IT Management Slideshow: 10 Ways Mozilla's Firefox Fails CIOs

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 07-26-2011

10 Ways Mozilla's Firefox Fails CIOs

Fast Update CyclesWhen Mozilla announced that it would start a rapid-release program with its Firefox browser that would see the software get updated every six weeks or so, CIOs cringed. Managing that level of continuous upgrade is a problem for enterprise-scale deployments.

10 Ways Mozilla's Firefox Fails CIOs

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Support ConcernsWith the launch of Firefox 5, Mozilla announced that it would no longer support Firefox 4. When the next version of the browser launches, Mozilla will likely follow the same pattern with Firefox 5. That's an issue for the enterprise. Support means everything to CIOs, and for now, it seems Mozilla is falling short.

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So-So CompatibilityThe vast majority of enterprise solutions support Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Firefox, on the other hand, while strongly supported in the consumer space, lacks the level of compatibility for Web-based business apps. Until Firefox matches IE on this front, it will fall short for CIOs.

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Internet Explorer 9 When CIOs pick the default browser for employees' machines, they factor in several features, including compatibility, security, speed, and more. And although Internet Explorer hasn't always been the best solution, the latest version -- IE 9 -- offers advantages over Firefox.

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The Add-On ProblemMozilla's Firefox browser is perhaps best known for its extensions. People can use add-ons from developers to extend the use of their software. The security and usability of add-ons for the enterprise can be called into question. And in some cases, they can be a productivity drain. Extensions are nice, but they're not ideal for corporate users.

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Security ConcernsOverall, Firefox has always been a secure browser. The only issue is, with the new update cycle, Mozilla has said that it will no longer support past versions of the browser. So, if security vulnerabilities crop up, Mozilla won't cover them. That's a major problem for CIOs.

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It's Still Consumer-FocusedBy and large, the Firefox community is made up of consumers. Mozilla focuses on pleasing its core audience, rather than appealing to corporate customers. That approach certainly hasn't hurt Firefox's growth. But it could prove to be devastating to the browser's enterprise adoption over the coming years.

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Concerns About the FutureBy the time all the computers in a large enterprise are running a new version of the browser, Mozilla will release another new version. The future is decidedly in doubt when it comes to Firefox.

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Mozilla's Cavalier AttitudeEven though corporate customers are taking issue with the browser, Mozilla continues to trudge on with its plans. And along the way, CIOs are becoming discouraged by what they find. In the cold war between CIOs and Mozilla, neither side is willing to budge.

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It Comes Down to TrustCIOs like to work with companies that they know they can trust. From a feature and security perspective, Mozilla hasn't done anything to break that trust. But its handling of Firefox updates has caused CIOs to take pause.

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