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Mozilla Not Worried About Google Browser

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In response to today’s news that Google is releasing its own browser, code-named Chrome, I decide to call John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla Corp., the folks behind the fast-growing Firefox browser. My intention was to find out what Lilly thought about this development, especially since Mozilla has been viewed as close personal partner of Google’s.

The open-source browser maker depends heavily on a lucrative financial deal it has signed with the search company. The pair recently renewed the deal to last through 2011. Was Lilly worried about yet another browser in the market? [digg=]

After all, the emergence of Linux has had an equally deflationary impact on the UNIX market. Can a Google browser, promoted on Google homepage and pushed through Google’s mobile OS, become a sticky wicket for Mozilla Firefox?

“We collaborate with them on a bunch of things and we have a financial relationship,” Lilly says. “So there is another browser and that makes for a more competitive world. Of course we would have to compete.”

Given that Microsoft still controls about 72 percent of the browser market, Google can’t afford to leave that business to chance. Web is its business, and the browser is a necessary weapon for the company. “It is not surprising that they are doing a browser. Google does many things (servers, energy) that touch their business,” he said. “They feel that they can make a better browser by starting from scratch…advances in browsers are good.”

Lilly pointed out that most of the other browser vendors — Microsoft, Apple and now Google — have other businesses and thus another agenda. For Mozilla, Firefox was the only agenda. “Our only agenda is to make web better — it is our single mission,” Lilly says. With over 200 million users worldwide and a development team made up mostly of volunteers, Lilly says he isn’t worried about Chrome just yet. “I really don’t know how it will impact us,” he says.

He is right to take a wait-and-see attitude. For one, browser market share doesn’t change overnight. Google, despite its awesome reach, has a history of launching products that tend to lose steam. It has yet to hit home runs that rival its search and contextual advertising businesses.

Not having seen Chrome, I will withhold any final judgement myself, but I would look at the privacy implications of Chrome very, very carefully. I have long since stopped buying into the “do no evil” drivel the company keeps espousing.

This tussle between Mozilla and Google is going to get more gripping in coming years. Mozilla has a services strategy — Project Weave — that could eventually compete with Google’s suite of services. Whatever it is, it seems like Mozilla is ready for the challenge. And just when we thought the world of browsers was getting boring.

You can download Google Chrome from here when it becomes available.

Related Posts:

* GigaOM Interview with John Lilly, CEO, Mozilla Corp.
* Browser wars again.
* John Lilly on The GigaOM Show.

Photo of John Lilly by Joi via Flickr.

102 Responses to “Mozilla Not Worried About Google Browser”

  1. Mozilla should be very afraid. Like mentioned above, the amateurs use IE who have no technical knowledge how to change browsers or are so accustomed to IE that they prefer to stay and consequently probably have lots of trojans and spyware on their machines. Those tech savvy folks have traditionally upgraded to Firefox but now have the option of Chrome.

  2. Unless I’m mistaken the Mozilla Corp (wholly-owned by the Foundation) doesn’t actually need to make money, so market share and blah blah blah that we talk about for all other tech firms doesn’t apply to them. I think that’s why Lilly is not worried.

  3. Sorry to see so many MS bashers. All hoping that Gates is somehow dethroned, by the next giant Google, without any thought that the next monster will only be stronger, smarter and more sly in how they slowly borg your way of life. I think (I was always against this) that we need or will see coming a regulated web. When players like Google start to slowly conquer everything web, and it seems almost everything is done via the web, heck Google is trying to take the Ad Agency/Marketing industry to task as well, we will see a slow awakening, that this morning Google owns all the access and flows of monies to the web.

    I for one think that Google stuck it up the arse of FireFox, and is flipping them a big bird. The press conference yesterday showed a lot of arrogance.

  4. Google won’t buy Firefox. There’s no need, and Mozilla won’t take it. Everything that is Chrome is open source, that means that Firefox could basically be rewritten to be a clone of Chrome, or just take the elements it could use the most (multi-proc, java vm), and add them to Firefox, making it a metric shitton better. What I see happening more than anything is that this will put MS in a snip. Here you have Google, the behemoth. Then you have Firefox, crazy like a…well, you know. Then you have Microsoft. Google and Firefox begin to build on each other. They become the greatest Gecko and Webkit browsers ever created. Where’s that leave Microsoft? What kind of innovation can they have? Ultra-fast Java VM? That would be tits for MS! Oh wait! They’d have to open-source that element or find something of their own. And with the number of people who want Firefox or Google to be on top, there’s no one but the hired monkeys at Redmond. That gives Google and Firefox the edge. Moreover it gives open source the edge. I would go so far as to say it even gives _freedom_ the edge. Firefox worried about Chrome? No. Firefox and Chrome will live in peace together and fuel each other’s flames. Microsoft will be pushed out of the way.

  5. Holy crap, if he’s not scared he shouldn’t be CEO.

    Your primary revenue source has moved into your space. It’s one of the biggest, fastest growing companies in the world, and they didn’t choose your technology to build on. Their comic shows an arrogance and superiority and foresight that you were never able to bring, despite being “focused” on the browser. Not only that, they have written a faster javascript vm than anyone else, have the smartest engineers, and can advertise their own browser to your customers.

    Nah, no need to be worried.

  6. A dawn of a new era? — There’s definitely not a soul who doesn’t know about the decade long microsoft and google rivalry. Both of these huge goliaths having been constanly pushing themselves to their limits to totally conquer the computer and internet industry. I think I’ll stick with firefox till Chrome moves in and out of beta.

  7. Tech Roach

    Even though I’m a Firefox enthusiast, I’m waiting for this new browser since Firefox is DEAD SLOW in Ubuntu.

    No kidding man. Its really slow in scrolling and freezes occasionally. I tried it in different systems. Mozilla has a lot of work to do with Gecko which sucks in Linux.

    I always wanted a Webkit browser since its faster. Good go, Google! :)

  8. Ref to: Lilly pointed out that most of the other browser vendors — Microsoft, Apple and now Google — have other businesses and thus another agenda. For Mozilla, Firefox was the only agenda. “Our only agenda is to make web better — it is our single mission,” Lilly says. With over 200 million users worldwide and a development team made up mostly of volunteers, Lilly says he isn’t worried about Chrome just yet. “I really don’t know how it will impact us,” he says….

    Well, this is my take:
    I also do not know. Neither do I care. As long as my life online gets better. That is all there is in it for me. FOR NOW…..

  9. And the other webkit based browser is having a lot of success on the desktop … NOT !(inspite of getting IE like default status)

    Chrome needs to innovate to get some marketshare because It does not have the distribution power ms or apple has. Honestly even though the browser wars are on again, It is questionable on what kind of innovation Google can bring to the game.

    Safari is backed by a very very innovative company and yet on the desktop its reach is negligible. Unless google does something amazing (technical or business) with chrome like it did with gmail, Chrome will rightfully be a wait and see.

  10. This seems like a crazy move by Google. I can only hope the browser has Gecko or Webkit as its base engine. We don’t need or want another browser to support as developers. Users need to see more consistency in design.

    The move is also odd as it wont take users away from IE but will more than likely reduce Mozilla and Operas share of the market. People who use IE are either forced to or have no idea that they have other options. this wont change.

  11. What is so puzzling is that they chose to debut it the day after the Summer holiday.

    Also, just a three days ago, it was announced that Mozilla had renewed an agreement with Google Inc. that pays them for assigning Google’s search engine as Firefox’s default through November 2011.

    So did Mozilla have any idea this would happen mere days after the agreement.

    Also, was this a strategic launching by Google to prevent negotiations from breaking down.

    Interesting strategy – and they managed to keep it all secret.

    But unlike previous leaks, they leaked this to Blogoscoped instead of WSJ or Techcruch

  12. javascript is an important component of google’s vision, and it will play a prominent role in loosening the grip of windows. chrome is a performance play to elevate the language and its potential.

    this makes a lot of sense for google.

  13. This will be another application .. in Beta …for another 3 years.
    1. Firefox is used by many techies. now they will ebrace ..Chrome probably ditching FireFox. Firefox will go down in market stare. and IE will have probably not so noticeable … slow down. and for share of safari one really cares .
    2. IE wise . though IE8 is still slower than FF . one advantage for IE is many websites are still IE dependent.
    3. Chrome – the name not so appealing to the masses . specs look good though , making it fastest to start , browse and close.
    4 . dont do evil to FireFox.

  14. @Om,

    Agreed. However, I will say this. IMO, Google’s recent woes are results of their “brand betrayal”… ie. their entrance into questionable markets (Froogle, Lively, and possibly Knol), and not their failure to execute and develop quality software. This latest venture is in no way questionable as it’s an interface into core business. Your point is very well taken though. It’ll be interesting to watch it all unfold.

  15. I assume that Firefox’s core constituency consists of tech geeks and early adopters. That said, Google’s browser should strike a chord with that very same demographic and will pose a serious issue to Mozilla. This is in slight contrast to IE which is still supported by mainstream, less technical web users. Maybe Mozilla isn’t scared, but they should be. Remember Netscape?….barely.