Firefox has certainly been a success story both for open source software, but also for the web at large. But, despite its rising user numbers, it still has some catching up to do to reach Internet Explorer's adoption worldwide. In Germany, though, it's a different story and a new study by local consulting firm Fittkau and Maass shows that Firefox is now the most popular browser in the country, surpassing IE's market share if only by a small margin.
All versions of the open-source web browser now add up to a 45.6-percent market share just over IE's 44.4 percent. Firefox has seen a steady rise in the country since it was launched a little over five years ago, while Microsoft's browsers saw a sharp decline over the same period. What's even more interesting is that all of the other 'popular' browsers, Opera, Chrome, Safari, etc., combined manage to get just 9.5 percent of the market, showing just how different things are in Germany in this respect.
Things get even more clear-cut when comparing individual versions of the browser. Firefox 3 (including 3.5) leads by a very wide margin, reaching 44.2 percent of the Internet users in Germany, almost as much as all IE versions put together. Firefox 2 users and the few that are bound to still be using Firefox 1 add up to just 1.4 percent. Firefox 3 is followed by Internet Explorer 8, which gets 25.5 percent of the market, and then by IE 7, with 11.8 percent, and IE 6, with 7.2 percent.
It's unclear how exactly the consulting firm has reached these numbers and browser-market statistics have been known to vary, sometimes significantly depending on who's doing the counting and how. Still, it's clear that Germany has a rather unique distribution as, globally, Firefox hovers at around 25 percent well below IE's share.