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Mozilla CEO: Apple wants browser duopoly

updated 03:40 pm EDT, Tue June 19, 2007

Mozilla CEO slams Jobs

In a posting to his blog, Mozilla CEO John Lilly reacts harshly to Steve Jobs' keynote address at the Apple WWDC earlier this month, saying that Jobs wants to "bring more of the world under directed control from Cupertino," and is out of touch with the way that the Web actually works. Pointing specifically to a slide that shows Apple's hope for the future -- a two-slice market-share pie of the Web browser market split between Safari and Internet Explorer -- Lilly opines that Wikipedia, Creative Commons, Linux and Firefox have all shown that duopolistic control scheme will not work.

Likening the scenario to Ford and GM's dominance of the early American auto industry, Lilly says that putting only two companies in control of the Web destroys "selt-determination" and ruins the end-user experience. "We've never ever at Mozilla said that we care about Firefox market share at the expense of our more important goal: to keep the web open and a public resource. The web belongs to people, not companies," he says.

Finally, Lilly paraphrases Jobs' speculation that Safari on will attract 100 million new users and return the world to a 2 browser state, quipping "[...] don't bet on it."

by MacNN Staff





  1. burger

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple should have used a pie chart with how many browsers represented then?

  1. sixcolors

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Mozilla is c***. Firefox is a lame duck. Safari is faster leaner and nicer.

    and WebKit is OPEN SOURCE!

  1. johncarync

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Article misquotes Lilly

    "Likening the scenario to Ford and GM's dominance of the early American auto industry..."

    Lilly does not liken Safari/IE to Ford and GM's dominance in the ***early American auto industry***. He is trying to make the point that bad things would happen if there were hypothetically only two choices in various industries: Starbucks or Peets, Wal-mart or Target, Ford or GM, Safari or IE.

    Ford and GM did NOT have a corner on the market in the early days of the automobile nor have they ever.

    To comment on Lilly's statements... I think Lilly is over-reacting. Does he really expect a company who is trying to create a buzz about a product to put up a forecast chart that doesn't show a best-case scenario? What if Microsoft had shown realistic market-share charts with the introduction of Zune? That would have been sobering. Also, showing a realistic chart with lots of little pie slices of 1% and 2% would have clouded the message. Jobs wanted to simply show a large growth for Safari and I think he made his point.

    Then is Lilly's blog...he can write whatever he wants.

  1. bfalchuk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    horribly reported

    MacNN, does anyone here proof posts, or edit them? Not just spelling mistakes, but blatantly missing words.

  1. treestman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mozilla overreacted.

    What exactly was Mozilla expecting? Did they think Apple would enter the market and NOT want to take their market share?

    Mozilla's share comes from the "low-hanging fruit" (i.e., the users savvy enough to try alternatives), it should be no surprise that that's where Apple expects to begin getting their share as well.

    I think Mozilla had an opportunity here, and blew it:

  1. PookJP

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Makes Mozilla seem a bit small time. I understand his annoyance, but it's not up to Steve to carve out his company's position. If he wants it he should take it and stop focusing on an incidental slide in a computer company's presentation.

  1. davesmall

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Browser Duopoly ->GOOD

    I love the idea of a Browser Duopoly.

    That would be Safari and Firefox.

    Who needs Explorer? What does it add to the party? It's a plodder like most things Microsoft.

    I agree with almost everything Steve Jobs says or does. The one exception was when he added Al Gore to Apple's Board of Directors. I'm still barfing over that one.

  1. mac_1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good Luck

    That war has been lost to google. Browsers are just advertising readers in terms of "market share". The best wars are fought on equal terms. This is not the case. Internet Explorer dominates but it's really enriching Google in a sense--in ad sense. ;)

  1. ADeweyan

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I was surprised by that

    I thought it was odd for that chart to leave out Firefox et, al. considering the buzz they continue to have.

    But then again, the issue probably has more to do with IE users -- the ones who are going to switch already have. The IE market isn't really a market because no one is willing to buy something else (or aware that they can). In that scenario, they aren't competing against IE, but only against the alternatives to IE.

    A more realistic chart might have shown Safari and Firefox splitting the slice, with IE losing a few percentages to the two of them.

  1. Gamoe

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Some of these Mozilla can't seem to stand anything different from Mozilla or outside their own narrow software philosophy.

    If Apple didn't mention Firefox it's because that's not Apple's main target.

    It's as if some of these people want Mozilla to be the only game in town. I thought the point was not to have any one software publisher control the browser market.

    What's Apple supposed to do? Lay down and not try? I don't understand this way of thinking, particularly given Safari's Open Source core.

    How can some complain about lack of (browser)choice and then bash a company when it releases another Open Source-core, pretty standards compliant browser. Sheesh.

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