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Mozilla Arriving Late To The Mobile Party

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The Mozilla Foundation has big plans for mobile devices, but they will have to leapfrog Opera to make an impact.

Mozilla Arriving Late To The Mobile Party
Mozilla Arriving Late To The Mobile Party

Like the song about the ant and the rubber tree plant, Mozilla has high hopes for mobile. They want to bring their community and technology over to the next big platform, the mobile device.

Mike Schroepfer of Mozilla blogged about what Mozilla wants to do, and who they have brought on board to do it. He cited advances in mobile technology as making this "the right time" for Mozilla to take on mobile:

Up until very recently device limitations required writing new mobile browsers from the ground up. Being able to leverage all the investments in the Mozilla platform across both desktops and devices is the right approach. There is far from a dominant player in this marketplace and even the best mobile browsers today have compromises in user experience, performance, and compatibility. There is still *plenty* of room for innovation.

Basically, Mozilla can take code they have today, and make it work for a mobile browser. Schroepfer cited the adoption of Apple’s iPhone as an indication that people want more out of their mobile devices when it comes to the browser.

To dismiss existing mobile browsers out of hand as Schroepfer doesn’t square with the reality of today. Touting a Firefox mobile option as an individual choice to download and suggesting that option doesn’t exist for mobile owners today stretches credulity.

Norway’s Opera Software has a pair of mobile browsers that have been available for some time: the free download of Opera Mini, or the commercial Opera Mobile for S60 or Windows Mobile phones.

A Mozilla entrant will be a welcome one in the mobile browser field; competition benefit consumers as it pushes companies to be the best with their product. Mozilla enjoys significant brand awareness, which will help them with the product launch.

They will have to sustain that with a solid product, for which they have a foundation with code and developers who have recently signed on to Mozilla. At some point, we’re certain Mozilla will frame the market as open source versus closed, but the real issue will be what works best for the typical, non-techie mobile user.

Mozilla Arriving Late To The Mobile Party
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  • Asa Dotzler

    David, you said, “At some point, we’re certain Mozilla will frame the market as open source versus closed, but the real issue will be what works best for the typical, non-techie mobile user.”

    C’mon, David.

    We “arrived late” to the Desktop party when the largest and most powerful software company on the planet dominated the desktop web browser market with a monopoly of about 98% and every new PC shipping with it’s product and we didn’t frame the market as open source versus closed then.

    We built a product that we thought was superior for “the typical, non-techie,” desktop browser user and that product has about 120 million users today and represents around 20% of the web and open source was never a major part of how we framed the market. Firefox is doing well because it’s a better product than IE and we’ve been able to demonstrate that to about half a billion people who have downloaded it.

    What in that history makes you think that we’re “certain” to make open source the focus of the conversation.

    - A

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