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Mozilla jumps the shark

When a company like Opera complains about Microsoft, I sort of get it. No one uses this browser on PCs, and no one ever will. (Indeed, Opera was the last "major" browser maker to stop trying to charge for its product, despite the fact that every single OS has come with a free Web browser preinstalled by default for well over a decade.) (And, please, dear God, please. Don't try to argue that Opera's share is low because the browser reports itself as a different browser. No one uses Opera. No one. There are more Safari users, for crying out loud.)

When the European Union complains about Microsoft's bundling of IE, I don't get it. The US has already curbed Microsoft's anti-competitive behavior quite nicely, thank you very much, and as noted above, every single OS sold or given away today comes with a free Web browser. Asking Microsoft to remove theirs is anti-competitive, pure and simple. People are sophisticated enough to download a new browser if they want one. Let's just be honest about that.

But when Mozilla--the one company that has made very serious market share gains against Microsoft recently--agrees with the EU and with Opera that Microsoft's Web browser abuses of 1995-2000 are still very real and ongoing, and that they will help the EU in their case against the software giant, I think it's time to drag out an increasingly tired statement: Mozilla has jumped the shark.

This saddens me. I use and recommend Mozilla Firefox and feel that it is the best browser out there.

It's free, by the way. And it jumped from 18 percent usage share in May 2008 to 21 percent by the end of last year. This despite the "bundling" of IE with Windows. (And, presumably, the "bundling" of Safari with Mac OS X. Oh, and did I mention that Firefox is "bundled" with virtually every Linux distribution there is?) In other words, the usage share for Firefox in the Web browser market is over double what the usage share is for the Mac is (in the US) in the PC market. And no one ever gets tired of talking up Apple's successes. Firefox is over twice as successful as the Mac (from a usage share perspective). And it took less than half the time.

So. Looking ahead, I need to think things through. Will IE 8 be good enough that I can simply abandon a product that is made by a corporation I simply cannot support? Perhaps. Is this issue big enough to force me to actually make a stand? It just may be.

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