Tue, July 20, 2004

Browser Wars II: Take back the Web

Are the browser wars back? With Microsoft Internet Explorer commanding an estimated 95% share of the browsers used on the web, many proclaimed the Browser War over. A recent article in the Guardian suggests that the past month’s one percent dip in Internet Explorer’s market share may mean the browser wars are back:

The tiniest shift, history shows us, can signal the greatest change. News last weekend that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) web browser had lost a single percentage point of market share might not sound all that significant today, but it could well mean the browser wars are back on. One percent is all it takes…

This week, we find that Microsoft’s share has, for the first time, dropped. Ever so slightly, from 95.73% to 94.73%. “It’s the first time we’ve seen a sustained trend downward for them,” says Geoff Johnston, an analyst with WebSideStory, which produced these results. “We have a trend. It’s been about a month, and every day we have a steady incremental change.”

For years now I’ve been telling you about Mozilla and Mozilla Firefox, two terrific and completely free web browsers from the Mozilla Foundation. It’s good to see that the world is finally catching on that we don’t need to put up with the pop-ups and security holes of IE.

Even more exciting to me are the extensions available for these browsers. Here are two that I’ve found useful:

SpellBound
Lets you spell check web forms, such as text areas and input fields. This has been desired by Mozilla users for years. (See bug 16409 and bug 23421.) With this extension, the wait is over.
Document Outliner
A shiny new extension that uses the headings in properly marked up web pages to show a document outline in the sidebar. It’s clickable much like the outline in Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word. I’ll write about this more as I play with it. In the meantime, all you web developers should join the conversation about HTML heading markup considerations [noticed on Mezzoblue.]

Firefox just keeps getting better and better. Have you switched yet?

Microsoft pays Lindows $20 Million

Microsoft and Lindows have settled their trademark dispute. According to the settlement, and a change that was already in progress due to international lawsuits, Lindows will transition to the name Linspire and cease using the Lindows trademark. Microsoft will pay Lindows $20 million.

Linspire sells “a full-featured operating system … that offers you the power, stability and cost-savings of Linux with the ease of a windows environment,” according to their website. The more companies that are working to enhance the usability of the Linux desktop the better in my book. I’m wishing the best to Linspire with their new name. I hope it does well.