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Re: Why I don't attend the weekly teleconference (Was: Input on the agenda)

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Sun, 28 Jun 2009 15:43:09 -0400
Message-ID: <4A47C7CD.7070008@mit.edu>
To: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>
CC: public-html@w3.org
Murray Maloney wrote:
> Like the banks, browser makers are motivated by big money. They are in 
> the business of maximizing return on investment

I can assure you that this is precisely NOT the business Mozilla is in.

It's not even in the business of maximizing market share...  It's 
explicitly a non-goal.  It's not even a means; the means is sufficient 
market share.

Having 90+% Firefox market share would be just as worrying, in terms of 
the actual goals of the Mozilla Foundation, as having 90+% IE market 
share...

> so one can hardly blame 
> them for not wanting to waste time and effort on features which can't be 
> leveraged into greater profits.

Mozilla is a nonprofit, last I checked.

> So, the little guy, without deep pockets and lacking a lucrative market, 
> has little recourse. We can join associations and working groups to try 
> to influence the decision makers, or we can vote with our feet by
> picking another browser, as you suggested.

Or taking either of the many (Chromium, Firefox, Epiphany, Camino, 
Konqueror) existing completely open-source browsers and making whatever 
changes you want to them....

But yes, for the typical home user voting with their feet is the easiest 
option, and possibly the most potent one.

> Our ability to influence the decision makers seems, to me and others, to 
> be immeasurably small. Our ability to sway the market smaller yet.

I think you're underestimating how much browser makers care about market 
share (up to a point, as I said above)...

> Lots of little guys have been justifiably concerned about banking 
> practices, but we have not been able to make that market behave in a way 
> that ensures sustainable growth, steady employment or dependable 
> retirement funds. We cannot trust our governments, banks, regulators, 
> investors and borrowers to manage their/our money well enough to 
> guarantee a stable world economy. Yet, you are suggesting that the 
> market will guide the browser makers.

The browser makers have a much more immediate connection to their users 
than banks have to their customers, regulators have to anyone, borrowers 
have to the ultimate lenders (looks like the electorate at large in some 
countries now, not the banks), or national governments have to anyone... 
    Unlike some of the entities you mention they actively try to figure 
out what it is users want.

They might have similar time horizon issues (worrying about next quarter 
more than next decade), of course.  Probably do, in fact.  At least some 
of them recognize this and try hard to fight it, though.

-Boris
Received on Sunday, 28 June 2009 19:43:55 GMT

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