Firefox Probably Doesn't Keep Bill Gates Up At Night

by Brian Jepson

During the Browser Wars, Microsoft was trying to protect its Windows franchise; at the time, they weren't ready for the Internet, and the Browser-As-Platform threatened to marginalize Windows like nothing else could.

Microsoft won those wars, and things have changed a lot since then. Microsoft has been successful in getting new development to happen with .NET, a Win32 replacement for the networked generation. And .NET supports the Browser-As-Platform paradigm quite well. The dominance of Internet Explorer protected Win32 until its replacement was ready. Does Microsoft still need it to dominate?

Maybe they are happy to let Internet Explorer fade into the woodwork of Windows. After all, they haven't kept up with innovations like tagged browsing, RSS support, and other nice things you find in the latest and greatest browsers. Plus, Microsoft put up no struggle on Mac OS X when Safari plowed right over IE (good riddance there). So would Microsoft care if Firefox kept gaining? I don't think it weakens Windows to let it keep growing. In fact, it neatly solves a big problem Microsoft has: how to cope with browser vulnerabilities (and where to shift the blame when they do appear).

Do you think Microsoft will put up a fight against Firefox?


2004-11-07 23:19:08
It Makes Sence...
I would have to agree with your appraisal of what appears to be the first act in IE's "ride into the sunset". The last few years have caused more headaches for Microsoft than I'm sure they would want to account for.

But it makes me wonder, what the next step for the open source world might be. Linux has been around for years now, its stumbling block was that "everyday" people had to sift through mountains of texts to install the OS. That said, ease of use was not a priority for those who seriously used it. Linux numbers, although faithful, could never compare to the masses of "point and click" ease Windows had to offer.

These days Linux is begining to bridge that gap, with distributions like Knoppix, MEPIS and several other projects that escape me at the moment. The rhetoric has been around for years now that Linux folks could build an OS that could beat MS down from their dominance.

At first, Bill chuckled to himself about it. Then folks like IBM began using it as a serious platform. Now it seems the MS stance is similar to that of all the political ads we just got through watching, using smear tactics and statistical data to back there claims.

A quote from Shakesphere's Julius Ceasar comes to mind. "Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous." With Firefox on the verge of a successful release this tuesday. Could it be possible that it might finally encourage similar open source projects to step forward and take a stance against Microsoft?

I realize that I have no evidence to support such a project even exists, but if Firefox does live up to its promises, surely other open source software might try to follow suit.

Here's to hoping I'm not too far off the mark.