Safari just got served. At this year’s Pwn2Own conference, security firms and enthusiasts are doing their very best to discover and deploy exploits to some of the world’s most popular browsers. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari, they’re all on the menu for conference attendees and some have definitely faired better than others. Google issued a challenge, promising $20,000 to any person or team that could crack Chrome on the conferences opening day, but the two teams scheduled to take a swing backed down. Firefox is, for the time being, still standing, and, per usual, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was taken down without much fuss. But which browser faired the worst? That would be Apple’s Safari. A French security research firm named Vulpen managed to break into Safari running on a MacBook Air in a cool five seconds. The company noted that the Safari update issued by Apple yesterday — version 5.0.4 — fixes some of the vulnerabilities, but not all. The takedown of Safari 5.0.3 used exploits that are still available in the updated code base. Go ahead Apple detractors, have a little fun in the comments section. More →
Last month, we reported on the demise of cross-browser, bookmark-syncing service Xmarks. This month, we are happy to inform you that is looks like Xmarks will live on. According to a recent blog post by the company, an outpouring of support from users has drastically changed the company’s plans. As Xmarks explains:
The past ten days have been an amazing lesson in the power of community. Not in the “web 2.0 social graph” sense – I’m talking about old school community with users speaking up, speaking out and banding together. Thank you Xmarks users. You told the world it was simply unacceptable for our service to shut down and it worked. Thanks to your passion, Xmarks now has multiple offers from companies ready and willing to take over the service and keep making browser sync better and better!
The company does note that no deal has been finalized, but they are confident with multiple offers on the table Xmarks will be able to stay open for business. At time of publishing, over 35,000 users had pledged to pay between $10 and $20 per year for the service. Hit the read link to read the full post. More →
Having long reigned as the king of the browser world, Internet Explorer continued its downward slide in April as its market share fell to a ten-year low. Market share for the Windows-based browser dropped 0.7 percent in April. to 59.95%. Despite its unhealthy losses, Internet Explorer still remains the dominant browser with double the market share of its closes competitor, Firerfox, which made a modest gain of 0.07% to finish the month at 24.59%. While IE stumbled, Chrome was on the upswing, grabbing 0.6 more percentage points to capture an overall market share of 6.73%. Apple’s Safari made a 0.07% gain at the expense of Opera which lost 0.07%. Next month’s figures should prove to be interesting as they may reveal whether the precipitous drop is the result of the EU’s mandatory browser ballot, now in full swing, or merely a bad month for Microsoft.
[via Ars Technica] More →
Browser market share data for January 2010 has hit the streets, and it looks like Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari have gained a little — and we do mean a little — ground. Chrome posted a 5.2% hold of market share in January, up from 4.6% in December of 2009. Apple’s Safari came in with a 4.51% share, up from 4.46% the previous month. Firefox and Internet Explorer both lost a tiny bit of ground in January; IE 62.2% which is down from 62.69%, Firefox 24.41% down from 24.62%. Opera was lumped into “other” on our chart, but registered 2.38% of the browser pie. Per usual, IE and FF still dominate the browser landscape with over 86% of market share. Anyone out there switch browsers recently? If so, which browser did you move to?
[Via ZDNet] More →
Google’s Chrome browser has only been on the market for 16 months, but it has already taken a good share of the market and beat out Safari for the number three spot. Safari, for the first time ever, is now ranked fourth. By the end of December, Chrome was up at 4.63% market share whereas Safari fell to about 4.46%. Of course, the big boost likely came from the fact that Chrome Beta became officially available for Mac and Linux. Top dogs are still Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer, with IE8 still at the top but failing to see any real growth. So tell us, what browser are you currently using and why (speed, extensions, apps, etc)? More →
The EU, and various other stakeholders, *cough* Mozilla and Opera *cough*, filed suit against Microsoft in 2007, alleging that the act of only having Internet Explorer installed on the Windows operating system by default was an anti-competitive business move that violated EU antitrust laws. The suit proved effective, as European regulators and Microsoft executives have reached an agreement on how to move forward without the “help” of the courts. Microsoft has consented to a five year contract that requires all copies of Windows in the EU to present the end-user with a “Choice-Screen” that presents an option of 12-browsers to have install. Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, AOL, and Flock all made the short list along with a few lesser known browsers. Microsoft, which has already paid around $1.7 billion in EU fines due to the IE debacle, will face additional penalties if they decide not to honor the five year deal. Microsoft estimates that 100 million current Windows users will be presented with the pop-up while another 30 million will see it as a result of new hardware or software purchases. The “Choice Screen” will be presented to users running Windows 7, Vista, or XP, and will begin showing up next year. More →
Microsoft announced on Thursday that it will sell a European version of Windows 7 sans Internet Explorer. The decision to ship these specialized “E” versions of Windows 7 arises from a January decision by the European Commission that determined the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows violated European competition law. The new E versions will be available in 23 different languages and are projected to launch at the same time as regular versions of Windows 7. One side benefit of this “un-bundling” is that computer manufacturers will be able to install their browser of choice on Windows 7 systems. Mozilla, Opera, Google; get to courting… Hooray for fair business practice, umm, if that’s what this is.
While Google’s Chrome Web browser is still extremely young in terms of development, there are a few areas where it most definitely pushed browser technology forward. One such area is tabbed browsing. As you likely already know, Chrome (and now Internet Explorer 8 as well) treats each open tab as a separate running process. This setup drastically reduces the potential for a browser crash — theoretically, issues with a website open in one tab will not affect other tabs or general browser operation — as well as speeding up performance and going great lengths to improve browser security. As for when we might see the new tab process implementation in a Firefox release, incremental milestones are scheduled throughout 2009 but we likely won’t see full implementation until next year. Mozilla’s post covering process splitting does mention some elements that are currently undecided, such as “taking Chromium’s networking stack to replace Necko” might help speed the release process up a bit, but we don’t mind waiting as long as it’s done right.
[Via The Next Web]
Microsoft announced the availability of Internet Explorer 8 today and the preliminary reactions around the net have been pretty good. While betas and RC versions have been floating around for quite a while, the final version of IE8 will be available for your download at Noon EST. With its promised security enhancements, color-coded tabbed browsing and the incorporation of add-on accelerators, IE8 may be worth a try for those who have not already sampled the beta or RC1 versions. Let’s hope Microsoft’s servers can stand up to the demand this time.
Ask, and ask, and ask….and ye shall receive. Mozilla has finally unleashed a functional “Milestone Release” version of its Fennec mobile Firefox browser. Available immediately for anyone with an HTC Touch Pro. The release version is limited in several ways, most notably without support for soft keyboards, automatic version updating, and plugins, but everything else should work more or less as promised. This is exciting news for anyone that has been eagerly anticipating Mozilla’s official move into the mobile space, and hopefully marks the beginning of significant product development for something that will hopefully do to Pocket Internet Explorer/Opera Mini what the desktop version of Firefox has done to its Internet Explorer equivalent, i.e. render it obsolete. Anyone interested in taking the release for a test drive should hit the Read link for access to the CAB file, though we definitely recommend making a complete backup of your handset before proceeding too eagerly.
Read (Warning: CAB file)
According to data from market research firm Net Applications, Microsoft’s web browser market share has dropped below 70 percent in the month of November. Yes, 70 percent is still an overwhelming majority but considering Internet Explorer is said to have peaked with close to 95 percent of the market, this new data represents yet another area where the scales are continuing to level out. Is the era of the Redmond behemoth finally coming to an end? Not any time soon of course, but Microsoft is indeed having its fortress walls slowly chipped away in nearly every major area of its business. Windows OS market share, Microsoft’s bread and butter, is at a 15-year low and MSN / Microsoft Live Search usage is hovering between 5 and 8 percent of the market, depending on whose numbers you look at. Internet Explorer represents yet another area where Redmond is faltering and Microsoft is showing no signs of movement that might slow the burn. Conversely, Mozilla’s Firefox jumped above 20 percent in November – the first time it has maintained a share over 20 percent for a full month since Net Applications began tracking relevant data.
[Via Silicon Alley Insider]