Microsoft wasted no time in promoting Internet Explorer's worth to businesses, after a Mozilla representative downplayed corporate concerns to just-released Firefox 5.
5, Mozilla ratchets up the cadence of its browser releases-this latest edition
arrives a mere three months after Firefox 4 first entered the marketplace.
upgrading probably won't represent that much of a hassle: You click "download,"
and a few minutes later (depending on your connection speed) you're tooling
around with a new browser that, despite Mozilla's claims of more than 1,000
improvements and enhancements, boasts virtually the same look and feel as the
though, are expressing some worries about Mozilla's newfound speediness. "I
have 500,000 corporate users on Firefox 3.6," read a much-circulated comment by
IBM's John Walicki on a June 21 blog posting
by Firefox developer and
consultant Michael Kaply. "I'm now in the terrible position of choosing to
deploy a Firefox 4 release with potentially unpatched vulnerabilities, reset
the test cycle for thousands of internal apps to validate Firefox 5 or stay on
a patched Firefox 3.6.x."
Dotzler, community coordinator for various Mozilla projects, decided to dump
roughly a gallon of gasoline on this particular fire. "Enterprise has never
been (and I'll argue, shouldn't be) a focus of ours," he wrote in a June 23 comment
on Kaply's blog. "Until we run
out of people who don't have sysadmins and enterprise deployment teams looking
out for them, I can't imagine why we'd focus at all on the kinds of
environments you care so much about."
compelled to respond: "You can't play the [market share] card. Because even
years ago when supporting enterprise meant getting a lot of [market share],
Mozilla didn't care."
Dotzler responded: "Today, I argue, we shouldn't care even if we do have the
resources [for enterprise] because of the cost benefit trade. A minute spent
making a corporate user happy can better be spent making many regular users
erupted from there. Kev Needham, Mozilla's channel manager, tried to dampen the
spreading flames with a comment to PCMag
: "We recognize that this
shift may not be compatible with a large organization's IT Policy and
understand that it is challenging to organizations that have effort-intensive
said, he continued, "Our development process is geared toward delivering
products that support the Web as it is today, while innovating and building
future Web capabilities."
quick to leap at Mozilla's opening, with an executive very publicly asking
Walicki to consider jumping back to Internet Explorer.
in no position to question a competitor's approach to customer and engagement
and support," Ari Bixhorn, director of Internet Explorer, wrote in a June 23 posting on
, "I did want to take the opportunity to clarify the
Internet Explorer team's commitment to, and support for, our corporate
he cited Microsoft's commitment to the enterprise, and its support for each
version of Internet Explorer "as long as the latest version of Windows that it
runs on is supported."
Internet Explorer team, it must be noted, has a tradition of sending Mozilla a
cake every time the latter releases a new Firefox version. Given Microsoft's
speed at trying to exploit Mozilla's possible public-relations vulnerability,
though, we can only assume that-to borrow a famous Internet meme-the cake is a lie
Applications currently estimates Firefox's overall share of the browser market
at 21.71 percent, trailing the Internet Explorer franchise at 54.27 percent but
ahead of Chrome at 12.52 percent and Safari at 7.28 percent. Moreover,
Firefox's share has stagnated in recent months, its last high of 22.97 percent
in September 2010, while smaller rivals enjoyed gains over the same period.
indeed pursues the path of rapid releases, how will that affect its market
share? And if it loses market share-either from the corporate side of things,
or due to simple attrition to its rivals-will Microsoft be the one that gains?
Bixhorn's comments, Microsoft certainly hopes
Follow Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter