Speakeasy to Bundle FireFox

Gretchen Gallen
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Taking Firefox one step closer to mainstream acceptance, independent broadband provider Speakeasy announced that it will bundle a customized version of the Mozilla Foundation's open source browser in its installation software for subscribers.

In a move that marks the first time Firefox has been included in an ISP service, Speakeasy's new self-install kits will be called the "Mozilla Firefox: Speakeasy Edition."

Speakeasy's endorsement of Firefox comes at a critical time in the browser wars with Internet Explorer and could prove that earlier predictions of Firefox challenging Microsoft's browser market share are not far from realty.

"We're thrilled to be the first broadband service provider to adopt Firefox," said Speakeasy Chairman and Founder Mike Apgar. "We plan to continually enhance the browser with features that will benefit Speakeasy's home, business and gaming subscribers."

Apgar added that when users install Speakeasy's DSL software, both Firefox and Internet Explorer will be downloaded onto their desktops, and in the coming year, additional business and utility features will be added, including Voice over Internet Protocol.

The version of Firefox being offered via Speakeasy is the same version that can be downloaded for free from the company's website and includes typical Firefox features such as tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking.

Recent statistics issued by WebSideStory claim that since Firefox's official launch of version 1.0, the open source browser has been downloaded by 4.78 percent of the browser market, while IE usage declined 0.7 per cent to 92.7 per cent.

Mozilla launched Firefox version 1.0 in November after more than 8 million users downloaded its beta version.

"This is a great opportunity to promote browser choice and innovation with a new audience and it is in keeping with Speakeasy's commitment to provide broadband subscribers a better Internet experience," said Mitchell Baker, president of the Mozilla Foundation.

In other Firefox news, rumors continue to abound that Google is poised to enter the browser market, based on the recent migration of Firefox's lead engineer Ben Goodger and Mozilla developer Darin Fisher to the Google team. Speculation abounds that Google's foray into the browser market will use the Firefox open source platform as a Google-branded browser.

However, Google representatives continue to refute that any such project is underway.