Battle of the Internet browsers

A screen displays the logo of the web browser Firefox.

Adriene Hill: Google today accused the Chinese government of blocking access to Gmail. The company and country have been feuding since 2010 when Google said it wouldn't censor search results. And there are other tech-battles brewing. The developers of the internet browser Firefox are releasing a new version of the software tomorrow. They're determined to seize control of turf that the king of the hill, Microsoft, has already surrendered.

Here's our senior business correspondent Bob Moon:


Bob Moon: When Microsoft launched its spiffy new version of Internet Explorer last week, the company issued a statement saying IE 9 is intended to be run on a "modern operating system." Essentially, the message to Windows XP holdouts is: "Get with the program and upgrade to Windows 7, already."

Mike Beltzer: It's probably good for Microsoft to say that, considering they're in the business of selling operating systems.

Mike Beltzer is product director for Mozilla Firefox. He says Microsoft's decade-old Windows XP still powers the biggest share of web traffic. So the new and faster version of Firefox being launched this week works with XP.

Beltzer: There's so much great new web technology out there, improvements in speed, security and capability, that we just couldn't imagine leaving 50 percent of our users behind.

Beltzer worries web designers will be slow to adopt new features if only a small share of their users can benefit. So he says Firefox will support XP as long as it stays popular.

Microsoft argues that Internet Explorer 8 is good enough for XP holdouts. The actual quote is that its older browser is still "safe, fast and reliable."

I'm Bob Moon for Marketplace.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

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