Microsoft Releases Deepfish for Windows Mobile
A prototype browser called Deepfish arrived for the Windows Mobile platform, stirring up opinions that Microsoft may be more than a little concerned about not owning the dominant browser on mobile phones.
|Microsoft Releases Deepfish for Windows Mobile|
We’ve seen Microsoft suffer from The Fear in the browser wars already. Once upon a time, Netscape dominated the PC browser market. Until Marc Andreessen and company were so close to Bill Gates that they were scraping the UV coating off his glasses, Microsoft had expressed minimal interest in the World Wide Web.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer owns some 80-plus percent of the browser market now. Netscape is a news sharing website and Andreessen bounces from venture to venture. The Netscape browser exists, but doesn’t come up in conversation except in retrospect these days.
Now it looks like Opera’s turn to face the still-dangerous Borg of Redmond. Microsoft’s Deepfish browser arrived on the company’s on10.net site, as noted by Larry Larsen. Deepfish comes from Microsoft’s Live Labs, where it has been equipped with technology from their Seadragon and PhotoSynth projects.
Unlike most Internet competitors in the mobile space, Microsoft’s deals with mobile makers go straight to the heart of the platform, by becoming the core OS. But just as they faced the prospect of being commoditized by Netscape on the PC, they face a similar challenge from Opera on the mobile.
Probably being a Norway-based company has helped Opera win deals throughout the mobile landscape. They aren’t Microsoft, they aren’t US-based, and they make a very good product. Opera just announced new deals with Toshiba and HTC to make Opera the default browser on the handsets they ship.
Being a default choice is very important. Many people won’t bother to change to something different when it comes to technology, especially if they are of the casual tech user mindset.
For Microsoft, that would represent a utilitarian status for their Windows Mobile OS. If it doesn’t matter what’s underneath the browser, and Opera happens to dominate the mobile field, Microsoft could see manufacturers play serious hardball over licensing Windows Mobile as opposed to Nokia’s Symbian OS.
Isn’t it strange to see Microsoft chasing a smaller upstart again? Almost like déjà vu. Maybe this time, it turns out differently.