Last week one of the regular browser competitive “bake-offs” named Firefox “speed king”, which highlights how much competition has improved Firefox. This time we beat Chrome in performance areas where Google once had a significant lead. This has caused me to think a bit about competition, why it matters, when it goes bad, and how we think about it.
First of course, it’s fun to excel and I’m very proud of the Mozilla teams that made this happen. Competing with Google is no easy task –Google’s resources are immense and their employees are talented. Kudos to everyone involved.
Second, competition in “our” space is one aspect of success. When we started building Firefox, no one believed a browser mattered on the desktop, and a lot of people didn’t know what a browser was. Today that’s not the case. The introduction of Firefox spurred the browser into prominence, and generated competition first from Microsoft, and then from Google. This competition has validated our message from long ago that creating the product through which people access the Internet has immense impact. Google will undoubtedly surge ahead on some aspects of performance before too long, we should expect this, rise to meet the challenge and view it as success.
Third, we need to make sure we’re competing in things that matter. A neck-and-neck competition in an area that doesn’t provide value to consumers isn’t a great use of resources. We should periodically evaluate if the thing we’re competing about is worth the focus. Today raw speed is a key competitive area. That makes sense. It’s worth asking if at some point if improvements in raw speed will become overshadowed by needed improvements in other areas, but right now raw speed is important to users.
We’re also working on performance in new areas. With Firefox we are also bringing things like high performance 3D games and video calls to the Web. These rich activities like games and video calls were some of the last remaining challenges to prove that the Web is a capable and powerful platform for complex tasks. Addressing these challenges is another step in Mozilla’s mission to advance the Web as the platform for openness, innovation and opportunity for all.
Fourth, great products are key at Mozilla. Firefox on the desktop allows us to enhance the key aspects of online life we care about. It will help us connect “the desktop” to “mobile” and provide a unified online experience based on the freedoms and openness that drive us.