Firefox has just turned seven years old. Following its initial release in 2004, the browser has altered the browser landscape and acquired substantial market share, but recently has, once again, become the underdog in a cut-throat browser war that is more and more fought between Google and Microsoft.
Firefox was originally part of the Mozilla application suite, but is now considered to be the core product of Mozilla. However, while Firefox is likely to remain the most popular application for some time, Mozilla earlier this year said that it will be looking to expand its reach beyond the plain browser, especially when it will introduce the Boot-to-Gecko OS in Q1 of 2012.
2011 has brought a massive shift for Firefox, not just because the introduction of a significantly different UI in Firefox 4, but especially because of the introduction of a rapid release cycle model that pays tribute to a widely deployed agile development method as well as the replacement of key personalities at Mozilla. Mike Beltzner, director of Firefox left the company shortly after the launch of Firefox 4; vice president Mike Shaver left to take a position at Facebook; and UI lead Alex Faaborg just recently announced his departure without revealing his destination.
In a brief note announcing the birthday of the browser, the organization noted that Firefox 8 is about 32 times faster than Firefox 1. Still, the overall market is changing even faster and Mozilla has had trouble keeping market share. Over the past 12 months, Firefox has lost close to five points of market share and will, most likely, be surpassed by Chrome this month, according to StatCounter's preliminary data. For the first ten days of November, Firefox market share is estimated at 25.56 percent, just ahead of Chrome with 25.30 percent. Compared to the September, Firefox has surrendered more than 0.8 points of share, while Chrome has gained 0.3 points.