Getting People to Switch Browsers

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-08-14 Print this article Print

5. Extensions are extremely important
One of the main reasons why users download Firefox and subsequently stick with it is its thousands of extensions. From social networking tools to e-commerce add-ons, the browser goes beyond Web surfing. It's a key advantage Mozilla enjoys. It's also one of the main reasons why so many Firefox users are loath to switch to other browsers. RockMelt will be no exception.

6. Third-party application integration
Several companies use Internet Explorer because some enterprise software is only compatible with Microsoft's browser. If employees want to be able to access an online application when they're away from the office, they might require Internet Explorer. If Mozilla and Chrome haven't been able to break those companies away from Internet Explorer, I don't see how RockMelt can.

7. Innovation continues
Although every browser on the market today is in need of some improvements, they're constantly being updated to address those shortcomings. Google, Apple, Microsoft and the others are currently working on ways to increase their user bases with new features. Who's to say RockMelt can improve upon the innovation that continues in the market?

8. Time matters
When RockMelt will finally release its browser is anyone's guess. Andreessen told The New York Times in a recent interview that RockMelt is still in its early development stages. And since the company is building the browser "from scratch," it could take quite a long time before it's released. The market could be a different place by then. And RockMelt's browser might be obsolete the day it's released.

9. The OS is going online
We also can't forget about Chrome OS. With Google and Microsoft vying for the online operating system market, it's possible that browsers might be a thing of the past. Over time, I believe more computing will move to the Web, causing browsers to be a part of the computing experience, rather than just a tool that helps us surf the Web. If RockMelt isn't prepared for that, it could be a problem.

10. Competition is fierce enough
There is still competition in the marketplace. RockMelt will be up against major companies with billions of dollars in cash to invest in anything they want. If RockMelt innovates in the marketplace, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla probably wouldn't hesitate to build a similar feature into their own browsers. In the meantime, RockMelt and its relatively nominal market share would be pushed aside.

Overall, it seems that a new browser is an awfully tough sell.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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