Yahoo! Pledges Full Firefox Compatibility

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Yahoo! Pledges Full Firefox CompatibilityYahoo! has confirmed plans to allow Firefox users to access all of the portal giant's products and services, many of which are currently only available through Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. A Yahoo! representative said the company will not launch any new products or services in the future without ensuring that they work on both IE and Firefox.

Yahoo! Pledges Full Firefox Compatibility

Yahoo! has confirmed plans to allow Firefox users to access all of the portal giant's products and services, many of which are currently only available through Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.

In February, Yahoo! launched a search toolbar for Firefox, but users of the open-source browser were forced to revert back to IE to access some of Yahoo!'s well known features. For example, Yahoo! Messenger users still could not use Firefox to customize their online avatar and have to revert back to IE. However, a Yahoo! representative late last month said the company will not launch any new products or services in the future without ensuring that they work on both IE and Firefox.

Why is Firefox Integration Important

This makes complete sense in my mind as Firefox now holds approximately 5% of the browser market. That's a small share, but the arrival of the browser has dropped IE's dominant market share below 90% (Opera, Netscape and other browsers making up the rest). Firefox has received most of its attention as being an alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer and due to this explosive popularity, Firefox will now be added to Yahoo!'s suite of browsers to test their products against... meaning that all current and new products that Yahoo! develops will be tested with Firefox prior to release.

More than 2.6 million Internet users visited the Firefox website in March to obtain more information about the open-source software... and perhaps download it. That's up from 1.6 million in February and 2.2 million in January. So what is it that keeps the Firefox flame ablaze? Well as I have mentioned before, users are jumping ship to take advantage of what seems to be 3 simple features; features that as of today Microsoft has failed to address.

1. Firefox gives Web surfers a simple tool that blocks unsolicited windows.

2. Firefox is less susceptible to virus attacks.

3. Firefox offers a unique means of navigating multiple sites within a single browser.

As Firefox's popularity and overall public usage continues to grow, both website designers and search engine marketing specialists will need to ensure that they remain in tune with the Internet audience, even if it means developing "search engine friendly" websites with the Firefox browser in mind. I, for one have already added Firefox optimization techniques and usability strategies into my daily routines and would suggest that you do as well. It won't be much longer before Firefox has taken a greater portion of this Microsoft dominated industry and its always better to be prepared for situations such as this.

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