This month marks the release of the latest and greatest of two iconic Internet browsers, but the alternative browser from the Mozilla foundation managed to garner nearly triple the downloads over its long-standing Microsoft rival.

Users flocked to the company's new Firefox 4 browser as it launched on Wednesday, clocking over 7 million downloads within the first 24-hours of its release. Redmond Wash-based rival Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 just one week prior, but saw only 2.4 million downloads.

But while Firefox 4's first-day count trumped its rival, it failed to break a record set by itself over 3 years ago in 2008. Then, Mozilla had urged users to upgrade to its Firefox 3.0 browser with a ‘Download Day' campaign, aiming to set a Guinness world record. This time downloads are mostly organic, with no national push.

Competition in the browser world has been heating. The companies have been vying for user attention by increasing performance and simplifying common functions and esthetics.

Firefox has eclipsed IE as the most popular browser in Europe, but overall IE is used by 45 percent of people globally, besting Firefox by 10 percent.