Mozilla: forget businesses, we're here for "regular users"

Firefox manager "can't imagine" why Mozilla would focus on business users over average consumers

Nicole Kobie
27 Jun 2011

Mozilla has openly admitted it's focusing on consumers at the expense of businesses, after accelerating the release cycle of Firefox.

The open-source developers took more than a year to put together Firefox 4, but released its follow up in three months, mimicking the quick releases of Google Chrome.

The faster cycle means previous versions are killed off more quickly; Mozilla is sending Firefox 4 to end of life essentially immediately, pushing users to Firefox 5.

While the rapid release process sounds great, it’s an absolute fail for large deployments of Firefox

That makes it difficult not only for add-on developers to keep up, but for enterprises to deploy the browser, argued one browser consultant, citing a business user as saying the end-of-life for Firefox 4 was "a kick in the stomach".

"While the rapid release process sounds great, it’s an absolute fail for large deployments of Firefox," wrote consultant Mike Kaply on his blog.

In response, Asa Dotzler, community coordinator for Firefox marketing and founder of Mozilla's quality assurance scheme, replied: "You do realise that we get about two million Firefox downloads per day from regular user types, right?

"Enterprise has never been (and I’ll argue, shouldn’t be) a focus of ours," he added in the comments to the blog. "Until we run out of people who don’t have sysadmins and enterprise deployment teams looking out for them, I can’t imagine why we’d focus at all on the kinds of environments you care so much about.

"A minute spent making a corporate user happy can better be spent making many regular users happy," he continued. "I’d much rather Mozilla was spending its limited resources looking out for the billions of users that don’t have enterprise support systems already taking care of them."

That opinion will surely cheer Microsoft, as its Internet Explorer has long held the top spot for businesses, and it appears to have no plans to speed up its release cycle.

Kev Needham, Mozilla’s channel manager, defended Dotzler's position.

"We recognise that this shift may not be compatible with a large organisation's IT Policy and understand that it is challenging to organisations that have effort-intensive certification polices," he said in a statement provided by Mozilla.

"However, our development process is geared toward delivering products that support the web as it is today, while innovating and building future web capabilities. Tying Firefox product development to an organisational process we do not control would make it difficult for us to continue to innovate for our users and the betterment of the web."

Read more about: