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Gartner Says it's a 2-Browser World 409

prostoalex writes "In its advisory to the IT managers Gartner says that even though the factors that drive the current Firefox growth are not sustainable, IT departments better get used to a two-browser world. "Concerns about security currently favor Mozilla Foundation's Firefox, but the market tide can shift if security breaches result from increased usage of Firefox", says Gartner and ZDNet adds that "Microsoft must deliver an improved version of its browser in Longhorn if it is to "determine the outcome" of the browser war.""
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Gartner Says it's a 2-Browser World

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  • New & Improved (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:29PM (#11608653) Homepage Journal
    "Microsoft must deliver an improved version of its browser in Longhorn if it is to "determine the outcome" of the browser war.""


    Improved is such a generalization, and it will be interpreted and realized in that manner. Microsoft will undoubtably continue to bundle more crap into it, tie proprietary formats to it, ignore generally accepted practices of composition (delivering their own, which break pages on rival browsers, a la the Opera Bork-Bork-Bork fiasco), uselessly incorporate it into all their product lines (regarless if it makes any sense, i.e. XBox 3, all games played through a browser) and continue with the practice of patenting and copyrighting everything they can think of to fend off competition.

    We've seen all this before.

    "isn't that another tentacle around your throat?"
    "yes, but it's an improved tentacle and i'm certain i feel better about it than the last one."

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:33PM (#11608706)
      "isn't that another tentacle around your throat?"
      "yes, but it's an improved tentacle and i'm certain i feel better about it than the last one."

      Let me guess, this is some anime reference I'm not getting.

    • It's time for Microsoft to admit that ActiveX is a bad idea, and needs to be done away with. Even with their new secure way of handling content in the browswer with XP SP2, it's still a problem. In IE 5 you could turn it off, in IE6 you can't.

      It's time to dump ActiveX.
      • Actually you can turn off ActiveX in IE6 under the Security tab of Internet Options, but you have to click the "Custom Level" button to see all the options.
  • Longhorn... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Evil W1zard ( 832703 )
    Is that the same Longhorn that was supposed to have such high level requirements for operation that no current system can run it. I would guess that it is going to cost a fortune so it better have a better browser!
    • Is that the same Longhorn that was supposed to have such high level requirements for operation that no current system can run it

      Perhaps they're already testing it on cell processors... :P
    • I ran longhorn beta on my P3 800 Mghtz, with 512 ram, scsi hard drive, scsi dvd rom so which longhorn are you talking about?
      • Ahhh yes, but here's a list of the stuff that you don't have that longhorn will require once released:

        Markup-Chip Demodulator
        Andium coated flux capacitor
        DXRDG Drive
        Enough Keltic Cycles

        Ultimate Power Booster
        Process Certification
    • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:59PM (#11609040) Homepage Journal
      What was reported as the "minimum requirements" were actually the "expected average new system". It shouldn't be the least surprising that the average new system in 2006 is rather better than a top-end system today.

      I don't actually know the minimum requirements for Longhorn. I do know that it will require a lot of horsepower and a high-end video card, because they're playing catchup with OS X (both in terms of eye candy and in terms of useful features such as Expose').

      So I expect that Longhorn will run perfectly well on today's mid- to high-end systems, since they're trying to take advantage of video power currently going unused. Today's bottom-range systems may not run it at all, or will do so pokily.
      • It's 2005 today...

        So in a year, a top end system of today will be less functional then an average system from a year from now?

        We live in two worlds very different worlds or at least we have different definitions of a top end system.

        My top end system of a year ago is still leagues better then today's average desktop PC. It will be slightly more humble in a year and in need of a major gamers overhaul in a year.
        • It's 2005 today, but it's still earily in 2005. Back in April 2004, MS said (and I'm quoting Microsoft Watch [], which is where a the hoo-rah started):

          Microsoft is expected to recommend that the "average" Longhorn PC feature a dual-core CPU running at 4 to 6GHz; a minimum of 2 gigs of RAM; up to a terabyte of storage; a 1 Gbit, built-in, Ethernet-wired port and an 802.11g wireless link; and a graphics processor that runs three times faster than those on the market today.

          So that's what Microsoft Watch says Mi
    • Re:Longhorn... (Score:4, Informative)

      by lullabud ( 679893 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:59PM (#11609049) Homepage
      Ah, yes, I remember. That was the same Longhorn that was planned to have a Database Filesystem (WinFS), but it had to be removed in order to facillitate a 2006 release schedule of the OS, and a ~2008 release of the Filesystem. Meanwhile other people (Apple) have already got their implementation (Spotlight) running smoothly. I wonder if MS will ever realize that they can't do everything and do it well, especially when they go off and ignore standards, and definitely not in a timely manner. 2006... IE still won't be standards compliant though, and it will still be full of holes, and it will still only run in Windows.
  • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:30PM (#11608673)
    So which one is country and which is western?
    • So which one is country and which is western?

      Simple: Country is where you whine about your dead wife, Western is where you talk about how you shot your wife.

      Johnny Cash - Delia's Gone

      Delia, oh. Delia
      Delia all my life
      If I hadn't shot poor Delia
      I'd have had her for my wife
      Delia's gone, one more round
      Delia's gone

      I went up to Memphis
      And I met Delia there
      Found her in her parlor
      And I tied to her chair
      Delia's gone, one more round
      Delia's gone

      She was low and trifiling
      And she was cold and mean
      Kind of evil make
  • No surprise ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chris09876 ( 643289 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:32PM (#11608702)
    I don't think this article said anything useful. Clearly MS has to offer at least something if they want to remain in the browser market. It's taking time, but Firefox is gaining more and more ground.

    It's not a bad thing if Microsoft wants to innovate with their web browser - more competition is a good thing. It will make everyone's internet experience better. Having two competing browsers is definitely a better playing field than just one monopolistic browser.
    • I don't think this article said anything useful.

      I think it's an important message that a Microsoft kiss-ass is acknowledging the existence of a competitor.

    • Re:No surprise ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RealAlaskan ( 576404 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:41PM (#11608813) Homepage Journal
      I don't think this article said anything useful.

      It was a Gartner article. Have they ever said anything useful? Clueless articles for clueless dweebs who are looking for CYA material.

      • Re:No surprise ... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gad_zuki! ( 70830 )
        Pray tell, what is wrong with CYA?

        Now you have an established and respected source (at least to those who are in charge) pretty much putting every IT department in the world in the position of, "Code only for IE and you ass is on the line." When the higher ups find out they are losing 7-10% of their customers because of that active-x plug-in or non-standard html/javascript the CIO and the gang can't plea ignorance anymore. This is good for standards.
  • by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:33PM (#11608709)
    The first 10% share of the browser market is easy. To get any more than that will be very difficult. Difficulty further enhanced by actions Microsoft may take.

    No need to read article now.
    • by chris_mahan ( 256577 ) <> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:42PM (#11608832) Homepage
      Nah, actually, the first 10% is the hardest. Once 10% of the people (and that's a 60 million people or so out of 600,000,000 computer users) know about a product, it becomes mainstream enough for most people to feel confortable trying it. most people are sheep and don't want to get in front where the wolves are. (nothing wrong with this strategy by the way)
      • Nah, actually, the first 10% is the hardest. Once 10% of the people (and that's a 60 million people or so out of 600,000,000 computer users) know about a product, it becomes mainstream enough for most people to feel confortable trying it. most people are sheep and don't want to get in front where the wolves are. (nothing wrong with this strategy by the way)

        True. It's like the saying, "the first million dollars is the hardest".

        As to what the article said about Firefox's growth being unsustainable. Ha

      • The first 10% is easy. There are a lot of people who will gladly jump onto the latest and greatest.

        The last 50% is also easy. Most people will 'follow the herd' and just keep using whatever everyone else is using, without really giving it much though.

        In the 20-50% zone, there is an 'acceptance gap'. In here there is a 'critical mass' - the people who want to change, but need to 'stay compatible' with their offices, the die-hards who don't want to change, and will actively try to prevent the wider adopt
    • Seems like the opposite might also be true, though. The first 10% is hard because no one has heard of your product and so web developers don't code their pages to support it and IT people won't standardize on it. 10%, though, means a substantial presence in the hearts and minds of users, and once you get there, don't be surprised if things snowball.
    • The first 10% share of the browser market is easy. To get any more than that will be very difficult. Difficulty further enhanced by actions Microsoft may take.

      Microsoft will not repeat the Netscape mistake. Mozilla and Firefox are good for them because they can claim they no longer have a monopoly (and giving away browsers for free is okay). After all, browsers are no threat to Microsoft's main revenue sources.
      • by rednip ( 186217 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:04PM (#11609105) Journal
        After all, browsers are no threat to Microsoft's main revenue sources.
        Microsoft feared Netscape because as people start to use their browser for online services such as mail, or office programs, it wouldn't matter what OS they use. Today there are many sites which 'need' MS Explorer, if your online bank is such a site, you would 'need' to have a Microsoft OS (if you wanted to see your statement).
    • The first 10% (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:54PM (#11608983) Homepage Journal
      I think that's backwards. The first 10% is next to impossible, because until you get some serious market share, nobody takes you seriously.

      For all its advantages, Firefox growth is driven mainly by the way Microsoft keeps tripping over its own feet when responding to security issues. It's not so much that they were careless in designing the browser to begin with. What hurts them is that they can't seem to keep up with the problem. Patches take forever, and often introduce new problems. And many people can't even install the patches! IT people are looking at Firefox simply because they can't continue to live with Internet Explorer.

      I just had a thought. I've long suspected that the IE codebase is a real mess, and may have already reached "critical mass", where every bug fix creates, on average, more than one new bug. If Firefox's challenge to IE's supremacy ever becomes an issue, MS will have to consider a scorched-earth strategy: abandon the IE codebase and build a new browser from scratch. A horribly expensive strategy, but then MS can afford it.

  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:34PM (#11608719)
    What, so if Longhorn has a super cool browser the browser wars are "over" and MS won?

    This is a "war" that isn't going away. Ever. (Well... until something supercedes browsers)

    • Yeah, I thought that was interesting, too.

      This isn't ever going to be "over" because even if Goodger and his band of merry maintainers get ticked off and give up, the code is still out there, and it's still open source! Anyone and everyone willing to comply with the license has the freedom to fork their own version and do their own thing with it.

      In a very real sense, that's Microsoft's biggest obstacle here - the fact that there is no controlling entity to buy off/defeat/take over/etc, because open s
    • Yes. Very interesting that such a dumb statement wasn't caught by Gartner in review, isn't it? It's almost in O'Gara/Enderle/Didio territory - one hopes not for similar reasons.

      (The point is of course that any new OS is adopted gradually, so the suggestion that MS's position can be improved via the channel of Longhorn is ludicrous).
  • 2 browsers? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entouchable ( 843858 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:35PM (#11608730)
    consider ways to manage browser coexistence because that is the most likely long-term outcome:

    Maybe 2 browser engines world.. But with AOL Browser coming out (who has its own userbase already) And Netscape 8, and continued development on firefox, and IE, and continued development on opera, two browsers seems like a bit of a stretch, two major browsers even seems like a stretch in the not so distant future..
  • not that I use it but know that quite a few do. Wouldn't
    the more sensible approach be to avoid all browser specific
    hacks? You would think that would make every IT depts life
    a heck of a lot easier.

    • Re:Bummer for Opera (Score:3, Informative)

      by dougmc ( 70836 )

      Wouldn't the more sensible approach be to avoid all browser specific hacks?

      Sure. But people want flashy, spiffy web sites -- or at least that's what the web site creators generally think, and so they spend as much or more time on how the information looks rather than on the information itself. And they may very well be right about what people want.

      Having several meetings about which _font_ your home page uses are _not_ unheard of, and the same goes for their use of java, dhtml, javascript, ActiveX

  • by spoonyfork ( 23307 ) <> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:36PM (#11608750) Journal
    As the de facto sysadmin of my family it's a one browser world [] (regardless of platform). There are only so many spyware/adware/malware removal sessions on Windows that I can do in my life.
    • Heh...i bought my parents a laptop - they are running firefox..they have never even seen IE. When someone mentioned it to them, they asked me about it, and i told them their friend is a moron - who are they going to trust me or him... It was the end of that :D

      Oh to show the brain power of their friend - he said he could convert their laptop (in less then 1 minute) to utilize the hebrew character set. It wouldn't need a special keyboard because the screen would be a touchscreen...i was willing to bet my c
  • by Xpilot ( 117961 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:37PM (#11608760) Homepage
    If you want the hare-brained opinions of the analysts doing magic 8-ball predictions at Gartner you gotta buy [] their document. Wonderful. Who listens go Gartner anyway? It's opinion is no better than Slasdot's. I bet if you dressed up the average trolling Slashdotter in a suit and have him work for Gartner selling comments, PHB's would still believe it because it came from a guy in a suit.

    • Sounds like a plan! Now I just have to get my mom to buy me a suit...

      -- Average Trolling Slashdotter
    • Let's not fluff ourselves up or anything now. The average /.'r rants and raves - sometimes with facts to back it up, but generally not. The average /.'r wants everything for free, and see's a conspiracy at every single corner.

      Gartner is a well respected firm - let's give them some credit.
  • by 26199 ( 577806 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:38PM (#11608770) Homepage no outcome at all. I hope IE, Firefox, and all other browsers have a long lifetime ahead of them.

  • by malcomvetter ( 851474 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:39PM (#11608777)

    ... but the question really is "Just how much better?" and "How long will it take for such improvements?"

    Has anyone ever noticed that in Windows XP, a normal user can create/write new files/dirs to the root of C:\? It's things like this that will need to be corrected if MS really wants to meet their goals of maintaining a secure, stable OS solution. ActiveX controls need to be revisited. Default NTFS ACLs as well ...

    Sure, there have been improvements. And for all of our sakes, it would be best not to rest on the laurels, but to continue the improvements.

    Competition is good. Especially in this case. Granted, if I was forced to choose, I may not choose MS for the majority of software I use (if any at all), but I refuse to close the book on them (perhaps I'm just optmistic)-- I think they could someday arrive and live down their bad reputation.

    Sociologists have proven it takes a minimum of 3 generations for social change. How long will it take for security to be cultured into MS?

    • Shoo, I would be furious if I couldn't write files wherever I goddam well pleased on my harddrive. I'm perfectly content with all the idiots out there running into problems because they don't know how to use computers. When these problems happen, one of two things (eventually) happen: 1) they grow wiser and become geeks or 2) they get frustrated and give up. Sure, there's a lot of collateral damage (like when they call you crying at midnight because they can't get manage to open Word to access their 18 p
  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:39PM (#11608783)
    there are so many PHBs, so-called "Security Engineers" and other FUD gobblers that it might just take Gartner proclaiming the existence of Firefox, before anyone in Corporate America listens.
    • So true. My old clueless IT director used to post Gartner group quotes outside his cube, next to his huge multicolor graphs of disk space usage, CPU time and other stats about our VAXCluster. The graphs were printed on a $14,000 large-format Tektronix printer, bought only for that purpose and used only by him. These are the guys who make decisions like, "From now on everybody in the company will use software X, because Garner Group says maintaining a heterogeneous platform isn't cost effective (85%)."
  • by alan_dershowitz ( 586542 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:39PM (#11608785)
    if IE would follow the fricking W3C standards. It's retarded this debate still goes on simply because MS doesn't give a crap.

    They could fix a few bugs too, it's getting old that you still have to jump through hoops to make PDFs open correctly in every version of IE from 4.0 to 6.
    • They could fix a few bugs too, it's getting old that you still have to jump through hoops to make PDFs open correctly in every version of IE from 4.0 to 6.

      Or how about something much simpler, like allowing me to print a standard-width webpage on a 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper without the right edge getting cut off. Seems like it should be pretty easy, and I can do it in Firefox ...
  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:40PM (#11608795) Homepage
    "OH NO! IT people, run for cover... Firefox might stick around for a while, but won't drive IE completely out of use, so you'll have to support 2 browsers!"

    Who are these "gartner" people, how do they make money by stating the obvious, and how do I get in on that action?

    IT people should have gotten used to a multi-browser (i.e. more than 2) world 10 years ago. And by "getting used to a multi-browser world," I mean, "welcoming the benefits of a heterogeneous software environment by writing standards compliant code, validating that code, and testing it against multiple browsers".

  • by ThousandStars ( 556222 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:42PM (#11608823) Homepage
    Mozilla and its derivatives can't "lose" the next browser war per se, because they're open source and protected by the GPL. More people can use them or few can, but either way they're here to stay. Talk of "defeat" for a foe that isn't a commerical company, can't be bought and is transmitted freely strikes me as somewhat ridiculous.

    War metaphors don't work. If anything, IE will have to coexist peacefully with Mozilla, for trying to fight it makes no more sense than a single man trying to fight a mountain by climbing it. That's not the world's most beautiful metaphor either, but it works much better than those related to battle.

    • Mozilla and its derivatives can't "lose" the next browser war per se, because they're open source and protected by the GPL.

      Nitpick: not by the GPL, but by the Mozilla Public License. The two are similar, but not compatible. And the MPL is less readable... (source: cliking About Mozilla in my current browser, and [])

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:26PM (#11609385) Homepage Journal
      Absolutely. What must scare Microsoft most about open source is that even if you won the "war", you haven't defeated it. Look at the lame ass window managers that continue to get maintained, because somebody out there likes them and finds them useful.

      When the Netscape threw in the towel that should have been it, but they open sourced their browser and it has arisen like an evil dead zombie. Microsoft can shoot it, knife it, dismember it, and bury it, but as long as someone somewhere wants it to live, it will crawl out of its grave to work its evil once more.
    • Mozilla et al cannot lose, but MS can! MS is doomed if 10% of PC users realise that

      (A) software can come from someone other than MS

      (B)That the MS brand means Yugo, and not Rolls Royce

      This news means point, and very possibly (B) also. (A) above has been reached.

      As soon as they realise that MS is not the only company selling software, People start to ask if they can have an OS that is not 0wned in 3 minutes or less.

      Anyone who asks me to fix a spyware infested computer is told that it would not have happen

  • What are the growth factors that are unsustainable?

    Does that mean that Firefox will never take over IE's dominant share of the market? Would anyone really want to see that happen?

    More importantly, what's to prevent Microsoft from releasing a new and improved IE as a service pack, instead of waiting for Longhorn, as a way to blunt the threat?

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:42PM (#11608830) Homepage Journal
    The way to survive, for both browser makers and users (and the IT departments that "love" them), is to stick to standards. GUI techniques will diverge, so help-desk paths through them will never be truly unified. But the actual use of data formats, network protocols, and even plugin APIs are most manageable when they interact according to the published rules, meeting explicit expectations of function and form. To take advantage of that consistency, browser makers can endear themselves to users and IT departments by fully documenting their compliance with those standards. Maybe even publish "use case" walkthrus of their apps, so everyone's on the same page.
  • by fajoli ( 181454 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:43PM (#11608846)
    Microsoft has for all intents and purposes conceded the non-Microsoft operating systems to the competition (Safari, Firefox, etc). Microsoft can't win a war they are not willing (able?) to fight outside of Windows.

    And day by day (country by country), that space is getting bigger as countries adopt opensource or recognize the risk of supporting a US-based corporation exclusively. Will Firefox continue to make inroads into Windows? Most likely. Will it be necessary for competition to be restored? I don't believe so.

    In the end Microsoft's own policy of a Windows-only world will limit their ability to fight the battle let alone win the war.
  • by mdmarkus ( 522132 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:46PM (#11608870)
    factors that drive the current Firefox growth are not sustainable

    At its current rate, every elementary particle in the Universe will be using Firefox by 2010. Clearly, that's not sustainable.
  • I'm guessing that it will be skinned. Like Windows Media Player. And it will be really slow, but no one will notice because they will have appallingly good hardware to run it on.
  • What war? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:46PM (#11608881) Homepage
    What browser war? How do you fight a war when the other side doesn't use your ammunition (profits)? How do you fight a war when the other side doesn't need to impress shareholders with market share data? How do you fight a war when the other side doesn't bother showing up on the battlefield, but takes large tracts of enemy territory anyway?

    What browser war? Some of us have taken our guns and gone elsewhere.

  • oh no (Score:2, Insightful)

    by suezz ( 804747 )
    I didn't read the article because it is from Gartner and to me they just don't hold any credibility with me. Gartner will say whatever you want them to say if the price is right. But why is it that when microsoft comes out with a new and improved browser (of course it is going to be new and improved) it will be the end of all the other browsers. I don't care how good their browser is I still will not use any of Microsoft's crap if it was the last os in the world - Puried
  • by GPLDAN ( 732269 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:48PM (#11608912)
    Highlander! There can be only one!

    It's a very Gartner "quadrant" thing to say, to be so deterministic. It's as if Gartner can only see a world in which one company drives the web.

    No mention of W3C or standards or the state of plugin specifications, or anything about frameworks for interoperability.

    These three analysts are Ray Valdes, David Mitchell Smith and Whit Andrews. I question the assertion that the growth of Firefox is based on unsustainable market conditions? Like what? That IE is insecure? If IE becomes "secure" will that immediately revert to the IT paradigm these guys are familiar with, where one technology emerges and drives standards?

    Could it POSSIBLY be that Gartner analysts just don't see a larger force at work, that when open source products compete on quality and stability and unify their distribution methods, they are INHERENTLY more desireable, even on closed operating systems, than proprietary browsers? Because the standards can't be wrested into corporate control and the IT industry is waking up to the benefits of open source?

    This is why I prefer Burton to Gartner. Burton papers tend to see things more how I see them. I have no axe to grind, nor do I work for Burton. I just encourage you, as the reading IT professional or hobbyist, not to revere the Gartner name blindly.

    I pulled some very old Gartner papers out the other day, and they were laughably wrong about web standards 5 years ago. I don't trust them anymore now.
  • by Ridgelift ( 228977 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:50PM (#11608939)
    Browser wars will heat up to the extent that Microsoft permits this to happen, intentionally or unintentionally. Microsoft is the major force that determines the outcome, despite other vendors' agendas for the near term. If it does not respond, then a critical threshold eventually will be breached in market share.

    The fact that Gartner is saying this has more to do with business and the stock market than it does about technology.

    Geeks pay attention to Torvalds and other techies about the technical merits. Suits pay attention to Wall Street and other business oracles about the financial merits.

    Microsoft is more about business than it is about technology. I care about technology, they care about money. When you understand that, you learn to tune out 80% of the crap that's out there.
  • Wow! I need to get out more. ;P
  • by nhavar ( 115351 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:54PM (#11608981) Homepage
    I'm confused. See I keep hearing that all these government guys get paid to promote and ensure that the there is plenty of competition in the market. Then I hear about 2 HUGE companies merging so that they can compete against the the only remaining competitor in the market. So now instead of 3 competing in the market it's just 2. And I hear the same government guys saying "Yeah, that's okay, we understand needing to compete, go right ahead".

    Then we hear all these analysts talk about how competition drives innovation, competition is good, it keeps companies agile, blah blah blah.

    Then we have groups like Gartner floating articles which in essence say Microsoft needs to win the "browser war" so that companies only have to deal with ONE browser. It's sounds an awful lot like winning the browser war means completely wiping out the competition instead of just holding a commanding lead. Why is it that there's a war anyway? I wish corporations would stop running campaigns against each other as if they were trying to channel G.W. Bush.

    Why isn't Gartner promoting companies focusing on a standard vs. a product. While I understand their profit model is based of of referring people to specific products that they review and track shouldn't part of their advice be to not rely on a specific product because of the potential for competing products to take the lead. Isn't part of the analysis they do predicting what might come in the future and how to leverage current products and allow for flexibility when markets change.

    Or are they really saying "There's no need or room for competition within the browser market. Just use IE if you can, until it becomes too unsafe. Firefox can't hold out forever, it will fail. Just keep waiting for Longhorn."
    • Why is it that there's a war anyway? I wish corporations would stop running campaigns against each other as if they were trying to channel G.W. Bush.

      It's been referred to as a browser "war" since back in the days of Netscape 4 and IE 4. I agree with your comment about the word war being overrused (it seems like every campaign is a "war on $foo" - we've even had a war on salt here in the UK), but this one predates your country's current administration by a fair margin.
  • War without End (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jjohn ( 2991 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:54PM (#11608982) Homepage Journal

    Has any analyst considered that there can be no winner to the "browser war?" Good gravy, war is certainly an easy metaphor to understand but its applicability to emerging and evolving technologies is tenuous. Better to call the competition by browser makers for the hearts of consumers a Red Queen's race. Do species stop competing for resources? Only the "stable" ones (i.e. thost that have become extinct) do.

    As for bracing for the horrors of a two-platform web world, that call is many years too late. Apple's Safari is likely to be the dark horse that IT folks will have to adapt to. I think Steve Jobs means to make a big play for the PC pie. The Mac mini is as reasonable desktop as any from Dell, Gateway or Newegg (at least for corporate use).

    In a perfect world, it wouldn't matter one jot what web client software is used. Browsers ought to be a whole lot stupider than they are. Just follow the meticulously defined W3C specs and lets all stop caring about "owning the platform." It's the applications that are far more interesting and carefully contrieved browser inoperabilities only stall the inevitable demotion of the underlying operating system to something akin to a really bloated BIOS.

    Two browser world? Lunacy...

  • MS doesnt care (Score:2, Interesting)

    by beattie ( 594287 )
    Why would MS need to upgrade their browser? They just embed the engine in whatever apps they have that they want to use it and let FF take over as the most popular actual browser. What does MS have to gain by having the most popular browser besides the most attention when there are security flaws?
  • Foo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:58PM (#11609038)
    Yeah, because there must be a winner. It's not like we can have more than one browser or anything. There can only be one.
    This is crap. The media fuels this idea of one player as much as anyone does.
  • Uh, that's accomplished, and then some, by instead getting used to a one-standard world.

    I officially proclaim us at (or beyond) the point where we can say "screw people with Netscape 4.0 or IE 3 or whatever".

    The existing differences between the rendering on the current versions of the main browsers (and most minor browsers too) are so trivial that a completely standards-compliant page can be made to look good in any of them, even if they might look slightly different in each.

    IE misinterprets the box mode
  • by pHatidic ( 163975 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:00PM (#11609063)
    This question isn't for me but I'm asking for a friend. Anyway I have this friend who isn't that good looking but he's a huge computer nerd. Thus at college he was able to get much sex in exchange for fixing girls' computers.

    His question is that since Firefox [] came out he is able to get significantly less sex due to their computers having less spyware and viruses. Firefox also has tabbed browsing. He is worried that if the Mac Minis catch on then he will be completely celibate. Do you have any advice for my friend?

  • I wish I had their jobs I could say with some vague certainty that what you see in front of your own two eyes is more or less what is really there.

    I remember interviewing there more than 10 years ago and they tried to impress me with their onsite valet service because their people work 1400 hrs a day and are too busy to go home.

    To do what? Tell me that the #1 and #2 browsers will indeed remain the #1 and #2 browsers for the near and yet indistinct future of some given and arbitrary timeline? And that sinc
  • all the dumbass programmers who were just thrilled when IE won the browser war because it meant only coding one website. Hello nitwits, you just cut your work load in half. That's fine until your boss notices and fires half the web dev team. I guess the thought never crossed their minds as the coded their IE only sites. I suppose it's also the market at work ("Hey, this guy says he'll code our page for half the price, but it'll only work 80% of the time, well, good enough"), but I don't think there's any in
  • The main reason Nutscrape died so horribly at the end (only the end part) was due to the "evil" things Aol forced onto the browser. I still remember in version 7, you couldn't do anything without running into some stupid link back to the netscape portal page. It was installed on your desktop, start menu, quick launch, tons of bookmarks, on the browser itself, in the toolbars, buttons, etc etc etc.

    It just got so annoying I dumped it for good and went to IE. IE by comparison was lean and mean.

    However, wh
  • Reminds of that line in The Matrix:

    No, LT., your men are already dead."

    MSFT will junk it up with DRM, proprietary media formats and way too many people are dependent on that security horror ActiveX for them to just abandon it. ActiveX is bloatware for your browser.

    If this is a browser war, then what we're seeing now is FireFox: Son of Mozilla. The browser that ate New York.

  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:08PM (#11609157)
    Gartner again, are we listening to them or laughing at them this week?

    Gartner gets ridiculed when they make comments "the crowd" does not like and gets exhaulted when they make comments that are liked. This is inconsistant, either Gartner is good at analysis or not, just to agree with them when they make predictions "the crowd" likes is not right.
  • Longhorn (Score:5, Funny)

    by null etc. ( 524767 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:13PM (#11609202)
    "Microsoft must deliver an improved version of its browser in Longhorn if it is to "determine the outcome" of the browser war."

    Fortunately, by the time that Longhorn is released, everyone will be running Firefox on Google's forthcoming operating system.

  • by bokmann ( 323771 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:15PM (#11609227) Homepage
    The average IT department or web developer shouldn't care if it is a 1, 2, 12, or n browser world.

    Ideally, we would all be coding to standards. Is your html compartible with the defined standards? XHTML, CSS, and so on?

    After all, my cable company doesn't think of this as a '137 television world'... they are concerned about video standards.

    Does the NBC Nightly News start up with a banner ad saying, "This broadcast best viewed on RCA Televisions"? No. That is just absurd.
  • by biglig2 ( 89374 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:39PM (#11609524) Homepage Journal
    This would make a good poll question if it was a lot stupider...

    Anyhow, I switched back to IE for something today, basically I was downloading and installing new firmware for my mobile phone, it wanted pop-up windows, and while I could have probably gotten it with Firefox, I like to do things by the book when the alternative might be an expensive paperweight!

    But besides this, in the last quarter, for example, I think I've used IE only once, when a terminal server was down and I had to fall back to an ActiveX version of the software I was using.
    (Gosh, could that be why MS keep activeX around?)

    It seems to me these are very specialist circumstances. Hell, I use a TN5250 emulator more than I do IE, and I'm a Windows-only SA with no Linux in my organization (Calm down dear, I'm working on it, I'll have a production FreeBSD box in every office in 2 months). So for me it is a one browser world.
  • by clambake ( 37702 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:44PM (#11609572) Homepage
    cant wiat for the IE virus that install firefox as default...
  • Not two....Three (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DesScorp ( 410532 ) < minus author> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @04:23PM (#11610166) Homepage Journal
    It's not a two browser world, it's a three browser world. And not even THAT statement is correct. It should be more along the lines of "It's a 3 HTML Engine world". IE is the only browser that uses Microsoft's engine, but the othe two are Gecko (Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox/Kmeleon) and KHTML (Konqueror/Safari). It's a pretty safe bet that most Apple users are now using Safari, at least those with hardware that can support it. As long as Apple is pushing it, the KDE folks can justifiably claim their browser engine is one of the big boys. And if you don't like those, there's always Opera.

    Ain't choice wonderful?
  • Anti-monopoly move (Score:3, Informative)

    by drwho ( 4190 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @04:56PM (#11610701) Homepage Journal
    The dominance of MSIE got Microsoft into hot water in the past. Now, they can sit back and just give a bit of market share away as to have ammunition to defend themselves. But there's a limit to what is reasonable for them to give away: If MSIE drops below 75% of market (or some similar figure), I imagine they'll have some defensive action.

    Sure, I'd love it if an open-source browser took over. But I don't think it's going to happen.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"