Mozilla Engineer Calls IE9 Launch Miserable & Starts Abusing When Asked For Stats
By on March 29th, 2011

If there’s something that ticks me off the most, it is the marketing/PR of a company fudging statistics to suit their needs. Both Microsoft and Mozilla announced new versions of the browsers this month and number of downloads in the first 24 hours were used to showcase how awesome the browsers are.

Microsoft did a blog post claiming 2.35 Million downloads for IE9 and Mozilla announced 7.1 Million downloads. Woah! That’s a huge difference! I mean really that’s almost 3 times but. Yes, there’s a capital BUT here. IE9 is only for Windows Vista and Windows 7 whereas Firefox is available for all desktop operating systems. This little piece of information has been conveniently skipped by all. Why IE9 is not available on Windows XP is Microsoft’s decision, they’ve talked about that and I shall not get into that since it has nothing to do with the download numbers.

Today Romit Mehta asked Asa Dotzler if he could share OS specific numbers for the downloads since that would give a clearer picture as to who wonif the first 24 hour download numbers were the scale. The discussion had several analogies exchanged but Asa did not talk numbers, much like a PR professional he danced around but not being one he lost his cool and shit hit the roof. Here are some quotes:

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Since I follow @Rawmeet and these statistics have been something of an issue for me since everyone started talking about them, I jumped into the discussion and here’s how that went:

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Getting a PR response meant I had to take a dig at Mozilla:

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I just got complimented by Asa for my persistence (and my blunt truth):

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With that done, I decided to look at numbers. They weren’t going to come from Asa or Mozilla so the next best public source, Statscounter and here’s what I found:

The 28 days of March 2011

  • Windows Vista 13.74%
  • Windows 7 30.63%
  • Total download base for IE9 = 44.47% (2.35 Million Times)
  • Compared to the 100% marketshare Firefox had, they managed 7.1 Million downloads.
  • This is 55.53% more and they got 3 times the downloads.

Windows XP has 47.22% of the marketshare which means if IE9 were available on Windows XP the download numbers would’ve well been close. Or in other words, Firefox 4 didn’t exactly do a hell lot better than IE9 despite the 3x downloads.

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So much for the BS Mozilla and you might want to get your engineers some anger management therapy. Maybe the congratulatory cake Microsoft sent Mozilla wasn’t his  favourite  flavour.

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Author: Manan Kakkar Google Profile for Manan Kakkar
Manan is a technology enthusiast keenly following the consumer products from Microsoft, Google & Apple.

Manan Kakkar has written and can be contacted at manan@techie-buzz.com.
  • PCdozer

    You certainly throw a lot of IFs in there. Unfortunately, IF means could have, may have, might have and regardless of what could have been, the numbers are still numbers. You can’t say for sure XP users would have downloaded it or at least, how many, no one can. There are a fair amount of people who don’t know they can use other browsers, that they have to use what comes with Windows, we can IF them in as well. Let’s tally this…

    IF+IF+IF+IF= (oops, still IF)

    Is it Mozilla’s fault the browser simply WORKS? Even with older operating systems? I think that’s a plus. I mean, MS is forcing users to upgrade in order to use a newer browser, even if it’s looked at as bad, good, whatever, it’s still their decision and they made it. So while you are angry at the numbers, perhaps MS is looking to get people to use Windows 7 a bit more? Maybe there is thought behind this? Maybe MS would save a bundle of money packaging Windows with Firefox instead and drop IE altogether?

    I have noticed every time Firefox gets anywhere near or ahead of IE, I see hundreds of rants all over the internet on how it’s unfair and IE has some loophole preventing it from being #1, not the fact the browser has been a huge security risk in the past and is still trying to become something everyone wants to use, I suppose that has nothing to do with it, it’s all lies due to downloads.

    Another scenario: When the statistics were looked at on how many people use each browser, IE has always been high up in the running, why? Because people were forced to use it. You couldn’t get updates unless you used IE, along with other applications and I don’t believe that’s changed and yet, it was never said, IF people didn’t have to use it for updates, IF it wasn’t integrated, IF you didn’t need it for MS apps to access the internet. Check why people still get temp files through IE when not used. This use is still considered use, regardless of WHY. So was it anywhere near fair to say how close IE is used as compared to Firefox? No.

    I do wonder when people get their updates, if the IE download will be counted in that way.

    That said, IE has made leaps and bounds compared to what it was and perhaps it’s not done, I can’t say. I do like Firefox but I don’t favor it enough to say I hate IE either. One day, I may like IE better, I go with whichever I am comfortable with at the time.

    I strongly feel it was inconsiderate to jump into someone else’s discussion as you did and then use it here in a rant. You obviously feel you are right to no end, angry, whatever, which is fine but after all, these are just browsers.

    I have been an RSS reader for some time of Techie Buzz and your articles here or otherwise but seeing an author react as childish as this, I am unsubscibing. Sorry but things of this nature diminish any professionalism of an article or site that was there. You could gotten your point accross in a much more civil manner than what you did, it was more like an attack on someone than an article and I will no longer participate here.

    • http://beingmanan.com Manan

      I am sorry if you don’t want people to join in in your conversations, you shouldn’t be having them on a public platform. And by calling someone childish isn’t a defacto for being considered an adult. IE9 was not offered as a compulsory download via Windows Update on the day of launch, unlike as someone pointed out Fx 4 automatically updates.

      • http://milky.manishsinha.net Manish Sinha

        The point is that if MS thinks it’s good that XP is no longer supported, it doesn’t give them any plus point. All other browsers work on XP SP2/SP3.

      • PCdozer

        I have used Firefox for some time . I get updates of that version automatically but I had to download 4.0, it was never auto updated when a new version number comes out, not for me anyway.

        Joining in a conversation is one thing, using it for your own purposes in a blog is another matter. Where is the complete conversation? You plucked out what you wanted, I would like to see the whole thing.

        • http://www.beingmanan.com Manan Kakkar

          I’ve posted my conversation as is. You can see the conversation between @rawmeet and Asa here: https://twitter.com/#!/asadotzler (click on tweets to see entire history) I plucked out what was relevant. Wasn’t a vindictive hunt for tweets.

          • PCdozer

            Well you definitely didn’t pluck but with that, you didn’t seem to want to discuss the argument so much as looking like you jumped in just to do so “not saying it was your intent, just how it came across is all”, however, being called a troll was quite a bit overboard in that regard as you didn’t act as a troll in any way I saw. I wouldn’t call it abuse though, an ill mannered reply or rude comment yes but not abuse.

            And once again, I see those who are taking IE’s side saying Firefox updates the complete new version automatically, which again, after using it for years, I have yet to see. I have always had to manually download it or get a notification asking me if I want to get the new version.

            That said, I do have to agree though, IE dropped users. No matter what analogy is used, the numbers that are current are fact, regardless of IF or WHY so I can’t see what difference it truly makes unless people are simply defending a browser which still won’t change the outcome. Personally, I like Firefox but didn’t care or know prior until reading this as to what the download status was. I use it because I like it. If people downloaded only 100 copies of it, I would still use it and not care if IE had millions of users. If I wanted to support the browser I use, then I would simply use it, not argue about statistics or downloads. If I like IE9 better, I will use it, still not caring about the download statistics.

            My whole point prior was that fact that statistics are skewed on both ends or anything we use. I thought there was more to this whole scenario at first, some major issue but I see now, it’s just an argument over what could have been.

    • Stu

      I agree with most of the body of your post. However, you make some of the same, “if” type statements. For example: Microsoft doesn’t force anyone to use IE or Windows for that matter. To justify why IE is high on the list with your assumptions are just as ridiculous as what you attempted to counter in the original post. People have a choice of what OS they decide to use, just as much as they have a choice of browsers. For people to see things one way when it comes to bhe browser choice, but than ignore the OS choice is once again, just as much an, “if” statement. Let me put it the same way you put it with Mozilla. Is it Microsoft’s fault that they dominate the PC market?

      Also, when has IE needed a loophole to be number 1? The browser is number 1 and it’s the others who have been chasing it.

      Lstly, the organizations who collect usage share stats do it over a wide variety of websites, so it’s very unlikely that people getting updates through IE is any factor in usage share. In fact, I’d be surprised if WU is tracked by any of them in those stats.

      As I mentioned, I do agree with the real points of your post. People always try and turn any numbers/stats/etc. in whatever direction suits their own opinion. At least a big part of the time they do.

      • PCdozer

        For one, I purposely put those IF statements in, that was my whole point but they are not exactly fiction.

        IE is integrated into Windows, for most standard non technical users, they just use what is there and what’s the first thing they click on to get to the internet? IE. There are in fact many users who don’t know they can use something else other than IE. Do you ever see a Windows install giving you options of what browser you want to use?

        When people would click on updates, especially when there was the update loop happening when you had to manually go to the update site for some time, that does in fact get counted as clicks for IE. IE6 was notorious for it’s security flaws and due to viruses driving up the IE usage click counter like mad and no, that wasn’t fair either but regardless, it happens. Any part of Windows that uses IE and only IE to access the internet and especially with user interaction, is counted as use for IE.

        Is this the right of MS? Yes. Is it indirectly forcing people to use IE in some form or another? I think so. I am not sticking up for Firefox in any way, just trying to say, both ends are skewed so the point is moot unless a better way to determine the statistics comes along. Would Firefox have been that far ahead had IE not been dropped from X-amount of users? No way, even being a Firefox user, I could not say it would have been that big of a blow out, if Firefox would have been ahead at all which is once again, a moot point now.

        There are numerous IFs on both ends, it boils down to what you want to use no matter what the numbers show. I honestly don’t care to turn the numbers on IE or Firefox, If IE has improved that much then great, I have two good browsers.

    • Stu

      Oh! One more thing I have to mention, that I believe is important. I agree that the numbers aren’t really that important, but it’s the way that people have tried to spin them that is. Among many of the articles I’ve read on this subject, few mentioned a fair comparison. Either they tried to make it seem like a thumping by Mozilla without mentioning little factors that do play a part. Such as: The fact that IE downloads have been initiated by users, where as Mozilla users were either auto-updated or offered the option to update through the browser itself. Also, it does make a difference that IE9 is only available to Vista/7 users in a comparison of those download numbers. Yes, the numbers are still the numbers, but it should be mentioned if you’re going to compare the 2, because it gives those people a sense of the scope of difference as to why those numbers may seem more skewed in one’s favor. Totals are still totals however and Mozilla choosing to make the browser available to a wider audience is also an important factor to mention and I don’t dispute that in any way. I just feel that it’s fair to at least mention potential reasons for why the download difference. Not in a skewed way to favor one or the other, but in an informational way to put those numbers into perspective.

    • Stu

      Sorry, I keep coming up with points that I feel I should make. Unfortunately, as I come up with them, I find that maybe I don’t agree with the body of your post as much as I thought I did originally. I may agree with the point you tried to make, but the logic you used to make it seems to be failing more and more (in my mind.)

      Let me ask you this: If MSFT has made IE9 available on launch day on WU and the download numbers were, let’s say, 13 million, would you have spoken out when articles tried to justify why those numbers were so high? The same as you did with Firefox numbers in comparison to IE’s. I ask this simply because of how you made assumptions in your post about Microsoft that showed some bias against them. You may well have, but your post would lead me to believe that you may indeed have seen things a little differently. Really, I guess it’s more a question you should ask yourself and answer and not necessarily a question that I need the answer to.

      • http://beingmanan.com Manan

        Stu, my only point is that when everyone talks about download numbers we need to take into account the platform for a valid comparison. Else it’s just PR talk. Asa’s arrogant comments on twitter where he declined divulging these numbers very well means Mozilla doesn’t want people to know them. it’s like MSFT’s reluctance in sharing WP7 sales numbers. I’m calling it as I see it. My point wasn’t “if” IE9 supported XP it would “beat” Fx but more that in fair comparison to IE9, Fx didn’t do as great everyone seems to think.

  • http://milky.manishisnha.net Manish Sinha

    you attended the IE9 session in Microsoft TechEd which happened in Bangalore?

    The Microsoft presenter was comparing IE9 with Chrome 8 when Chrome is at version 10. Is this comparison even valid? Browser wars is getting nastier than ever.

    • http://beingmanan.com Manan

      Definitely not valid but if you see all posts by MSFT on the IE blog they use the newer builds.

      • http://milky.manishsinha.net Manish Sinha

        The majority of the techies in industry don’t read IE blog or any blog. TechEd attendees were financed by companies as individual ticket costs 10K (which no one can give).

        So these techies who don’t read IE blog or any Browser blog were mislead/fooled that IE9 is indeed superior to Chrome

  • Senthil

    Hi – also, one needs to understand that FF does auto update for all existing FF users. The 7.1M download number Mozilla quotes is mostly auto update. IE doesn’t do auto update, so all of the 2.3M downloads are user initiated

    • http://beingmanan.com Manan

      Interesting point!

    • http://milky.manishsinha.net Manish Sinha

      Did Firefox count the updates also in these stats?

      • http://beingmanan.com Manan

        They won’t say anything! That’s the problem. We know for a fact that MSFT’s numbers are user initiated downloads, for Firefox they won’t say anything!

        • PCdozer

          To state what I wrote above, I never get a complete new Firefox version unless I get a notification asking if I want to download it or I manually go out and download it. The only auto updates I get installed are for the current version I am using.

          I think perhaps the Firefox crew would be smart to stay out of this. It’s really a useless war and likely they won’t waste their time fighting it, it would do nothing but provoke it further and those who want nothing more than to hear IE would have done better, will not stop until it’s said “not everyone of course, but many”.

          Lastly, I say use whatever you like, to hell with statistics.

  • Jide

    This is very flawed thinking. MS decided that Windows XP was no longer going to be a part of its IE9 Market and until they do so it does not count. The browser OS world does not only revolve around Vista+7.

 
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