Firefox and IE are at it Again

October 27, 2006 at 10:33 am | Posted in Browsers, Internet/Browsers | Leave a comment

People love an underdog story – the little guy who the big guys ignore but triumphs through gut, gumption, and raw talent. I just watched Rocky again for the first time in years (the original, non-Roman-numeraled movie) and the clichés are all there.

This explains why the press loves the Mozilla vs. Microsoft story. Every couple of years IE and Mozilla (formerly the Netscape guys) go at it again, releasing new versions of their browsers and the spotlights shine brightly on them. It’s not as much that the product improvements themselves are that exciting, but the resurfacing of that underdog story.

A look through my press quotes from InformationWeek, Forbes, ComputerWorld, and Tech News World shows how nothing really changes. I was interviewed by NPR on this subject in 2005 as well, and I can guarantee they didn’t care just because of the evening news listener’s interest in tabbed browsing and CSS support. But “Can a plucky non-profit beat giant Microsoft?” – now that’s a story!

Here are some other quotes of mine for historical perspective on this never-ending story:

In my most recent interview, when asked if I thought Mozilla 2.0 was a major release, I said not really. But they had to put something out since the spotlight was going to be there anyways and they have to look busy. To quote myself:

“I think they’re invigorated, knowing browsers are in the news again,” he said of Firefox maker Mozilla. “They want to have something to show if people are going to pay attention to them.”

I do think Mozilla 3.0 will have more in it, but really the value of a browser is that it’s a thin, stable platform on which to run web applications. I want all the improvements and variation in the apps, not the viewer for them. Where there are fixes needed, fix them. Where there can be neat improvements (like tabbed browsing – love it!), make them. Put in support for Rich Internet Applications (RIA) technology. Otherwise, leave it alone and just keep my apps humming along smoothly.

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