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Microsoft Internet Explorer’s ironic case of having a sizeable installed base and yet being considered an underdog changed with the release of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), which caused quite a scare in the Firefox and Chrome camps with a staggering 2.35 million downloads within the first 24 hours of its release. Much of IE9’s success is attributed to the adoption of new features like HTML5 and hardware graphics acceleration support. However, Mozilla reaffirmed its might by raking in 4.7 million Firefox 4 downloads in the same time frame according to Mozilla Glow website that keeps logs of the download.

This is far lower than the first day downloads of the previous version of Firefox, which clocked in 8 million within 24 hours; albeit that event was highly promoted by Mozilla. Firefox 4 also packs in the same features introduced by IE9, and additionally faster page loading, optimised JavaScript support, improved security and privacy options, and incorporation of new standards like WebM video and WebGL 3D graphics. Firefox ups the ante with 3D acceleration support that’s even compatible with Windows XP.

Over the years, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser has seen a steady decline in user base thanks to a clunky interface, constant glitches, poor security, and an abject lack of features. It had become a browser that no one touched with a ten foot pole, let their technically inclined peers term them n00bs. However, that changed with Internet Explorer 9, which ushered in new technologies like in-built graphics acceleration support, HTML5, CSS 3 mated to a much improved UI, better security, host of new features and better performance and stability was well.

Mozilla is counting upon the latest iteration to increase its user base, which is already pegged at 400 million. However, the browser giant had to contend with Chrome, a relative newcomer, spoiling its party by beating it in the global browser usage pie-chart. Chrome now finds home with 10 percent of Internet devices worldwide. Question is, will Firefox 4 help Mozilla regain its spot from Google’s Chrome? Only time will tell.

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