New Firefox claims victory, but is it a record?

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The numbers are in: 8.3 million copies of Firefox 3 were downloaded on its first day. But is this really a record breaker? Adobe begs to differ.

The folks at Guinness World Records still need to verify the Firefox figure – that could take days – but the browser’s creator, Mozilla, is proudly touting its “new record” for the most downloads in a 24-hour period.

Just to be clear, there is no record to beat. Guinness has never tracked this before. So when Mozilla first approached them, they set the bar at 5 million. With Firefox's download rate reaching 233 copies per second (or 1.5 gigabytes per second) by Tuesday morning, Firefox 3 blew past its goal.

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While Guinness takes the official tally, one blogger is challenging the benchmark. “I’m pretty impressed, I like it, and the downloads thing is good marketing,” writes Ryan Stewart, who works for Adobe. “But to put that in perspective, we get 8 million installs of the Flash Player ... on an average day.”

Last March, Abode executive Kevin Lynch told eWeek.com that, “Right now, Flash Player 9 is being installed at the rate of about 12 million a day.”

Of course, Adobe's numbers have also not been vetted by Guinness, and they by no means take away Firefox’s impressive day. Firefox 2.0 only got 1.6 million downloads its first day – a figure the new version surpassed in just five hours.

What will be more interesting to see now is if this burst of downloads affects Firefox’s standing against Internet Explorer. IE still dominates the field with 74 percent market share. But Firefox is catching up, growing from 14 to 18 percent over the past year. I assume that most people downloading Firefox 3 on Tuesday were simply replacing their older versions, but maybe Mozilla’s big week will let Firefox continue to nip at Microsoft’s heels.

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