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IBM names Firefox its default browser

All of Big Blue's employees will be asked to use Mozilla's open-source browser. IBM likes its standards compliance and independence.

Firefox has become the default browser for nearly 400,000 IBM employees, a big coup for the open-source project during a time of increasing browser competition.

"All IBM employees will be asked to use it as their default browser," Bob Sutor, vice president of open source and Linux at IBM's Software Group, said in a blog post Thursday. "Firefox is enterprise-ready, and we're ready to adopt it for our enterprise."

Mozilla has said in recent weeks it believes nearly 400 million people use its software.

In particular, IBM will load Firefox on new computers, train employees in its use, encourage vendors working with IBM to adopt it, and rely on the browser for its increasing use of cloud computing in its own IT infrastructure, he said.

"Today we already have thousands of employees using it on Linux, Mac, and Windows laptops and desktops, but we're going to be adding thousands more users to the rolls," Sutor said.

Sutor lavished praise on the browser's role in recent history:

"While other browsers have come and gone, Firefox is now the gold standard for what an open, secure, and standards-compliant browser should be," he said. "I think it was Firefox and its growth that reinvigorated the browser market as well as the web. That is, Firefox forced competitors to respond. Their software has gotten better and we have all benefited."

Like Firefox, both Opera and Google's Chrome browser also span Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, but Sutor said IBM is interested in Firefox's independence. "Firefox is open source, and its development schedule is managed by a development community not beholden to one commercial entity," he said.

The support from IBM might help nudge Firefox's recently wavering share of browser usage in a more optimistic direction.