IE9 to Firefox 4 Comparisons Are Misleading

By | March 31, 2011 | 9 Comments


IE9 to Firefox 4 Comparisons Are MisleadingAccording to Microsoft at least.

The Redmond firm proudly declared that IE9 had managed 2.3 million downloads a day after the browser’s release (14th of March), but is obviously feeling the heat with Firefox’s 4 more spectacular numbers.

Ryan Gavin, senior director of IE marketing, had the following to say:

With Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 4, and Chrome 10 all hitting their final releases recently, drawing instant comparisons around downloads or initial usage is a natural temptation, but unfortunately you can’t do it quite yet.


One of the reasons why the comparison is deemed unfair by Microsoft is to do with how company offers browser updates. So far, only those running release candidate or beta builds of IE9 received the notification via Windows Update. IE8 users will be prompted to upgrade starting in April.

Gavin continued with a slight untruth, namely

In the case of Firefox 4 and Chrome 10 their update mechanisms are turned on as part of their initial release to web (RTW).

What Gavin says does apply to Chrome with its silent updates, but Mozilla has not turned on an upgrade offer for people running Firefox 3.6 as of yet. In order to upgrade to Firefox 4, users have to manually check for an update to see the Firefox 4 offer after making sure that Firefox 3.6 is up to date.

Another argument by Gavin as to why the comparison is unfair is that IE9 is only available on Windows Vista and Windows 7. This contrasts heavily with Firefox which saw releases for Windows XP, OS X, as well as Linux.

Adoption on Windows 7 is what we care about most. Other browsers support other platforms, so if you want to draw comparisons you really need to take account of addressable base. With IE9, you essentially need to multiple by a factor of almost 3x to account for the difference in current addressable base.

Gavin ended his reasoning with the following:

The net of all this is that any comparison of browser share adoption at this point is premature at best, and misleading at worst. In a few months, we’ll be better placed to look at the share of the latest browser versions and get a sense for relative progress and adoption.


About (Author Profile)


Being passionate about software, Armin joined FavBrowser.com in early 2011 and has been actively writing ever since. Having accepted the challenge, he also enjoys watching anime, indulging in good books, staying fit and healthy, and trying new things.

  • Tiago Sá

    The truth is IE9′s market share is 1% after all this time, and Firefox 4′s is 5,7%.

    So, there.

    Shut up microsoft. IE is crap, live with it.

    • Anonymous

      I disagree. IE is pretty good (as in version 9)

      Mozilla does not need to pop up anything for it’s users. Said users already know how to check for a browser update (or they wouldn’t be using FIREFOX IN THE FIRST PLACE)

    • Sarjoor

      I also disagree. I think IE9 is pretty good as well.

      IE is no longer crap. Live with it, Tiago.

      • Canna

        Wannabe-trendy thoughts from a wannabe-trendy mind?

        Or maybe it’s already trendy to think IE9 is trendy?

        Who knows. What I do know is that IE9 is nowhere near as stable as Firefox 4, is nowhere near as modern in terms of standards compliance, is nowhere near as fun to use and customizable, and has nowhere near the number of extensions. AND has nowhere near such a big community of active followers as IE, mostly because, let’s face it, IE followers, the few that exist in the true meaning of the word, can’t really be that active.

        And it comes from a company that, unlike Mozilla, would gladly stagnate the web if they could, just to fit their financial interests.

        Microsoft is evil? I don’t think so. Microsoft is Microsoft. There’s no other word for it. iPhone is Microsoft too, and you don’t hear me saying it’s not a good cellphone.

        iPhone is not a good cellphone.

        Now you hear me say it :)

        • Ryan

          Wait iPhone is Microsoft? =P Nahhh its Apple…

      • Tiago Sá

        Live with it? I use Firefox, thankfully. I don’t have to live with IE.

    • Anonymous

      MSFT just talk and talk without proof/evidence. I want to see MSFT show their Download stat on IE9 stie. like FireFox and Valve Steam show their download stat or online stat. they are more truth than MSFT..

  • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

    Perfect article.

  • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

    Perfect article.