The pseudo-release of Windows XP Service Pack 3
, because Microsoft's game of now you see it, now you don't, cannot be called otherwise, has managed to produce some rather interesting side-effects. In this
context, one of the collateral victims of the introduction of XP SP3 RTM Build 5512 is not Windows Vista, not even Windows Vista SP1, but Firefox. The open source browser produced by Mozilla has been hit hard by Internet Explorer 6, with its market share dropping after the Redmond company released the third and final service pack for Windows XP to manufacturing, according to statistics made public by Net Applications.
RTM'd on April 21, 2008, Windows XP SP3 was initially leaked and is widely available for download from various third-party sources. Additionally, the Redmond company's own Windows Update servers containing the service pack are serving it to end users through direct download links. In the equation between XP SP3, Vista RTM and Vista SP1, it is not one of Microsoft's own products caught in the middle, but Firefox. And the culprit is none other than the ancient and obsolete IE6.
This because XP SP3 comes with Internet Explorer 6, Microsoft having chosen not to automatically upgrade XP SP2 end users to Internet Explorer 7
. At the end of March 2008, IE7 owned a market share of 45.65%, with IE6 having dropped all the way to 28.94%, and with Firefox climbed up to 17.83%. But between March and April, it all went downhill for Firefox.
Mozilla's Firefox browser has lost over 1% of its audience in just a single month. As a result, Firefox
is now at just 16.96%, while the combined market share of all IE editions is up from 74.80% to 76.02%. This in the context in which IE7 only insignificantly grew its market share to 45.80%, as XP SP3 Final was doing all the heavy lifting claiming back the territory and users IE6 lost, taking the browser to 29.99%. It is clear that a large number of XP SP2 users have upgraded to the still unofficial versions of XP SP3, somehow scrapping Firefox in the process. Especially if the upgrade was made via slipstream versions of XP SP3 RTM.