The internet, ever a hotbed of rumour, is rife with speculation that Google plans a direct challenge to Microsoft's all-conquering but flawed web-browsing software, Internet Explorer. This reportedly commands share in the region of 94% of the global browser market.

The speculation was further fuelled by a story in the New York Post which reported that Google had hired a quartet of former Microsoft web-browser developers – one of whom, Adam Bosworth, allegedly had a key role in the development of IE. Google, however, declined to comment on the story.

Web observers see significance in the fact that the 2004 Mozilla Developer Day was held on the Google campus. Mozilla's Firefox browser is enjoying a surge in popularity as increasing numbers of personal and corporate surfers revolt against the security abyss that besets the Microsoft product.

Data sourced from BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff