Browser wars: Mozilla exec calls Steve Jobs 'out of date'

Jobs has 'blurry view of real world' if he thinks Firefox will cede ground to Safari

Rivals may have been subdued on Monday when Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs debuted Safari for Windows, but a Mozilla Corp. executive yesterday blasted Jobs as "out of date" for thinking that the browser battle is between just Safari and Internet Explorer.

John Lilly, Mozilla's chief operating officer, focused on the part of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote speech where Jobs spelled out existing browser shares of Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari -- 78%, 15% and 2%, respectively -- before displaying another pie chart that showed Safari with about a quarter of the market, IE with the remainder.

"This wasn't a careless presentation, or an accidental omission of all the other browsers out there, or even a crummy marketing trick," said Lilly in a blog posting. "Lots of words describe Steve and his Stevenotes, but 'careless' and 'accidental' do not. This is, essentially, the way they're thinking about the problem, and shows the users they want to pick up."

Mozilla won't go away just because Jobs wills it, said Lilly, and he was irked at the Apple CEO's attitude. "Today's connected world is no longer constrained by the monopolies and duopolies and cartels of yesterday's [software] distribution," said Lilly. "The Web belongs to people, not companies.

"This world view that Steve gave a glimpse into betrays their thinking: it's out-of-date, corporate-controlled, duopoly-oriented, not-the-Web thinking," he said. "Every so often, as inspired as [Jobs] is, he says something that betrays at best a blurry view of the real world, at worst an explicit intent to bring more of the world under directed control from Cupertino."

As for Safari on Windows, which Apple claimed yesterday had reached the 1 million download mark in the first 48 hours of availability, Lilly said he welcomed the competition but didn't pull punches. "Steve asserted that Safari on Windows will overturn history, attract 100M new users, and revert the world to a two-browser state," Lilly said. "Don't bet on it."

According to the most recent data from Web metrics vendor Net Applications, Microsoft's Internet Explorer accounted 78.7% of the all browsers used last month, compared with Firefox's 14.5% and Safari's 4.8%.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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