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The New Browser War

The launch of the Firefox preview release has drawn enthusiastic receptions. It has reached its goal of 1 million downloads in only 4 days. For the first time since Netscape's downfall, there seems to be a real challenge to Microsoft. Would this be the start of a new browser war? Let me help beat the drum here.

After a series of high-profile security issues that have plagued IE, there are finally some numbers showing alternative browsers are taking a small but noticeable market share from IE as reported in eWEEK and CNET. Last year we were worried when AOL unloaded the browser development to create the non-profit Mozilla Foundation. Nevertheless developers have not disappointed us by rolling out successive releases of this sleek and fast browser. In retrospect, the establishment of the Mozilla Foundation is more of a blessing. Rather than AOL, now it can find better corporate sponsors like IBM, Sun and Red Hat.

Perhaps it could not get a more high profile sponsor than Google. Rumors has floated that Google is going to release a browser based on Mozilla. The New York Post has made such speculation base on a number of new hires. Blogger Jason Kottke has made some strong arguments for a Google Browser. He has also discovered Google has already registered the gbrowser.com domain. This could be tipping point for Mozilla to gain wide spread acceptance.

It is often accepted that the vast majority of consumers are not likely to switch from IE given is already the browser installed by default. Users are seen as dummies that downloading and installing another program is just beyond their ability. But look at how applications such as KaZaA and BitTorrent gained such popularity without corporate blessing. As is the case for ICQ, which has gained a hugh following as an independent company. People do know how to install software. Give them something compelling and we will find people switching in droves.

2004.09.23 [] - comments

 

 

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