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Don't Cede Search Market to Microsoft Yet

But that analogy doesn't hold water. The Google faithful are far more loyal than Netscape users were. And Google is a commercial juggernaut in its own right, with close to $2 billion in cash and fast-growing profits to fund technical innovations and marketing support. Netscape never had the financial clout to outmaneuver Microsoft.

What's more, Netscape was never fully wiped out. Firefox--an update of the Netscape browser developed by the volunteer programmers of the Mozilla Foundation--has taken 5 to 6 percentage points of IE's dominant market share since a preview version was released several months ago. The foundation, which released the 1.0 version of the browser last month, is projecting a 10 percent market share by year's end. Clearly, even Microsoft's marketing might isn't enough to silence good technology.