Can Firefox Gain Market Share?

Quentin Boyer
In its ongoing attempt to garner a greater share of the web browser market, the Mozilla Foundation is starting to sound a little like an adult paysite owner fretting over his membership numbers: according to a recent article posted on the Mozilla website, the primary problem the company has faced in increasing its Firefox browser's share of the market has been — yes — "retention."

"In order for Firefox to reach our market share goals, we need to improve our ability to retain users," Mozilla stated in the article. "Currently, approximately 50 percent of the people who download Firefox actually try it and about 50 percent of those people continue to use it actively."

In order to boost its retention, Mozilla has offered up a 12-step plan, which includes ideas ranging from arguably inconsequential alterations like "Change Firefox icon label to closer resemble action of getting to web," to notions that seem so obvious you wonder how they managed to reach this point without already arriving at them, such as "Force the Firefox icon to [download to an] easier-to-find location" like the system tray, desktop and quick launch bar.

Another head-scratcher in the mix of Firefox retention boosters is this concept: "Make common plug-ins work out of the box." Again, if Mozilla is serious about competing in the browser market — and how could they not be — one has to wonder why this idea wasn't adopted somewhere earlier in the equation.

What Firefox likely needs more than anything on its list of retention-boosting moves is a strategic partnership that will put it in the place that it really needs to be in order to compete with Microsoft: bundled in with the operating system that is pre-installed on PCs purchased by consumers ... and getting into that prime PC real estate is going to take a lot more than 12 steps.