Mozilla quietly announced the sudden end of support and updates for Firefox 4. Firefox 5 looks good and should be a great upgrade for lots of users. Except anyone that needs the old version. Like business customers. What about those who ‘just’ moved to the new version? Or those who have been planning a move for some time?
I spent nearly ten years going around the world talking about the browser market and helping business customers adopt new versions of Internet Explorer. Part of my presentation focused on the multi-year browser support offered by Microsoft, and it’s a big reason enterprise customers use their browser. It’s important to know the technology choice you made won’t go away too fast when making a ‘big bet’ on software used every day and exposed to routine threats from the Internet. Everyone likes knowing there is a group standing behind a product in the event you need help. People love getting a warranty … it makes them feel, well, supported. Best Buy made a business along these lines to help guard against you picking a technology that’s no longer what you want to have.
Supporting old web browsers is hard and expensive. Threats evolve and old application paradigms just weren’t meant for today’s Internet. Most of the time, the updates to older browsers are security updates, not new feature releases. When browser vendors want to adopt new innovations or new features, it’s just more logical to release a new version. I see where Mozilla is trying to go, and think they are doing the right thing for their product.
The problem is that they are not matching the pace of change in business customers. Asa Dotzler was pretty clear that Mozilla isn’t focused on enterprise customers – even if enterprises want to use Firefox. Part of the reason I started Browsium was because I believe there is a great deal of ‘whitespace’ in the browser market to control and manage browsers in ways that aren’t practical for the vendors to build themselves or don’t line up with internal objectives. What we’re doing with UniBrows is a perfect example of how we are positioned to help both sides win here.
We’re seeing an increasing number of business customers using Firefox (not always their primary browser, but at least available on the corporate desktop image). Posts like this one make it clear that more and more business customers are looking to adopt Firefox. I’d like to tell John, and others like him, that we’re here to help with their quagmire. We can give you the confidence you need to plan and adopt browser technology on your schedule, and not worry about compromising security while you’re at it.
Our Web Application Continuity approach is built around containment. Using this approach we’re able to help customers safely isolate legacy browser code while adopting the latest technology. While UniBrows is focused on Internet Explorer today, we have plans to use our patent pending technology with Firefox and Chrome.
The Browsium team is actively working on our 2nd generation technology to better support additional browser engines and browsers. I would invite anyone stuck in the ‘deployment dilemma’ to download and evaluate UniBrows to see how we can help you take control of browsers in your environment.