IE8 coming in 2009, but will it be late to the Firefox party?

Using Firefox is an affirmative act: you have to download it. You have to want it. IE, on the other hand, finds its way to end-customers through preinstalls, Windows Update, and other means. People use IE by default.

CNET's Ina Fried reports that Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 won't surface until 2009. With a release candidate not scheduled until the first quarter of 2009, the final release won't hit until the second (or possibly even the third) quarter. Microsoft released a beta of IE8 back in March 2008. Roughly a year later, we should see the full release in action.

By that time, will anyone care?

Yes, Microsoft continues to dominate the browser market with 71.3 percent market share, according to Net Applications, so, the majority of Internet users will continue to use IE. But that's not my question. My question is whether they will care.

The good news for Firefox? More and more people are making that "affirmative act," while IE usage continues to slide, again according to Net Applications:

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