Firefox update reaches 150 million downloads in 24 hours

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Records smashed as Apple and Mozilla release browser updates.

Mozilla reports that the latest version of its Firefox browser 3.0.11 was downloaded 150 million times during the first 24 hours it was made available.

Mozilla’s impressive announcement on Friday followed closely a press release from Apple recording a much lower number of downloads for its browser Safari.

“I just read that Apple is reporting 11 million Safari 4 downloads in just three days. That’s pretty amazing. I’d like to follow up that report with one of my own,” said Asa Dotzler, Mozilla director of community development, in a blog post before boasting the record number of Firefox downloads.

When calculating, it is likely that both firms were including automatic updates in the download figures. This is when the latest version of a browser is pushed out to users via an update tool.

Firefox 3.0.11 was released on 11 June and is mainly a security and stability update. The update builds on the major Firefox 3 browser launch that occurred in June last year, which had eight million unique downloads the first day it was available, setting the Guinness World Records.

Amongst the new features in the Safari 4 browser, which was released on 8 June, are the ability to view history files in the iTunes 'cover flow' style and improved archiving of browsing history. The update also fills some 51 security flaws.

Headlining the Safari 4.0 release, however, is the new Nitro JavaScript engine. The company said that the new engine significantly improves JavaScript performance and could get even faster when the company releases the 64-bit OS X Snow Leopard update later this year.

Apple said the engine will execute JavaScript nearly eight times faster than Internet Explorer 8 and more than four times faster than Firefox 3.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer continues to dominate the global browser market, followed by Firefox and then Safari.
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