Business Pundit points us to a very interesting piece over at knowledge@wharton about the browser war between Microsoft (IE) and Mozilla (Firefox) .

I haven't used any of the rebel browsers and in fact I haven't even heard of the one that Business Pundit says he uses all the time. Something called Avant

However if you read the whole article at Wharton you can't help but feeling that the Firefox trend is just that: a trend.

Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader, for one, is skeptical of Firefox's success. To him, the big question is whether Firefox can maintain its market share when Microsoft updates Internet Explorer this summer. "Mozilla has passed some threshold, but it's not clear whether Firefox users are early adopters who are just delighted to have an alternative," he says, adding that "IE will get better. It's the usual dance. Microsoft will steal Mozilla's ideas and become competitive."

WebSideStory CEO Jeff Lunsford reports that usage of Firefox has slowed slightly since a big surge in November. "This is probably to be expected as we move beyond the early adopter segment," says Lunsford in an analysis accompanying WebSideStory's market share statistics. "Back in December 2004, it seemed Firefox was a lock to reach 10% by mid-2005, ahead of the reported year end goal of the Mozilla Foundation. Given the latest growth rates, the year end target still appears attainable, but a mid-year achievement is unlikely unless we see increased marketing activity from the Mozilla Foundation."

According to Fader, increased marketing of Firefox is unlikely. After all, Mozilla doesn't have the marketing budget to do a sustained campaign. Meanwhile, Microsoft has one asset that is almost unbeatable: Inertia. Microsoft's browser is packaged when you buy a PC. Other software such as Outlook and Office is included. Are people going to go out of their way to download a Firefox browser or some open source alternative to Microsoft products? "Sure you could argue that some of Microsoft's products are bloated and suboptimal, but they do get the job done reasonably well," says Fader.

The real test for Firefox and other open source alternatives will be how they gain share when Microsoft users are no longer annoyed by security. And what happens when Firefox itself becomes a target for hackers? Says Fader: "It's really a question of whether Firefox has just attracted dissatisfied Microsoft users or has gained a foothold so it can offer real competition."

Read the whole thing here.

No comments: