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Dell: No plans for Firefox in Australia

The PC maker's operation Down Under won't soon follow the lead of its British counterpart and ship the Web browser on computers.

Dell's Australian operation has ruled out following the lead of its British counterpart in the near future and shipping the Mozilla Firefox Web browser on computers.

"There are currently no plans to ship Firefox on desktops or notebooks in Dell Asia Pacific at this time," a spokesperson for the PC manufacturer told ZDNet Australia last week.

The spokesperson was responding to a Firefox developer's confirmation of reports that Dell has started including Firefox with its desktop machines in the United Kingdom.

"It's true that Firefox is bundled with Dell in the UK," wrote Firefox co-creator Blake Ross on his blog.

Dell's move is a blow to Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, which until recently has been generally the only option shipped with Windows-based desktop PCs by the major desktop suppliers.

It follows Hewlett-Packard's October confirmation it would start shipping Netscape's Web browser--which is based on Firefox but can also use IE's page rendering engine--on new consumer PCs and notebooks starting early 2006.

Microsoft's IE is by far the most-used Web browser, but smaller players have been pecking at its market share. Firefox has a loyal following, and the recent release of version 1.5 was one of the most hotly anticipated software downloads this year.

Opera Software is also making noise, announcing earlier this year that it will strip the ads out of the free version of its browser.

Renai LeMay of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney. News.com's Joris Evers contributed to this report.