Mozilla's Firefox Enterprise Policy Raises Ire of IT

Mozilla's Firefox enterprise policy has raised the ire of some IT administrators and brought up questions about the browser's longterm potential against competitors such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Google Chrome.

Mozilla's Firefox 5 -- which arrived a mere three months after Firefox 4 first entered the marketplace -- almost immediately raised concerns from large enterprises about Mozilla's speeded-up pace of browser releases.

According to Net Applications, Firefox's browser market share for June 2011 stood at 21.67 percent, compared to Microsoft's Internet Explorer at 53.68 percent, Google's Chrome at 13.11 percent, Apple's Safari at 7.48 percent and Opera Software's Opera at 1.73 percent. Internet Explorer has seen its share decline significantly over the past 10 months -- in August 2010, it stood at 60.48 percent -- while Firefox has declined slightly over 1 point during the same period. Meanwhile, both Chrome and Safari have logged gains.

In other words, Firefox finds itself squeezed between a still-dominant Internet Explorer and a collection of growing upstarts. After this week, how many companies will reconsider their Firefox plans?

The release of Firefox 5 hard on the heels of Firefox 4 raised the ire of enterprise IT admins dismayed at the prospect of potentially upgrading hundreds of thousands of corporate users. Asa Dotzler, community coordinator for various Mozilla projects, further fanned the flames of IT discontent by stating in a blog post: "Enterprise has never been (and I'll argue, shouldn't be) a focus of ours."

Mozilla's damage control extended into this week, as a variety of executives stepped forward to defend the organization's approach to the enterprise.

Will Mozilla's current issues affect Firefox market share? It's certainly too soon to tell whether the imbroglio will make IT administrators more hesitant than they were to deploy Firefox within their organizations (although Microsoft likely hopes so). However, recent trends suggest that Firefox's overall market share is stalling -- in which case, the last thing it needs are additional headwinds, from businesses or consumers.

For more, read the eWeek article Mozilla Firefox Enterprise Policy: Could it Affect Adoption?

This article was originally published on 07-05-2011
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