Like Your Browser? Thank Firefox.

Firefox server infrastructure Mozilla

The open-source browser was heralded for its speed and security, two attributes that still serve a browser well. In the press release from Nov. 9, 2004, the Mozilla Foundation listed the browser's features:

Pop-up Blocking: Firefox includes an integrated pop-up blocker that lets users -- not Web sites -- decide when they will view pop-ups. (Windows XP SP2 in August 2004 did offer Pop-up Blocker.)

Online Fraud Protection: Firefox helps users protect themselves against online fraud such as "phishing" (attempts to trick users into giving away their passwords) and "spoofing" (fraudulent sites masquerading as popular, trusted sites) by clearly displaying the true identity of secure sites. (Microsoft debuted the Phishing Filter Add-in, which helps protect customers from potential risks of phishing Web sites and online identity theft, in August 2005.)

Faster, Easier, More Accessible Search: Firefox tightly integrates support for leading search services into the toolbar, including Google search, Yahoo!, eBay, Amazon,, Creative Commons, and more. (Critics of Internet Explorer considered the browser slow and bloated.)

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More Efficient Browsing: Firefox's innovative Tabbed Browsing allows many Web pages to load within the same window, improving the speed and utility of Web browsing. (This was a true innovation on Mozilla's part; Microsoft finally offered tabs in October 2006 with IE7).

Today, Firefox claims approximately 25 percent of overall browser share. Of its 330 million users worldwide, Mozilla says more than 100 million of those picked up Firefox in the past year. The very fact that Microsoft had to contend with it has made Microsoft Explorer a more robust product.

Firefox 3.6 -- despite its beta version arriving roughly two months late -- is reportedly on track for a final release before the holidays.