July 19, 2005 10:17 AM PDT

Mozilla: IE 7 to boost Firefox growth

The Mozilla Foundation is expecting to see a surge in interest in the Firefox browser from enterprise users once Microsoft launches Internet Explorer 7 next year.

IE 7, which will be available in beta this summer, will not be available to users of Windows 2000.

Asa Dotzler, the community coordinator at the Mozilla Foundation, said Tuesday that he hopes to attract many corporate Windows 2000 users to the Firefox browser, since they will be unable to take advantage of the improvements in IE 7.

"We have high hopes that we'll do better and better in (the enterprise) space with Windows 2000 users," Dotzler said. "We're excited about Microsoft launching IE 7--it will remind a lot of people that if they want better features they have to spend hundreds of dollars upgrading" to Windows XP.

Nearly half of all Windows-based business desktops are still using Windows 2000, according to a recent survey by AssetMetrix, meaning that there is a big market for the Mozilla Foundation to tap into.

Firefox 1.1, which is due for release this month, will include a range of features to encourage companies to migrate to the open-source browser, including an auto-update and preference locking feature.

The auto-update system, which Dotzler described as a "world-class update system," will allow users to automatically install patches and updates, rather than needing to reinstall Firefox each time an update is released. Version 1.1 will also include improved tools to lock down browser preferences, he said.

Improvements in Firefox, along with IE 7, could lead to a dramatic increase in the open-source browser's market share, according to Dotzler. "As we improve our tools for corporate deployments and people feel they're being left behind on Windows 2000, hopefully we'll see a real domino effect," he said.

ZDNet UK also spoke to Dotzler about the history of Firefox and Mozilla, the rise of Firefox in the enterprise, future marketing campaigns and how the Mozilla Foundation plans to target less tech-savvy consumers. Get his take on Firefox's and Mozilla's history here, and read the full interview with Dotzler here.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.

24 comments

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There's something about FF
That makes me actually look forward to a new version, like for few products in recent years. Upgrading from Office 2000 to 2K3 - pointless hassle forced by Exchange upgrades at work. Getting the next firefox with features like locking down preferences for public computers - that's something awesome.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS shouldn't be that worried
...I mean, come on! They make billions of dollars, and a free app like IE which already has a large peice of the pie doesn't make them worry. As long as they make it a significant part of each Windows release, they will continue to hold their share of the pie. Unless Linux gains more momentum.
I like Firefox. Great browser. At least they do stuff to it unless IE who sat on it for over five years.
Posted by (20 comments )
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they should be
firefox was the reason i switched to linux. once you have a taste of open source you want more, MORE!

okay, went nuts. IE isn't about profit, it's about locking everyone into the Microsoft Internet instead of an open, free internet. they held 95% of the internet browsers which meant they could do what they liked. the imminent release of IE7 was caused by firefox and the momentum it gained. IE is forced on people which is why nobody like it. firefox represents openness and freedom which is the reason many site are advertising it (even porn sites, so i've heard...)
Posted by Scott W (419 comments )
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"world-class" update system?
You must be kidding me......all major software companies are already doing "world-class" update system, and Mozilla is boasting about it NOW? Don't you think it is way too late? And why do corporations want to upgrade their Windows 2000 to XP and not to Longhorn? Not to mention some people are getting all excited just because FireFox has been "downloaded" for few million times. My suggestion: people who have nothing to do in their lives can just sit in front of their computer 24/7 and download FireFox again and again and again. As long as they are happy :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
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Firefox will only continue to grow...
As long as they keep updating their software with new features, something Microsoft has failed to do with IE. If Firefox can build a strong user base now with the corporations and home users, they'll most likely stay with Firefox when the upgrade to newers OS'. WHEN/IF I update to Longhorn from XP, I'm still not using IE. Viva la Firefox!
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Link Flag
Why not?
Since when has everybody been having "world class update systems"? I think he is talking about version upgrades and extension upgrades, not the stupid auto-patch installation on Windoze.

Forget about auto-upgrades, the IE team sat on
their ass on IE for five years even without a manual upgrade. What gives?

People with no work can sit in front of their Windoze boxes, while their system is being infected with viruses. Then you can auto-download patches and keep rebooting, with nothing else to do.
Posted by pythonhacker (71 comments )
Link Flag
Why upgrade to Longhorn?
You can't buy vaporware, and when it is released it will have features that have been available to others for years, yet MS will tout it as 'new'.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
How to shoot yourself in the foot, Microsoft-style
Microsoft has no one to blame but themselves for this situation. If they hadn't insinuated, er uh, "integrated" Internet Explorer in to the operating system, they wouldn't have any trouble updating an older o.s. like Windows 2000. IE is a web browser - an application, NOT a core operating system component! Microsoft spouted that "right to innovate" b.s. at every turn, but anyone with half an ounce of brains saw right through the lie and recognized it as nothing more than an attempt to stifle competition. Now they're using IE 7 to coerce people into upgrading to Windows XP. At least half of Windows' security problems are because of IE's roots in the o.s. foundation, and now it's coming back to bite Microsoft (and all Windows users) in the *ss.
Posted by Get_Bent (534 comments )
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You don't understand corporations
Corporations want LESS frequent versions and updates, not more. Microsoft would be happy releasing (and selling) a new Windows or IE every six monts. But that's exactly what corporations have asked them to stop doing. They want stable configurations for long periods of time. A change (ANY change) requires testing, homologation, deployment (which frequently takes years on large companies even if automated), training, help desk adaptation, documentation, etc., so companies would rather live without some ultra cool features than upgrade frequently.
Also, keep in mind that the acquisition cost of software is a very minor piece of the cost of an IT department (in most cases well under 10%), so buying vs. downloading is an irrelevant factor, what matters to companies is trust and reliability. And despite all the hype, facts show that Firefox does not have an advantage there.
MS has adapted to companies. Others (such as Mozilla) have not.
Maybe end users are crazy about upgrading their machines every week, but corporations and large companies don't see that as cost efficient.
Posted by Hernys (744 comments )
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MS Doesn't Have Anything to Worry About Just Yet
I think this article fails to mention the fact that many corporate intranet websites require the use of IE for some reason or another. Our firm's intranet requires us to run IE so we can access critical information and applications.

I don't see this 'Massive Firefox Adoption' happening just yet for these IE dependancy reasons, but I do believe Microsoft will need to keep in mind for its legacy users that FireFox is a great alternative. If corporations build their intranets to 'web standards', MS will have a small problem to worry about.

Brad Gessler
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.bradgessler.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.bradgessler.com/</a>
Posted by (1 comment )
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yes, but..
This will get corporations to look outside of MS and find better alternatives that don't lock them in and don't try to force upgrades.

Moving to MS crap, is an expensive mistake that many corporations made. Moving away from it, will be initially expensive but will save a ton of money down the road. Of course, most businessmen can't see past the current quarter.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
Ha ha
Another locked in user/company to proprietry crap. Someone didn't plan things very well.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
Auto-update sounds very familiar...
I only hope that it won't be needed to often with all of the problems coming from Firefox lately.
Posted by rmccabe916 (46 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Another choice for w2k users
Great browser features and much more can be easily accessed at the free for life personal online desktop service <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.cosmopod.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.cosmopod.com</a>
Posted by iqula (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
When is "this summer"?
Dear author,

Not everyone lives in the US.

Regards,
World.
Posted by 202578300049013666264380294439 (137 comments )
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