Mozilla Matters More Than Ever

For the open-source Mozilla Foundation, D-Day wasn't quite the success it had hoped for.

Here, D-Day stands for "Download Day" and was officially held yesterday, when Mozilla opened its digital doors for downloads of its Firefox 3 Web browser. Executives were hoping for 5 million downloads, TIME reports. The count stands at just 1.7 million as I write this.

Hiccups with bits and bytes interfered as demand for the browser overwhelmed the Foundation's servers. Reports of the digital dilemma poured in shortly thereafter. CNET, for example, posted a timeline of, um, uptime. A headline in The Washington Times blared, "Get Firefox 3 (if you can!)" The Washington Post said the browser had been released, "sort of."


Yet yours truly experienced no problems. Every bit of research I conducted for this story was performed via Firefox 3 for the Mac, which downloaded in less than five minutes to my MacBook Pro and which digital newsie claims is two to three times faster than the prior version. Mozilla boasts of some 15,000 enhancements in all. Too bad more users didn't get to enjoy them.

They will eventually, for there are two truths to Firefox:

  1. Everyone who tracks browser usage agrees that the upstart is gaining a greater share of the Web's clicks.
  2. Thanks to innovations from Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE  ) and the rise of software-as-a-service business models from (NYSE: CRM  ) , NetSuite (NYSE: N  ) , SuccessFactors (Nasdaq: SFSF  ) , and others, browser innovation matters more today than it ever has.

Seriously, ask Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) . Press reports say Mr. Softy is working on Internet Explorer 8 for Windows right now. A beta version is available for download.

Who says the browser wars are over? I say they're just beginning -- and that the stakes are higher than ever.

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Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. Try this market-beating service free for 30 days to learn the identity of its stock recommendations and why they made the cut. There's no obligation to subscribe. contributor and Rule Breakers writer Tim Beyers has tried the new Firefox for Mac and loves it. He owned shares of SuccessFactors at the time of publication. You can check out Tim's portfolio and his latest blog entry. CNET is a former Rule Breakers recommendation. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is bigger than Godzilla.

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