Major update to Firefox 3.5 (after 59 days)

Two weeks ago, we prompted users with a Major Update offer to upgrade from FF3.0.x->FF3.5.x. Now that its been out for two weeks, I took a quick look at how many users did upgrade, and how does it compare with the previous major update release?
FF3.0.x -> FF3.5 major update:

  • 45 days from release to 1st prompted MU
  • measure after 14 days of prompted MU
  • 24.7% of users on latest branch before prompted MU
  • (~65% of these users upgraded by doing pave-over download-and-install; ~35% upgraded by manually doing CheckForUpdates)
  • 37.3% of users on latest branch two weeks after prompted MU

FF2.0->FF3.0.x major update:

  • 70 days from release to 1st prompted MU
  • measure after 14 days of prompted MU
  • 35.4% of users on latest branch before prompted MU
  • (100% of these users upgraded by doing pave-over install)
  • 61.4% of users on latest branch two weeks after prompted MU

We’re still working out math here, so bear with us if these numbers get tweaked; its not as easy to figure out as you might hope. However, if these numbers are accurate, it looks like:

  • we made the major update offer sooner after the release
  • people are major upgrading at a slower rate, but consistent rate
  • people have been using CheckForUpdates at about the same rate through each of the dot-releases, not just at the initial release. This confirms the value of doing this, so we will continue to always have unprompted Major updates available for people who want to do manual CheckForUpdates.

Its worth noting that, while these two scenarios are the closest I could find for comparison, there are lots of differences between them:

  • The FF3.0 release had more outreach and publicity, f.e download day, compared to the FF3.5 release.
  • FF2.0->3.0 has more visible improvements then FF3.0->FF3.5, hence more incentive to upgrade (or perversely, more resistance to upgrade?).
  • After FF2.0, it took 18 months to ship FF3.0. After FF3.0, it took 12 months to ship FF3.5. As we continue to speed up the release cycle, is this a factor?
  • The number 3.5 sounds like a smaller upgrade. Would people have upgraded if the same exact code was called 4.0? Would fewer people have upgraded if it had been called 3.1?
  • Anything else people think might be a factor?

2 thoughts on “Major update to Firefox 3.5 (after 59 days)”

  1. We also shipped only 9 days after the last maintenance release, as opposed to a full month after when we did the 2->3 major update. I think that’s a bigger factor than anything else you list here.

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