Couple of years ago the browser world looked simple: There is internet explorer and that’s it. Of cause, there were opera, safari for MAC, and mozilla, but they were for marginal users: geeks, Linux or Mac users and security aware folk. IE had more that 90 % of the market and that ment every home page had to look good in IE, following w3 standards was not necessary. This was pushed by installing internet explorer into each Windows machine, making it integrated part of virtually each home computer. It looked nearly impossible change the situation.
Some things had changed now. It is hard to estimate exactly, but firefox has around 20-30% of internet browser market. Some pages report that around 50% of visitors are firefox users.
Firstly, internet is much riskier place today. The security is an issue, and almost all threats are targeted towards main-stream software developed by Microsoft : Internet Explorer, Outlook, or lastly, WMF plugin exploit, which compromises all windows machines regardless the browser used through image viewing dll. (More about the last threat one can read here). One is better off with other browsers than internet explorers the most of the cases, although none of the browsers will be 100% safe. Firefox is much safer due to the fact that it is not the market leader and the vulnerabilities (after they are found) are fixed very fast.
Another issue is the capabilities. Mouse gestures, tabbed browsing, ease to extend is one. Most of Firefox toolbars are free vs. paid ones available for Explorer. These tools include some useful SEO tools like Google and Alexa pluggins, web developer tools that are comparable with paid tools only. Microsoft had to release their new version of Internet Explorer as they wanted to regain at least some of the market lost.
There are additional benefits for me as both windows and Linux user – portability. I like to work with tools independent from environment, without having to reduce capabilities of them. Thus the Firefox is a natural choice for me.
Google added a lot for firefox popularity too. They offer custom starting page for firefox users, and they have a initiative for people advertising firefox.
Is firefox right for you? Well, you can always try it.