Microsoft has released a plug-in for the rival open-source Firefox browser to allow users to validate their Windows-based systems prior to downloading software updates from the company.
Firefox competes with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. Without the plug-in, many users have been forced to use Internet Explorer on their desktops to download software from Microsoft.
Users had to use Internet Explorer because it had the ActiveX controls required by Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation scheme, which makes sure the Windows software being updated is genuine and not counterfeit.
WGA has been used by Microsoft since mid 2005 to approve software updates. The plug-in now allows Firefox to do the updating job instead of Internet Explorer.
Internet Explorer’s share of the browser market has fallen back to around 85% after Firefox was launched a year ago. Firefox now enjoys an estimated 9% of the market, with most of this share taken from Internet Explorer.