Firefox 4 Trounces Internet Explorer 9 In Day 1 Download Race

Mozilla's newest Web browser saw approximately 7 million downloads in its first 24 hours, soundly beating the 2.35 million downloads earned by Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 at launch last week.

The highly anticipated Firefox 4 officially launched Tuesday after a considerably long wait (nearly three years since Firefox 3.0 debuted) and growing concerns over increased competition in the browser market with Google Chrome. But Firefox 4 surpassed 1 million downloads in a matter of hours, and according to a Firefox download counter Mozilla's Web site, the new browser reached around 7 million downloads after 24 hours.

While Firefox is popular, a big contributor to the browser's win may be its compatibility with a wider range of operating systems, including Windows XP. Microsoft's IE9 can only be downloaded by Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, leaving many XP users out in the cold.

However, Firefox 4 can not only be downloaded for Windows XP but also Mac OS X and Linux, giving it a sizeable advantage. The browser also has a number of new features such as enhanced page loading speed and Web app performance, permanent tabs for sites and Web apps, an Add-ons Manager for easier customization, and improved security and privacy tools.

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"Firefox 4 is the fastest Firefox yet. With dramatic speed and performance advancements across the board, Firefox is between two and six times faster than previous releases," Mozilla wrote in a press statement. "Major enhancements to the JavaScript engine make everything from startup time to page load speed to graphics and JavaScript performance screaming fast in Firefox."

At press time, Firefox 4 downloads had surpassed 9.3 million downloads. Mozilla also stated that Firefox 4 would be available "soon" for Android and Maemo devices.

For further reading, check out CRN's Test Center review of a beta version of Firefox 4.