Friday, 11 March 2005

Putting things in perspective

Mozilla and all their fans, and FOSS people in general, are fond of saying that Firefox has had over 25 million downloads. Sounds like a lot, right?

I was on the Skype site earlier today. We use it at work in preference to calling mobile phones. (I was on the site because users were having trouble logging in – some kind of authentication server failure.) Skype are currently reporting 84 million downloads, and one million users using SkypeOut, the Skype-to-PSTN service.

Is Firefox really all that popular, then?


Anonymous said...

I think that's taking a rather naive view of the software market.

Skype aren't trying to compete with an incumbent product that's installed on every system in the world, whereas Firefox are. Your company didn't choose skype as a better alternative, they chose it because it's (fairly) unique.

Firefox is bundled with most Linux distros nowadays as well, so the 25 million figure actually reflects the large number of Windows platform users who've chosen the product. In contrast, Skype isn't currently bundled with many distros so its download figure reflects users of all platforms.

To put it another way: when Microsoft eventually get around to bundling VoIP software with the Windows platform, Skype as a product will be blown away. Who bothers to buy defragmenting software nowadays, eh? In that light, 25 million ain't so bad.

Anonymous said...

Plus there are users that download from other sites, install from cover CD's, borrow copy from friends, install on multiple machines (like on a LAN). Downloads are only a rough guess.