Nokia Denies Migration to Firefox

Reports that Nokia has replaced 55,000 desktops running Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web browser in favor of Mozilla’s Firefox at its Swedish operations are bogus, according to the company.

Nokia spokesperson Chantal Boeckman told LinuxInsider that “the IDG reporter got the information wrong. We have contacted the reporter to correct the situation.”

This is good news for Microsoft, which finally appears to be taking notice of Firefox’s wildfire-like success. Microsoft said last week it was considering updating its browser. Analysts said if the IDG report, which appeared on a computer news Web site in Sweden among other places, had been true, it may have been too late for Microsoft to stop the corporate rush toward its newest nemesis.

Firefox Connection

While the mobile device maker denies reports appearing in the press today, it is true that Nokia has been eyeing Firefox for some time. The company funded Minimo, a cell phone browser project at Mozilla, in 2004, but executives declined to discuss the details of its investment.

Despite the letdown for the Mozilla Foundation, there is still cause for celebration for the organization behind the Firefox browser: Mozilla announced last week that Firefox has been downloaded more than 25 million times.

“Firefox is being rapidly adopted by the mainstream, with this audience embracing Firefox as a more user-friendly Web browsing solution,” said Mozilla Foundation President Mitchell Baker.

Turning Tide?

Jason Dowdell, who operates MarketingShift, a blog focused on media research and technology, told LinuxInsider that the corporate ladder is the last hurdle for widespread Firefox adoption.

“Corporations are usually the last adopters of any technology because it has to be proven or it results in employee downtime,” Dowdell said. “Whenever there’s downtime, that’s costing them money. So corporate adoption is more significant than the consumer market downloading it on their desktops.”

Taking Over Europe

Firefox is already the second most popular Web browser in Europe, with 5.51 percent of the market share at the end of November 2004, according to German Web advertising firm Adtech AG.

With the recent European Union court order forcing Microsoft to remove Internet Explorer from its Windows bundle in the 25-nation block, analysts said more corporations could soon be making the switch.

“Users are going to have to make a conscious decision of browser selection,” Dowdell said. “When faced with a decision, they do research, which means they turn to determine which one they are going to download. What they’ll find is that downloading Firefox is much easier because every site that talks about Firefox seems to promote its adoption. You won’t find the same is true for Internet Explorer.”

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