In a recent statement, Opsware chairman Marc Andreessen said that there is no innovation in browsers. Andreessen was the dominant personality in the browser market when he was at Netscape, but he is flat wrong. There is plenty of innovation in browsers, and, when it comes to innovation, Mozilla is at least two generations ahead of IE. When The Mozilla Foundation releases the modular Firebird browser by the end of the year, users looking for an up-to-date browser will have a very compelling choice. People will say that it doesnt matter whats better because everyone will just use whats on their computers, which will be IE. But people are forgetting the history of Web browsers. Netscape initially became big because everyone used it at work and then decided to use it at home.Of course, things can change in the future. Ive seen plenty of surprising developments since I started reviewing browsers back when Mosaic was vying with Spyglass (the forebears of Mozilla and IE, respectively). Microsoft has shown that, in strategy, it can turn on a dime, and the company could yet change its IE strategy. But in this coming Browser War II, Im willing to bet on the fresh and invigorated dragon over the dusty old dinosaur. Jim Rapoza is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As companies build more new Web applications and Web services, they will be strongly attracted to a state-of-the-art browser that powerfully interacts with the applications and services they are creating. Commercial Web sites, many of which are seeing a resurgence in their business, will also want to leverage new technologies that only up-to-date and innovative browsers support.