Does Mozilla's Response to Enterprises Focused on Firefox Go Far Enough?

by Sam Dean - Sep. 26, 2011Comments (0)

As we reported back in June, while many users applaud the rapid release cycle that Mozilla announced for the Firefox browser back in February, not all IT administrators are among the fans. It's easy for consumers to forget that businesses have much more stringent requirements for accepting new applications of all sorts, including browsers, into mainstream use. There are security concerns, compatibility concerns, and more. Mozilla officials have already announced that they take the protests from the IT community seriously, and have a working group focused on delivering Extended Support Releases (ESRs) specifically for businesses that want to use Firefox. Do these efforts from Mozilla go far enough, though?

As Joe Brockmeier writes, on the topic:

"One one hand, you have to give Mozilla credit for trying to address enterprise problems. However, it's clear that Mozilla isn't focused on the enterprise and it's arguable that enterprise demands are a distraction. Mozilla is a project trying to meet the needs of hundreds of millions of 'regular' users. Enterprises that want rigorous testing and long product life cycles typically have to pay for the privilege, even when you're talking about open source software....But the effort required to support enterprises or other large organizations that demand longer product lifecycles is disproportionate to the benefit that Mozilla will derive from offering the ESRs."

Although Microsoft has been steadily losing browser market share to open source browser makers, the company does focus heavily on the needs of enterprise users, and that remains a reason why some businesses won't allow any browsers other than Internet Explorer. As Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox continue to duke it out in the market share wars, Mozilla is going to have to deliver some kind of solution that is meaningful for businesses.

IT administrators are notoriously suspicious of open source software for what they perceive as security shortcomings, lack of support and documentation, and more. So Mozilla's challenge in wooing enterprises over to Firefox is a multi-faceted one. Look for this to remain an issue in the browser battles, but also look for Mozilla to come up with an appropriate response as the challenge of balancing business needs with rapid releases sinks in.

John Mark Walker uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


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