Tag Archives: microsoft

Message to MS: Adopt Firefox now to radically innovate against Chrome

Read an article earlier today by Mary-Jo Foley entitled “Should Microsoft do an IE 8 ‘Lite’?“. I quite enjoyed the article and posted a lengthy response here, which I think is worth sharing on this site too.

Hi Mary-Jo,

Enjoyed the article, here’s a radical idea for you (and MS) though…

MS would be better off binning development on IE8 (and even a potential IE Lite), and throwing there development effort into Firefox.

Why? Well here goes…

By browser market share the competition enticingly looks like IE to Google and Chrome, but the competition is really around innovation and increased functionality.

Neither IE nor Chrome can even remotely compete with the feature rich innovation coming out of Firefox, and, importantly, it’s massive community of Add-On developers.

Just to name a few of the Add-Ons to Firefox, so as to expand on the point, I’m running FireBug (an extremely competent realtime HTML, CSS, etc, editor and web development tool), ScribeFire (a blog posting tool), SeoQuake (a very useful SEO tool), Operator (presents semantic data from web pages into the browser) and, finally, Glubble (an absolutely stunning parental control tool for safe surfing for Children).

Yes, I could probably “cobble” all of this functionality together from separate stand alone applications and possibly sites, however I already have all of this embedded into my browser thanks to Firefox’s Open Source and Open Standards approach.

The real competition for Google’s Chrome is Firefox, and the Firefox development and Add-On development communities. Google know this really and will be attempting to build communities around Chrome to emulate the model (but not quite as Open, as we’ve seen with them before, because ultimately they’ll need to keep control to be able to manipulate and dominate the market).

How much genuine innovation(tm) have we seen from MS in IE in the last couple of years? Anything that made your jaw drop and think “wow”? That’s right: Nowt.

How do you genuinely expect MS to keep up when web pages, search results, and other online applications and services work better and, more importantly, have increased functionality in Chrome?

That’s also right, they won’t be able to, because this time they don’t own the platform, and with 60-70% of all English speaking web traffic initially being presented through Google they won’t be able to use there PC based monopoly to help them, because Google “owns” this platform.

IE had it’s time and place; specifically to “kill off” Netscape’s Browser so that MS could remain relevant in the Internet Age (remember when Bill Gates kept saying the Internet was a fad, and despite what you might think I’m a big fan of Bill).

Now perhaps the only thing that can save MS from the oncoming Google and Chrome “storm” and allow them to continue as a provider of access technology to the Interweb (i.e. Browsers) is the “illegitimate” offspring of the rival it so unceremoniously crushed just a few years ago. How ironic.

Of course, MS won’t, they are too locked into the proprietary model which will ultimately spell the downfall of IE, and possibly even of the MS organisation as we know it today.

But imagine, if you can, just for a moment, a scenario in which MS throws it’d development effort into the open Firefox community, and into it’s Add-On capabilities. Firefox becomes the standard and benchmark, not just for innovation and increased functionality, but for browser share too, both of which would have a reciprocal effect on each other. Google would be forced into following behind, and never given the opportunity to set the agenda (as they are attempting to begin now). For the time being, at least, this would limit Googles penetration onto, and dominance of, the access device (which includes the PC), and keeping them temporarily “server side” on the web.

All the best,



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