A Fighting Dragon
Mozilla is robust and should not be written off.Are the browser wars back? Theres plenty of debate on that, thanks to the latest Mozilla developments and the direction that Microsofts Internet Explorer is taking. Some people believe that Microsoft won the browser war and thats that; others believe that browsers are irrelevant; still others believe, as I do, that Microsoft won Browser War I but has set itself up to lose Browser War II. How did we get here? First, Microsoft announced in May that Internet Explorer 6.x would be the last stand-alone version of the Web browser, with all future versions embedded as features in new versions of Windows. Then Microsoft and AOL settled their legal disputes, with AOL agreeing in June to use IE as its integrated browser in future versions of its client software. Recently, The Mozilla Organization separated itself from AOLs Netscape unit and became The Mozilla Foundation.
Microsofts moves are clearly intended to achieve its long-term goal of removing the main browser competitors by removing the browser itself as a competitor to Windows. But Microsoft is running a huge risk. IE, which is already a dinosaur compared with competing browsers, will be quickly entering fossil stage. It will probably be at least three years before a new version of Windows achieves any significant adoption. That means users on Windows platforms who stick with IE will be using, three years from now, a browser that will be eight years out of date. For a point of comparison, if you were using an 8-year-old Web browser right now, you would be using either Netscape 2.0 or IE 2.0and good luck seeing anything on any Web site. This should provide an opportunity for another browser to seriously challenge.