EC Theme: Building Firefox is the only appropriate activity for Mozilla

February 11th, 2009

If we drop the word “only” out of this sentence I suspect we have 100% agreement. Building the Internet that we want to live in is the fundamental reality of Mozilla. This is our shared purpose, and it’s what makes us effective.

But is building Firefox the only appropriate response to problems in the market? The EC has initiated action that is intimately and directly related to the world we are building. I believe we must get involved; that ignoring this is like “putting our head in the sand.”

At the very least we should offer our expertise to the EC. Competition in the browser space is important because it is critical to building an innovative, open and participatory web. We have experience in this area that is unusual if not unique. We have a chance to bring this expertise to the EC as it moves forward. I would feel remiss if Mozilla were to let this opportunity go by.

7 comments for “EC Theme: Building Firefox is the only appropriate activity for Mozilla”

  1. 1

    Donnie Berkholz said on February 11th, 2009 at 4:36 pm:

    I’ve commented on this to Zak before — Firefox exists in the context not just of the Internet but of the world we live in. This means it is affected by the world, so it is powerless unless it tries to make its own impact back onto the world.

  2. 2

    Sean Hogan said on February 11th, 2009 at 4:43 pm:

    Based on human experience, healthy competition – striving to match or out-perform – does seem important, maybe even essential, to improving anything.

    Unhealthy competition – tearing each-other down – obviously doesn’t make for a better anything, except perhaps in boxing where that is part of the rules of the game.

    In general, it seems that Microsoft’s unhealthy competing has been pulled into line. The fact that IE still dominates is largely due to inertia. Just make sure Firefox is better than IE for 10 years and you’ll probably have inertia on your side; and a great story of openness and innovation winning out in the end.

    That’s not to say that you shouldn’t engage with the EC on this issue.

  3. 3

    Robert Kaiser said on February 11th, 2009 at 6:04 pm:

    I agree that we need to look at doing whatever we can do to help the EC reach at a useful conclusion. Our goal is not to beat others with marketshare, our goal is to ensure the openness of the Internet. And it’s clear that this company did work against that, and it’s our job to help that the EC can find a way to force them to contribute to the openness of the web for once. That will help everyone out there – if we or the EC can find a way.

  4. 4

    Dwayne Bailey said on February 11th, 2009 at 10:12 pm:

    This topic has been quite curious to me. Most solutions I seem to think up also seem to be more the prison kinds then integrating the felon back into society.

    Once I realised that it become more fun, and restating the core value of Mozilla helps solidify that.

    So a suggestion:

    * Standards have helped to build a more open web.
    * Pay a fine and place that in a trust. The money from the trust goes to the W3C and any browser developers that suffered under the monopolistic practices.
    * Have a timeline and related fines for not getting themselves back into a state of standardisation
    * Be quite clear that about the statements that are allowed to be made to the press. For instance this might fall directly into the we’re focused on interoperability mantra that’s why we’re doing this, etc

    I’m also dead against the idea that installing Firefox on Windows by default is a good solution. Its based on a retroactive look at a changing environment. Who knows if the desktop will be the market in the future.

    I’m sure there are other patterns here that could be followed. But for me the summary would be how can this be used so that past transgressions are leveraged for future good. I think if we link that to what has and will continue to make the web strongest then everyone wins.

  5. 5

    monk.e.boy said on February 12th, 2009 at 1:34 am:

    We have great faith in you and in Mozilla!

    Can we try to be nice, compassionate, understanding. Maybe this will rub off on the big wigs in microsoft 😉 haha I wonder if they could commit to staying to the w3c specs and we all forgive them?


  6. 6

    Iang said on February 13th, 2009 at 1:01 pm:

    I wonder if the issue is bias? If you go on there saying “we can help, and we sure want a chance to put the knife in too…” this has a danger of being neutralised by the simple observation to the EC that Mozilla is biased. It might also rebound in ways hard to predict.

    OTOH, if you go to the EC and offer the resources as “expert witness” and try and present an even story from both sides, this might be fairer. One way to help doing that is to develop a “position paper” or “white paper” in open forum, with consultation from the experts in the community. And specifically charge the experts with expounding on both opposing points of view.

    “the only response to problems in the market” makes the big assumption that there are problems in the market. As opposed to problems with players, with products, with views, or the times. This is very hard to show, scientifically, and economics-wise, and it is even more difficult for the EC. Try this quick test: if the people in the EC are better at predicting or understanding the market, why aren’t they in it, making lots of money?

  7. 7

    Pingback from Mitchell’s Blog » Blog Archive » EC Theme: Government Should Not Be Involved.

    […] argument may also be a way of expressing concern over the potential remedies. As I noted in a prior post, I think it’s deeply unwise for Mozilla to sit out the remedy discussions and learn what the […]

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