Is FireFox Netscape(d)?

I won’t bore everyone with the constant rehashing of the Netscape story.  If you haven’t heard the it in it’s totality, try google.  But I have noticed some similarities between FireFox and Netscape.

The most obvious and biggest similarity is the main competition.  Microsoft.  I’m beginning to believe that some people discard Microsoft simply because they don’t like the “Corporate Giant” feel of Microsoft.  The problem with that thinking is that Microsoft has a very large amount of money to throw at a problem.

Take Firefox for instance.  Not a great big problem, but all of a sudden Internet Explorer 7 beta comes out and works almost the same as Firefox and is almost as stable.  And it’s in beta.

So let me explain the way that Microsoft handles these things.  A threat like FireFox comes along and Microsoft notices immediately.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that they don’t.  They stay quiet about it, but they take that threat and disassemble it.  Study it piece by piece.  Take the bits and pieces that people like and re-engineer them.  Add them into their current software and viola!  Microsoft software is just as good as the competitor and it already has such a market share that it wins handily.  It happened to Netscape and it just may happen to Firefox.

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About Shane Ede

Shane Ede is an IT guy by day and a Entrepreneurial Blogger by night. You can follow him here on Thatedeguy or over on Twitter and Google+.


  1. Yeah, but you could also compare Firefox to Linux. Microsoft knew Linux was there but they decided that it wasn’t a threat. I believe if there is one thing Microsoft does badly it is underestimate the competition and overestimate their ability to crush them.

    Don’t underestimate the Mozilla foundations community backing and financial support. They don’t have to turn a profit for Firefox to continue existing unlike Netscape which makes them more dangerous then Microsoft could ever imagine.

    The other advantage Firefox has is that the justice department is still breathing down Microsoft’s neck over the whole monopolistic business practice lawsuit they got slapped with back in the day. It makes Microsoft more cautiuous of looking to much like a “giant evil corporation” and stomping on competition in market they completely control like internet browsers. I think it’s very possible that Firefox may sneak up on Microsoft when they’re distracted with Apple coming up behind them over the next 3 years.

    If I was Microsoft I’d be happy to le t Firefox sit at 10% market saturation. I’d figure that the less saavy internet users probably will never switch anyways. That was always true with Netscape and the internet sadly had more saavy users back in the day then it does now (quite a bit more, I can’t even tell you how much of the internet was hardcore nerds but its apparent to me that things have changed since then).

    But the most basic thing that occurs to me when I use IE7 beta is that it isn’t as stable as Firefox on any of the machines I’ve tried it on. It still picks up spyware like a pro and it still lacks many of the useful features and lack of bloatware that firefox has.

  2. You make some very good points. However, I believe that MS has begun to do the same things with windows and integrate some of the linux and OSX features into windows. When Vista is released, it will be interesting to see how the market shares fluctuate. The other thing to look at is that 99% of computer users will use what is pre-installed on the machine. Which is why IE has the market share that it does. The justice department may have a hand in changing that and that could cause a change in the market share for the browser market.

  3. I don’t believe that MS attempting to add features to Windows indicates that they will do it correctly or well. We’ve seen in the past how they overpromise and underdeliver on quite a few features that Apple and Linux do well.

    As for Firefox share probably realistically more like 90% of people use the browser their machine came with. But then early adopters and market influencers (Basically us) have a great deal of effect on what people use. And don’t forget that Dell is planning on shipping Firefox preinstalled on its machines next year.

  4. hmmm… I actually hadn’t heard that bit about dell. That will make things interesting.