It’s kind of sad to see this poster child of the Internet boom meet its end. But it’s not surprising. Something like 96% of the market uses Internet Explorer. The few “anything but Microsoft” holdouts that I know have switched from Netscape to Safari. Oh yeah, and there’s that needling fact that nobody is making money selling browser software.
But Mozilla, Netscape’s open source cousin, lives on and wants to rumble with IE. The Mozilla Foundation president Mitchell Baker is quoted in the hyperlinked article thusly: “”We’ve got the better browser. And that’s what really matters.” I disagree. I think having better strategy is what really matters. I love Firebird, just like Joel, but it’s not going to do me much good unless it works seamlessly at my bank, my tax preparer and the catalog sites where I shop. Though banking, tax filing and shopping represent a tiny fraction of what I do online, these are the places where my browser has to be 100% reliable. I’m not ready for a two browser world, where you use one for reading and another for financial transactions.
The best way to ensure seamlessness is to get the browser into a lot of desktops. Mozilla should take a cue from what the competition was doing in 1995, and work on bundling agreements with the PC manufacturers.