Firefox 3.5 hits 5 million downloads

San Jose (CA) – Mozilla crossed the 5 million download mark of Firefox 3.5 at about 12:30 am EDT.

Mozilla reached the milestone a little over 24 hours after launch. According to the posted download tracker, about one quarter of all download requests are coming from the United States, about 12% from Germany and about 7% from Japan.

The download pace of Firefox 3.5 trails version 3.0, which was launched in June of 2008 with the support of a massive marketing campaign that resulted in about 7.7 million software downloads within 24 hours. Mozilla seems to be about on par with Apple’s Safari 4.0, which reportedly was downloaded more than 11 million times during its first three days of availability.

According to Net Applications, Firefox 3.5 market share jumped from 0.40% to 0.80%. Mozilla has a very effective upgrade mechanism in place, which helped the organization to move more than 90% of Firefox 2.0 users to version 3.0 within nine months. We would expect a similar scenario with 3.5. Overall Firefox market share currently hovers around 22%, according to Net Applications.

Internet Explorer 8 is also gaining traction. Since Microsoft is updating Windows computers through its automated Windows Update system, IE8 share has jumped to above 15% on weekends and above 13% during the week. Apple’s Safari 4.0 currently holds a share of about 3.8% on weekdays and about 4.7% on weekends.

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Firefox 3.5 is fast, but still behind Chrome and Safari