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Internet Explorer vs. Firefox
The Browser Wars Continue

Microsoft Internet Explorer has been the target of many new computer viruses that do not affect Firefox. In the first six months of 2003 there were approximately 1,000 viruses aimed at the browser software. In the same period of 2004, that number is up to over 5,000. Microsoft’s woes do not end here. There is an open source browser that is free and almost virus free that has been taking some of the Internet browser limelight. The company making the browser is called Mozilla. From June to September in 2004, Mozilla has captured 5.3% of the market while Microsoft has lost almost the same amount. In June a report from the government’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team warned Web surfers to stop using Internet Explorer due to its vulnerability to malicious viruses and spyware. This news spurred people to download the all new Firefox 1.0 browser software by Mozilla that was recently released. Microsoft is not in danger to lose their top spot in the browser world, but things are changing. Unless consumers notice a huge difference in Microsoft’s vulnerability to viruses, Firefox could take a great portion of the market away from Microsoft.

According to the SWOT analysis, Microsoft is facing many factors that could harm its stronghold on the Internet browser market. They have a multiple new threats that could hurt their future success. First, they have a new competitor. Mozilla has been around for awhile, but never before have they released an open source browser to the public. Secondly, almost every new virus is targeted at Microsoft’s software vulnerabilities. This threat can be considered an opportunity to Mozilla. As computer virus writers get more intelligent and release more harmful viruses, consumers get smarter and find software that is not susceptible to downloading bugs and spyware without their involvement. Consumers still have a choice, which is why Mozilla has found that open source software is a strength to their firm. With the browser being open source, virus writers seem to pass up the chance to try to ruin it.

It is the same that goes for Microsoft Windows versus open source operating systems like Linux or FreeBSD. The majority of viruses are intentionally aimed at Microsoft and very few ever affect the open source software. This is a weakness of Microsoft. They have spent so much time in research and development to release products that nobody will be ever to see how it works, because the code is not open. Meanwhile virus writers are constantly searching for ways to take advantage of its vulnerabilities. It is a game of challenge in which the real losers are consumers. These opportunities and strengths of Mozilla are threats and weaknesses of Microsoft. Only time will tell what sort of strategies the two companies will deploy to give themselves a more favorable situation.


Hamm, Steve. Web World: Chipping Away At Microsoft. Business Week, October 4, 2004. pg.14
Chipping Away At Microsoft

Internet Explorer


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