Mozilla Focuses on Users

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2003-10-13 Print this article Print

and Revenue"> Getting the word out about Mozilla will cost money. As an independent organization, the Mozilla Foundation will need to raise more of it to meet its goal of reaching regular end users and enterprises through marketing. Along with $2 million from AOL, Mozilla also is seeking donations now that it is a non-profit. The addition of more formal support also will bring a new revenue source, Baker said. "Theres not just a focus on the user, but a focus on generating revenue," Baker said. "We want to sustain ourselves."
A key for Mozilla to reach more end users, especially consumers, are the stand-alone browser and e-mail applications now in pre-1.0 releases, Baker said. They are designed more as products rather than as development technology as with the namesake suite.
"Mozilla development in past was designed for other commercial entities like Netscape to make end user products," Baker said. "So were designing these so that we can ship them to the general consumer, and theyll make sense as products as well." To attract enterprise, Mozilla first wants to capitalize on organizations that have been using the Netscape browser, last released as version 7.1. Mozilla is planning greater outreach to enterprises, planning to seek advice on the types of features and changes companies would like to see in Mozilla. Adding greater support options also will be an important push, Baker said. With the Mozilla 1.5 release, the foundation is planning to launch telephone end-user support. It will be offered through DecisionOnce, of Frazer, Pa., and cost $39.95 per incident. Mozilla also is planning to offer e-mail support, but a vendor has not been selected. Such support is an important step to attract enterprise users, IT managers say, but end users can make it tough, even when IT is ready to push an alternative to IE. Dennis Barr, IT manager for civil engineering firm Larkin Group Inc., is an avid Mozilla user himself both at home and work, but he has had no luck convincing users within the company to switch. Even when he had convinced a pool of end users to give Mozilla a try, they ultimately go back to using the IE browser that is so prevalent on the Windows desktop. "Maybe the geek quotient isnt high enough within our company and with our individual users," Barr said. "I would love to be able to convince my organization to standardize on Mozilla, but it just hasnt happened." Where he expects Mozilla to have better luck is within companies with more significant use of Linux and other operating systems. Those companies need to a cross-platform browser, he said. Mozilla supports Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. The new foundation, though, has no illusion that it will grab a big share of the consumer or even enterprise space, but Baker says the project sees an opening for more competition in the market and is ready to seize it. "The key goal of the Mozilla project has been an open Web," she said. "Were not needing to get 60, 70 or 80 percent market share to be successful. Our market-share goal is enough to have a viable Web that remains standards focused and in which consumers can manipulate their data without going through the business plan of one or two vendors."

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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