Archive for February 19th, 2009

EC Theme: How can there be a problem when Firefox has growing marketshare?

February 19th, 2009

This idea sounds sort of reasonable at first, but it’s built on a logical fallacy.

The claim is that the tying of IE to Windows harms competition, innovation and user choice in browsers. Microsoft does not need to be 100% successful for this claim to be true. A single plant growing in a toxic environment does not mean that the environment is suddenly healthy. It doesn’t mean that all concern with the environment should fade or that attempts to improve the environment should be abandoned. That plant may be prosperous, but still deeply constrained by its environment.

Mozilla is extremely healthy, but still constrained by the environment IE has created. We’re constrained in being able to reach people of course, since IE is utterly ubiquitous and hides the possibilities of alternatives. We’re constrained in other ways as well. We’re constrained in our ability to enable new innovations — we need to find ways to make the Internet continue to work for the hundreds of millions of IE users who only Windows-based distributions reach. We’re constrained in the ability to build new standards into the Internet itself. In parts of the worlds — Asia in particular — we’re still highly constrained in our ability to even display web content, due to IE specific content.

And of course, the EC’s concern is not simply whether a single, unique “plant” like Mozilla can survive and prosper against all odds. The question is whether competition and innovation themselves are being harmed.

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