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Firefox passes 400 million downloads

Mozilla shares a new statistic for those of you who pay attention to the Web browser race. But when's the new Firefox beta due?

Firefox just passed the 400 million download mark, according to the Spread Firefox site for promoting the open-source, extendable Web browser.

That number shouldn't be confused with actual installations, Mozilla's public relations folks rightly caution. (I'm sure I've downloaded it at least a dozen times this year, and I'm only using copies on three computers at present. On the flip side, there are any number of other ways to get Firefox, including Linux installations.) Nevertheless, 400 million is an achievement worth noting, given that just a few years ago it looked like Microsoft had the market locked up with Internet Explorer.

However, not everything is going swimmingly in Firefox land. Mozilla had hoped to release a Firefox 3 "Gran Paradiso" beta in July. Instead, Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, now says it's due "this fall."