than 7% to a little less than 8%, compared to gaining about a percent a month before that.

As one analyst put it:

“It looks like Firefox has hit the push-back point,” said Geoff Johnston, an analyst with WebSideStory. “We always knew there was a finite number of early adopters out there and a finite number of Microsoft haters who would switch to something new, but we didn’t know what that number was. It looks like we’re approaching it.”

The point is not to feel schadenfreude about this, after all, Firefox is my default browser these days.

Rather, this serves as an illustration that we live in a little corner of the computing world, and what we think is not necessarily at all what the rest of the world think or will think.

It’s hard to be a successful Rebel Alliance when most people don’t even know your cause exists, much less care. To overthrow an Empire, any rebellion needs their support, not yours.

In the case of Firefox, IE will never go down the tubes because 50% or 90% or 99.99999% of geeks use something else. It will only go down the tubes when 20% or 30% or 40% of the grandmas and grandpas are using it.

I often deal with the computers of those who are, say, a little or more past the half-century mark. More often than not, it’s not a matter of getting them to use Firefox, I can’t even get them to use IE because they still use the AOL browser. You can eventually talk them into broadband, but give up “You got mail”? Forget about it!

Some are even worse. There’s one person I know, a real author, who will NOT use anything more current than Word 6.0, even with Word 2000 installed on the machine, and she’s still complaining about going to Word from her DOS word processor.

What do you think your chances are with her, Firefox fans?

Granted, she’s an extreme, but for most people, a learning curve is a learning curve, and if it’s not broken, they aren’t going to fix it, especially when they don’t much like the activity to begin with.

I will not pretend the other 92% are quite that resistant to change, but there’s at least as many stuck-in-the-muds as they are Firefox users, and likely several times that many, and more than that who, shall we say, aren’t prone to look for that kind of adventure/trouble.

Yes, enthusiasts are willing to change, but for any mainstream activity, most people are not enthusiasts. If you hang out with enthusiasts all the time, you may think everybody’s like that, but it’s just not so. What’s really happening is that you’re hanging out in a ghetto where everybody’s like that.

You need to get out more.


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