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Mozilla web browser soon for cell phones

30 December 2009

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Mozilla is planning to launch its web browser 'Fennec' for mobile phones with touchscreen support and pop-up blockers integrated with tab browsing interface. The global market share on the mobile front will witness another change with its launch next year.

New Delhi: Mozilla, the world’s second-largest Internet browser firm, is all set to
release its Firefox web browser Fennec for mobile phones next year, in order to compete with existing rivals including Opera Mini, Safari, Chrome, Nokia, Netfront and Internet Explorer for mobile. The war for browser market share is set to be shifted to the mobile market, experts say.


Globally, on the mobile front, Opera commands the largest market share—about 26%, followed by Safari (22%), Nokia web browser (19%) and iTouch (10%). Other web browsers which may face competition from Fennec will be Netfront, Android, Blackberry and Sony PSP.

However, on desktops Mozilla’s Firefox browser commands a global market share of about 25%. Internet Explorer, commands a majority share of almost 63% while Safari has a market share of about 5%.

In India, however, Opera is the clear leader on the mobile with a market share of 63%, followed by Nokia at 26%.

The statistics may change next year as Firefox launches Fennec. On the desktop side Firefox has already captured a market share of 30% in India after Microsoft’s Internet explorer which has a market share of 50%.

Indian market is also quick to adopt new technologies. It’s evident from the fact that relatively new Chrome already has a share of about 11% in India, compared to 5%, globally.

Firefox mobile is expected to be available for most open environments like Android, Nokia’s Maemo, Symbian and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. Apple’s Safari for iPhones will however be in safe territory as Fennec may not be available on iPhone.

Fennec is expected to include touchscreen support, pop-up blockers with a tab browsing interface. Mozilla’s Fennec may also be available for desktops based on Windows and Linux, but the prime focus of it will be the mobile phone, for which it will be optimised.

The earlier browser wars were fought from 1995 onwards when Internet Explorer made Netscape vanish from the marketplace by its sheer dominance in operating systems.

The years following 2000 saw erosion of IE’s market share by Google, Opera and Firefox and extinction of Netscape Navigator.

Microsoft has still got the largest market share on desktops. But mobile phones being a generally non monopolistic environment may see more upheaval.

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