Mitchell Baker, CEO of the Mozilla Corp., blogged Friday on her agreement with the EU that Microsoft's anti-competitive actions in tying together IE and Windows together "harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice." Baker also discusses her plans to provide the European Commission the expertise and resources at her disposal as it produces its final findings.
Baker points out that Mozilla's Firefox is an anomaly in that it "made a crack in the Microsoft monopoly," something she says she doesn't believe happens often -- or at all. And Firefox is unique, she says, in that it is the product of a non-profit organization. That is good, Baker writes, in that it demonstrates the potential of user- and community-led projects, but bad in that it does not indicate the kind of "healthy marketplace for competitive products" that would presumably be in evidence if IE's biggest competitor was Google's Chrome or Apple's Safari.
Soul-searching around the question of whether it would be a positive or a negative to have Firefox bundled with Windows, one remedy that the EC is considering, and the ultimate price of gaining market share is weighing heavy on minds at Mozilla, judging from a PC Pro interview with Firefox architect Mike Connor. Firefox's global market share is over 20 percent, but that figure reaches more than half of the market in some countries. Connor says: "We are kind of worried about that monopoly thing." He does express confidence that the market forces will be adjusted such that no one browser product will be able to maintain a monopoly share, including his own, though it is unclear whether he is referring to EC action in that description.
EWEEK's Joe Wilcox writes today that the product stagnation and lack of innovation in IE that Mozilla's Baker criticizes in her analysis of Microsoft's bad acts is a direct effect of the U.S. antitrust case. Competition around the globe in desktop applications (not just browsers) is increasing, and Microsoft's IE 8 is actually a pretty fine product.