Mozilla Doesn't Accept Critics Saying Firefox OS Is Too Late
In the wake of Mozila's announcements regarding Firefox OS at Mobile World Congress, lots more details about its mobile operating system are emerging. Sony has joined several other hardware makers and said that it intends to deliver Firefox OS phones in 2014. The initial telcos that will deliver phones and services for it are now known. LG Electronics, ZTE and Alcatel One Touch will all ship Firefox OS phones in the coming months. Chinese company Huawei is on board as well, and ZTE has a strong presence in China.
But there are a lot of questions emerging now about whether this mobile OS is too late, especially given Android's dominance as an open mobile OS. Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs has addressed these charges, and he has some interesting arguments.
As CNet reports, Kovacs, speaking at Mobile World Congress, said:
"I find it impossible to understand how 3, 4, 5, or 6 billion people are going to get their diverse needs satisfied by one or two or five companies, no matter how delicious those companies are. Is the farmer in the Indian countryside going to have the same needs and requirements as a lawyer sitting in New York?"
I have to agree with Kovacs, who is essentially pointing out what Mozilla made clear in the first place: It will focus on emerging markets with Firefox OS.
Doesn't Mozilla have experience with getting a widely used software platform in place even when there is fierce competition around already? Didn't it do that with Firefox?
The problem with Mozilla's strategy in the long run, though, will be that even low cost mobile platforms will get more and more feature rich, until people little money for phones and services will demand full-featured phones. There is a reason that early attempts at commercial operating systems from the late 1980s didn't last. Effectively, they didn't keep up with the feature sets that the competition offered.
So that will be Mozilla's challenge as it basically makes a plea for fragmentation in the mobile OS market. How does the company keep its mobile OS relevant when it intends to keep phones and services based on it available at rock-bottom, emerging market prices?
It will be a balancing act, and we have yet to see if Mozilla can pull it off.