Mozilla to Enterprises: "I Want to Hold Your Hand"

by Ostatic Staff - Jul. 22, 2011

Recently, we took note of the fact that some enterprises are complaining about Mozilla's newly introduced rapid release cycle for the Firefox browser. For years, Mozilla pursued a slow release cycle with its browser, and Google Chrome, over its life, has had far more significant upgrades than Firefox has had, even though Firefox is much older. For security reasons and more, some enterprises have opposed new versions of Firefox appearing at a rapid-fire pace, and we also recently covered Mozilla's reaction to these enterprises, which was largely perceived to be arrogant. Now, Mozilla appears to be changing its tune, relaunching a significant enterprise-focused effort that could patch up the company's problems with IT administrators.

 Mozilla's Asa Dotzler was quoted on ExtremeTech playing down the controversy over IT distrust of new Firefox releases:

"While IT professionals like Mike Kaply are left biting their nails, Mozilla’s Asa Dotzler says they shouldn’t expect Mozilla to share their concern. Dotzler states that Firefox’s 2 million-plus consumer downloads are Mozilla’s focus, not the comparatively small number of enterprise installs."

That seeming brush-off of by Mozilla toward IT administrators and enterprise users prompted quite a bit of backlash. Now, though, Mozilla Foundation is  re-forming the Mozilla Enterprise User Working Group (MEWG). According to the group page:

"The Mozilla Enterprise User Working Group is where enterprise developers, IT staff and Firefox developers can discuss the challenges, ideas and best practices for deploying Firefox in the enterprise. The group will meet monthly via phone and continue conversations on the discussion list as well as at an annual forum."

 This is a complete reversal in attitude on Mozilla's part, and the right move to make. Firefox and Google Chrome can't continue to take market share away from Microsoft's Internet Explorer without convincing enterprise administrators that these browsers are safe, secure, and thoroughly tested. It just won't happen. Furthermore, nothing could produce more distrust from enterpise IT administrators than statements that make it seem like they don't figure into the grand scheme of things.

Microsoft knows that, and it now appears that Mozilla is learning about it.