on competition

Lest anyone be at all confused about my motives in writing my recent post about Apple Software Update, I’ll say this unequivocally: it isn’t about competition. [I wrote what I meant in my post -- there's no subtext at all -- it's all on the page, so I won't rehash it here.]

To the contrary: competition is good — necessary, actually. Competition — or, more the point, the ability of people to choose what tools and services they use — is essential, and without it nothing gets better.

As a consumer, I want more competition. I want things like mint.com to put pressure on Intuit, for FriendFeed to put pressure on Facebook, for Netflix to put pressure on Blockbuster. And for other browsers (like Safari) to put pressure on IE, and, yes, Firefox. And I want competition in my role at Mozilla, too — competition makes everyone work harder to listen to what people are saying about what they want, and to work harder to deliver something that is great.

Firefox is better because there’s competition from Safari and others — that’s great, because it means that normal people can find the software that works best for them and make their own choices. Firefox 3 is an incredibly great browser, I think, and competition has helped that, resulting in things like our amazing memory footprint and the incredibly useful AwesomeBar and literally thousands of other improvements.

Competition — and choice — is central to everything we do; without it, we’re nowhere.

91 comments

  1. I support you, John. Apple was WRONG in how they “delivered” Safari to Firefox users. I went ahead and let the Safari browser install on my computer because, I was not sure if it was a part of the iTunes update, or not. I agree that the installed product could be considered as melware. And now that I know that Safari is just another stand alone browser, that I did not want in the first place, I will get rid of it just like I would do to ALL melware. Further, Apple and Dennis; your attitude is sad, sad, sad.

  2. I concur with Ed and you, John. Like Ed, I installed Safari because it was pre-selected by the Updater. Unlike Ed, I’ll keep it because it’s a useful browser.

    Firefox stopped playing YouTube videos (they just freeze). To fix it, I have to restart Firefox, but I have too many tabs open to do that right now. So I used Safari to watch the video I wanted to see.

    Great blog, too: I’ve added you to my feed reader.

  3. I support you, John. Apple was WRONG in how they “delivered” Safari to Firefox users. I went ahead and let the Safari browser install on my computer because, I was not sure if it was a part of the iTunes update, or not. I agree that the installed product could be considered as melware. And now that I know that Safari is just another stand alone browser, that I did not want in the first place, I will get rid of it just like I would do to ALL melware. Further, Apple and Dennis; your attitude is sad, sad, sad.

  4. I concur with Ed and you, John. Like Ed, I installed Safari because it was pre-selected by the Updater. Unlike Ed, I’ll keep it because it’s a useful browser.

    Firefox stopped playing YouTube videos (they just freeze). To fix it, I have to restart Firefox, but I have too many tabs open to do that right now. So I used Safari to watch the video I wanted to see.

    Great blog, too: I’ve added you to my feed reader.

  5. Frankly, all browsers look alike to me! and I use browser all the time. I care less if it is IE, Safari or Firefox. What annoys me is this latest bout of “update managers”. There are things popping up on me every day – Java Update, Adobe update, Microsoft Vista updates, Sony VAIO (my laptop) updates, browser – to name a few. And then there are other reminders – virus, backup etc. etc. This is frankly annoying. I wish some one pays attention to overall customer experience when they keep popping up these alerts and reminders.

  6. I disagree here on one thing it’s not malware it’s a browser and a very useful one at that. i actually prefer it over firefox any day in my opinion it would not bother me one bit if it took over for IE. but as for it hurting a company like mozilla i doubt it seriously it’s been around far to long.

  7. Hmm. If you look at Firefox, you’ll notice, in the upper right hand corner, a search box that defaults to Google. Tell me, goes Google pay you to “push” this choice on the users? Can they opt out? Why is the search pre-defined, rather than letting the users set it when they first run the browser?

    The answer to these questions is that you have a commercial relationship with Google and pushing this search engine choice is done because you make money doing.

    A search engine is separate from a browser, just as iTunes and Safari are separate. I’ll grant the search engine and browser pairing is closer than itunes/safari, but the point remains.

    You are doing with Google the same thing for which you criticize Apple, and you’re doing it for the same reasons. I think it’s okay in either case, so long as the user has a clear and simple opt out. However, you might be a bit more restrained in the criticism since you’re guilty of the same behavior.

  8. Chuck, a few things I’ll point out: I don’t have any problem at all with Apple (or anyone) bundling products with other products. What I was articulating in my other piece is that using a software updater for that purpose is misleading *at best*.

    We do indeed have a commercial relationship with Google (and Yahoo, Answers, Amazon, Baidu, etc) — but there’s also an easy opt-out — switch the search engine, or don’t use it. But it was installed at the same time that Firefox was installed.

    I appreciate your point, but don’t believe that we’re talking about the same thing.

  9. Frankly, all browsers look alike to me! and I use browser all the time. I care less if it is IE, Safari or Firefox. What annoys me is this latest bout of “update managers”. There are things popping up on me every day – Java Update, Adobe update, Microsoft Vista updates, Sony VAIO (my laptop) updates, browser – to name a few. And then there are other reminders – virus, backup etc. etc. This is frankly annoying. I wish some one pays attention to overall customer experience when they keep popping up these alerts and reminders.

  10. I disagree here on one thing it’s not malware it’s a browser and a very useful one at that. i actually prefer it over firefox any day in my opinion it would not bother me one bit if it took over for IE. but as for it hurting a company like mozilla i doubt it seriously it’s been around far to long.

  11. Chuck, it’s interesting that you compare the search box default with Apple’s action. My opinion is that it’s perfectly fine to have a search box defaulting to a specific provider as long as it’s easy to change after setup.

    However I do remember the huge stink that Google raised about Internet Explorer 7 defaulting to Live Search, claiming that it was a potential antitrust violation even though the user could easily change it after setup. Even though IE’s had a “search default” ever since it shipped with the Search bar in IE4.

    So powerful was Google’s complaint (or, so weak was Microsoft) that Microsoft changed IE’s first-run experience so that you are required to specifically choose a search engine before you can continue using the browser. Of course, Google doesn’t mind that *Firefox* doesn’t prompt the user, since it’s defaulting to Google.

  12. Hmm. If you look at Firefox, you’ll notice, in the upper right hand corner, a search box that defaults to Google. Tell me, goes Google pay you to “push” this choice on the users? Can they opt out? Why is the search pre-defined, rather than letting the users set it when they first run the browser?

    The answer to these questions is that you have a commercial relationship with Google and pushing this search engine choice is done because you make money doing.

    A search engine is separate from a browser, just as iTunes and Safari are separate. I’ll grant the search engine and browser pairing is closer than itunes/safari, but the point remains.

    You are doing with Google the same thing for which you criticize Apple, and you’re doing it for the same reasons. I think it’s okay in either case, so long as the user has a clear and simple opt out. However, you might be a bit more restrained in the criticism since you’re guilty of the same behavior.

  13. Chuck, a few things I’ll point out: I don’t have any problem at all with Apple (or anyone) bundling products with other products. What I was articulating in my other piece is that using a software updater for that purpose is misleading *at best*.

    We do indeed have a commercial relationship with Google (and Yahoo, Answers, Amazon, Baidu, etc) — but there’s also an easy opt-out — switch the search engine, or don’t use it. But it was installed at the same time that Firefox was installed.

    I appreciate your point, but don’t believe that we’re talking about the same thing.

  14. … this safari is realy cool and fast – I love it!

  15. Chuck, it’s interesting that you compare the search box default with Apple’s action. My opinion is that it’s perfectly fine to have a search box defaulting to a specific provider as long as it’s easy to change after setup.

    However I do remember the huge stink that Google raised about Internet Explorer 7 defaulting to Live Search, claiming that it was a potential antitrust violation even though the user could easily change it after setup. Even though IE’s had a “search default” ever since it shipped with the Search bar in IE4.

    So powerful was Google’s complaint (or, so weak was Microsoft) that Microsoft changed IE’s first-run experience so that you are required to specifically choose a search engine before you can continue using the browser. Of course, Google doesn’t mind that *Firefox* doesn’t prompt the user, since it’s defaulting to Google.

  16. … this safari is realy cool and fast – I love it!

  17. Well, I like Firefox a lot, and I’m really happy I don’t have anything Apple on my Windows PC. Updates for something I DON’T need? This really makes me angry because iTunes holds people’s money— its how they buy songs. They could practically force people to buy stuff, or trick people into doing that. That may not sound like Apple, but it could still happen. Thanks for being honest, too.

  18. Well, I like Firefox a lot, and I’m really happy I don’t have anything Apple on my Windows PC. Updates for something I DON’T need? This really makes me angry because iTunes holds people’s money— its how they buy songs. They could practically force people to buy stuff, or trick people into doing that. That may not sound like Apple, but it could still happen. Thanks for being honest, too.

  19. I have always said the same thing about QuickTime and iTunes. I have always refused to install QuickTime, because it sneaks in an installation of iTunes, masquerading as an “Update”. I don’t want your iTunes, thank you very much, and I don’t want your Safari.

  20. Competition is a philosophy of death. When you compete, there are winners and a lot more… loosers. Creating a society on accepting that there will be loosers –and that this is good– is a failure. Cooperation, working together is a lot more interesting.

    On having choices, definitely agreed.

  21. John, I would like to see more cooperation. Has Mozilla done an honest evaluation of Webkit vs. Gecko, for instance? What if you determined Webkit was a better renderer? If that were the case, a lot more could be gained in the consumer interest by unifying behind Webkit and differentiating on UI features.

  22. I have always said the same thing about QuickTime and iTunes. I have always refused to install QuickTime, because it sneaks in an installation of iTunes, masquerading as an “Update”. I don’t want your iTunes, thank you very much, and I don’t want your Safari.

  23. Competition is a philosophy of death. When you compete, there are winners and a lot more… loosers. Creating a society on accepting that there will be loosers –and that this is good– is a failure. Cooperation, working together is a lot more interesting.

    On having choices, definitely agreed.

  24. John, I would like to see more cooperation. Has Mozilla done an honest evaluation of Webkit vs. Gecko, for instance? What if you determined Webkit was a better renderer? If that were the case, a lot more could be gained in the consumer interest by unifying behind Webkit and differentiating on UI features.

  25. I agree with John on this issue. Competition is good but not when its founded on the ignorance or the carelessness of users to not notice that they are installing a software they don’t really want (and if they have Firefox, they don’t really need).

  26. I agree with John on this issue. Competition is good but not when its founded on the ignorance or the carelessness of users to not notice that they are installing a software they don’t really want (and if they have Firefox, they don’t really need).

  27. hoopskier, you’re missing one very important point in your argument:

    Microsoft (almost) has a monopoly in the browser market. Using that monopoly to leverage another product (Live search) would be illegal.

    Firefox doesn’t have a monopoly, so there is nothing illegal about Firefox being used to “distribute” another product.

    You should also know that Firefox was defaulting to Google way before any commercial bonds were tied, simply because Google was at the time (and still is) the most popular search engine.

  28. Dylan: how do you judge “better” in rendering engines? Is there just one criteria? Or lots of different ones, such that one renderer might be better in one area, and another in another? If so, how do you combine them to make an overall decision?

    Also, who is “Mozilla” in your question? John is CEO of MoCo, but he doesn’t get to decide what rendering engine the Mozilla project uses for its browser. Even if MoCo decided to do a new Firefox based on Webkit, there’s no guarantee other project contributors would want to join in. It’s a free software project – unless you pay someone, you don’t get control of their time.

    But let’s bypass those massive problems with your point and, for the sake of argument, say that “Mozilla” had evaluated Webkit and found it “better”. Your argument would be that they should then switch. Do you have any idea how much work that would be? How much of Firefox would need to be rewritten? How long it would take? Would it be in the best interests of Firefox users for the developers to spend years doing something which basically put them back in roughly the same place they used to be?

  29. hoopskier, you’re missing one very important point in your argument:

    Microsoft (almost) has a monopoly in the browser market. Using that monopoly to leverage another product (Live search) would be illegal.

    Firefox doesn’t have a monopoly, so there is nothing illegal about Firefox being used to “distribute” another product.

    You should also know that Firefox was defaulting to Google way before any commercial bonds were tied, simply because Google was at the time (and still is) the most popular search engine.

  30. Dylan: how do you judge “better” in rendering engines? Is there just one criteria? Or lots of different ones, such that one renderer might be better in one area, and another in another? If so, how do you combine them to make an overall decision?

    Also, who is “Mozilla” in your question? John is CEO of MoCo, but he doesn’t get to decide what rendering engine the Mozilla project uses for its browser. Even if MoCo decided to do a new Firefox based on Webkit, there’s no guarantee other project contributors would want to join in. It’s a free software project – unless you pay someone, you don’t get control of their time.

    But let’s bypass those massive problems with your point and, for the sake of argument, say that “Mozilla” had evaluated Webkit and found it “better”. Your argument would be that they should then switch. Do you have any idea how much work that would be? How much of Firefox would need to be rewritten? How long it would take? Would it be in the best interests of Firefox users for the developers to spend years doing something which basically put them back in roughly the same place they used to be?

  31. Safari all the way baby…..what is Firefox anyway?…can i eat it?.

  32. Safari all the way baby…..what is Firefox anyway?…can i eat it?.

  33. Google is the father of Safari & Firefox, of course Opera too. Anyone want’s market share for more revenue. I’m pretty sure that if someone dislikes Safari (can uninstall it). Safari is a great browser and I like it (I’m not the only one). It’s fast, really fast has cool interface. I find it more cool than Firefox.

  34. Gervase: You ask a question with a lot more questions. I think, if you read between the lines, I’m making the point that competing renderers are not a good thing and moreover don’t really translate to user choice. You don’t see a browser yet that offers a choice of renderer (that I know of). But web developers care very much about these renderers, and that inevitably translates into the experience (good or bad) that we all experience on the web. Because it translates to market share.

    I make no such argument that anyone should switch to anything. I merely suggest that if, upon technical merit (which could be a lot of things, but primarily the ease of development and ability to deliver features) less fragmentation in browser development would probably be a good thing. In that, it would get everyone’s common goal of a superior IE replacement ahead further, faster. The economy of scale would be better.

    Microsoft is not sitting idly by anymore. There is a real risk that IE8 may erase much of the gains made by Firefox and other browsers in recent years.

    You may argue “how do you get open-source developers to do X, Y, Z” … I am and have been an open-source developer. It takes people like Lilly, Shuttleworth, et al to steer developers in the right direction. They can hire people and put them to work on an idea, something that the community can build on later. Starting a big idea from scratch is rarely something that is executed by lone open-source contributors; it takes some funding and full-time effort. But once something is there, you will see people jump in to work one whatever little bits are important to them.

    That even said, the amount of people who put work into these projects (eg Firefox) is still really really low. There’s an illusion out there that all over planet Earth there are all of these hobbyist hackers out there making everything happen. No, it’s really just a small handful of highly productive and overloaded developers doing most of the work. A lot of them are paid to do it.

    So in that sense, Mr. Lilly does have a lot of influence if he chooses to exercise it and get the conversation going. To some extent I think he’s doing that here.

    I’m not saying that WebKit is the right direction, but everyone coming together for a common renderer would be.

  35. Google is the father of Safari & Firefox, of course Opera too. Anyone want’s market share for more revenue. I’m pretty sure that if someone dislikes Safari (can uninstall it). Safari is a great browser and I like it (I’m not the only one). It’s fast, really fast has cool interface. I find it more cool than Firefox.

  36. Gervase: You ask a question with a lot more questions. I think, if you read between the lines, I’m making the point that competing renderers are not a good thing and moreover don’t really translate to user choice. You don’t see a browser yet that offers a choice of renderer (that I know of). But web developers care very much about these renderers, and that inevitably translates into the experience (good or bad) that we all experience on the web. Because it translates to market share.

    I make no such argument that anyone should switch to anything. I merely suggest that if, upon technical merit (which could be a lot of things, but primarily the ease of development and ability to deliver features) less fragmentation in browser development would probably be a good thing. In that, it would get everyone’s common goal of a superior IE replacement ahead further, faster. The economy of scale would be better.

    Microsoft is not sitting idly by anymore. There is a real risk that IE8 may erase much of the gains made by Firefox and other browsers in recent years.

    You may argue “how do you get open-source developers to do X, Y, Z” … I am and have been an open-source developer. It takes people like Lilly, Shuttleworth, et al to steer developers in the right direction. They can hire people and put them to work on an idea, something that the community can build on later. Starting a big idea from scratch is rarely something that is executed by lone open-source contributors; it takes some funding and full-time effort. But once something is there, you will see people jump in to work one whatever little bits are important to them.

    That even said, the amount of people who put work into these projects (eg Firefox) is still really really low. There’s an illusion out there that all over planet Earth there are all of these hobbyist hackers out there making everything happen. No, it’s really just a small handful of highly productive and overloaded developers doing most of the work. A lot of them are paid to do it.

    So in that sense, Mr. Lilly does have a lot of influence if he chooses to exercise it and get the conversation going. To some extent I think he’s doing that here.

    I’m not saying that WebKit is the right direction, but everyone coming together for a common renderer would be.

  37. Yes, it is good that we have alternative and always can choose between browsers (Safari, Firefox).

    It is easy to be confused with your previous post. I’m a fan of Apple consider the step with boosting Safari share with Windows Apple updates very provoke, but I also keep the installation as it is very useful browser. In the other way it is exactly case, when big competition is slowly getting third player additionally to Mozilla and IE.
    Good luck for you, since Safari and IE have advantage as they are going preinstalled with most popular OS.

  38. Yes, it is good that we have alternative and always can choose between browsers (Safari, Firefox).

    It is easy to be confused with your previous post. I’m a fan of Apple consider the step with boosting Safari share with Windows Apple updates very provoke, but I also keep the installation as it is very useful browser. In the other way it is exactly case, when big competition is slowly getting third player additionally to Mozilla and IE.
    Good luck for you, since Safari and IE have advantage as they are going preinstalled with most popular OS.

  39. I disagree here on one thing it's not malware it's a browser and a very useful one at that. i actually prefer it over firefox any day in my opinion it would not bother me one bit if it took over for IE. but as for it hurting a company like mozilla i doubt it seriously it's been around far to long.

  40. Creating a society on accepting that there will be loosers

  41. Yes Thats is a good idea. Thanks a lot

  42. Safari browser install on my computer because, I was not sure if it was a part of the iTunes update, or not. I agree that the installed product could be considered as melware. And now that I know that Safari is just another stand alone browser, that I did not want in the first place, I will get rid of it just like I would do to ALL melware. Further, Apple and Dennis; your attitude is sad, sad, sad.

  43. Thank you very much for this information. I like this site

  44. Hmm Like blogger sites.it would not bother me one bit if it took over for IE. but as for it hurting a company like mozilla i doubt it seriously it's been around far to long.

  45. I have always said the same thing about QuickTime and iTunes. I have always refused to install QuickTime, because it sneaks in an installation of iTunes, masquerading as an “Update”. I don't want your iTunes, thank you very much, and I don't want your Safari.
    reply

  46. Safari is just another stand alone browser, that I did not want in the first place, I will get rid of it just like I would do to ALL melware. Further, Apple and Dennis; your attitude is sad, sad, sad.

  47. We do indeed have a commercial relationship with Google (and Yahoo, Answers, Amazon, Baidu, etc) — but there's also an easy opt-out — switch the search engine, or don't use it. But it was installed at the same time that Firefox was installed.

  48. really thanks.I was looking for this kind of infos on the net.finally after my some search I found here.this article is the right place I search mostly.

  49. I disagree here on one thing it's not malware it's a browser and a very useful one at that. i actually prefer it over firefox any day in my opinion it would not bother me one bit if it took over for IE. but as for it hurting a company like mozilla i doubt it seriously it's been around far to long.

  50. I concur with Ed and you, John. Like Ed, I installed Safari because it was pre-selected by the Updater. Unlike Ed, I'll keep it because it's a useful browser.

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  52. Creating a society on accepting that there will be loosers

  53. thank yu

  54. I'll grant the search engine and browser pairing is closer than itunes/safari, but the point remains.

  55. thank you for great post

  56. Google Chrome isn't available for Linux yet. I'm running Ubuntu 8.04 sohbet on both of my laptops. Kind of surprising that Google is so gung-ho about open source software, chat but didn't release a version that runs on an open source OS. Has anyone seen a release date for a Linux version? oyun oyunlarFirefox 3 is quite fast and stable for me in Ubuntu. Plus, there are all the awesome addons. I don't see any other browser replacing Firefox as my primary browser.

  57. Yes, it is good that we have alternative and always can choose between browsers (Safari, Firefox).

  58. sohbet

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  60. Chuck, a few things I'll point out: I don't have any problem at all with Apple (or anyone) bundling products with other products

  61. Google Chrome isn't available for Linux yet. I'm running Ubuntu 8.04 Dizi izle on both of my laptops. Kind of surprising that Google is so gung-ho about open source software, Dizi but didn't release a version that runs on an open source OS. Has anyone seen a release date for a Linux version? Altın Fiyatları Dizi BloguFirefox 3 is quite fast and stable for me in Ubuntu. Plus, there are all the awesome addons. I don't see any other browser replacing Firefox as my primary browser.</div>

  62. For those of you thinking that if they implement this it will eliminate some of the waiting and lines…

  63. Fortunately, an hour on the Internet can net you hundreds of templates. Depending on the templates, you can install some as a package via Tools -> Extension Manage, and some individually by downloading the file and placing it in the ~/.openoffice.org2/user/template directory. To use a template, go to File -> New -> Templates and Documents, and scan.

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  64. Further, Apple and Dennis; your attitude is sad, sad, sad.

  65. How are you doing so far? Where is the greatest opportunity for marketers in countries other than the good ol' USA? Is it India, Brazil, China, Eastern Europe or somewhere else? estetik

  66. I appreciate your point, but don't believe that we're talking about the same thing.

  67. I disagree here on one thing it's not malware it's a browser and a very useful one at that. i actually prefer it over firefox any day in my opinion it would not bother me one bit if it took over for IE. but as for it hurting a company like mozilla i doubt it seriously it's been around far to long.

  68. Well, I like Firefox a lot, and I'm really happy I don't have anything Apple on my Windows PC. Updates for something I DON'T need? This really makes me angry because iTunes holds people's money— its how they buy songs. They could practically force people to buy stuff, or trick people into doing that. That may not sound like Apple, but it could still happen. Thanks for being honest, too.

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  70. Google Chrome isn't available for Linux yet. I'm running Ubuntu 8.04 sohbet on both of my laptops. Kind of surprising that Google is so gung-ho about open source software, chat but didn't release a version that runs on an open source OS. Has anyone seen a release date for a Linux version? oyun oyunlarFirefox 3 is quite fast and stable for me in Ubuntu. Plus, there are all the awesome addons. I don't see any other browser replacing Firefox as my primary browser.

  71. Google Chrome isn't available for Linux yet. I'm running Ubuntu 8.04 sohbet on both of my laptops. Kind of surprising that Google is so gung-ho about open source software, chat but didn't release a version that runs on an open source OS. Has anyone seen a release date for a Linux version? oyun oyunlarFirefox 3 is quite fast and stable for me in Ubuntu. Plus, there are all the awesome addons. I don't see any other browser replacing Firefox as my primary browser.