It is a world of Apps not Extensions.
Firefox doesn’t have an app ecosystem or a loyal core of developers. Extensions? Those were worth bragging about in 2005, but in 2012 the story is apps.
The idea of branded browsers as standalone pieces of software seems increasingly quaint. Google is setting a blistering pace and defining a world where a browser is simply a piece of plumbing that you refresh every few weeks .
Mozilla is stuck in 2005.
Microsoft released seven updates of IE9 to the platform preview—at a pace of one every 6-8 weeks or so.
Google released version 10 of its Chrome browser. Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9. And now, after an epic development cycle that included 12 betas, Mozilla has finally said “Ship it” for Firefox 4.
Businesses and consumers will want to use the same browser that powers their installed apps. In the PC space, that means Google or Microsoft. It doesn’t leave room for a third player.
At last year’s MIX conference, Microsoft talked about its new app platform, which is based on a simple design philosophy: write code once, target for multiple platforms. That’s the same space that Google is playing in. Google has an entire family of apps that are designed to work exclusively in a browser. There’s Google Mail and Google Docs, and more importantly there’s Google Apps Marketplace, where third parties are building project management, CRM, and accounting apps designed to work in Chrome. Microsoft has Outlook Web Access 2010, which is an astonishing replication of the Outlook interface. (If you’ve only used OWA 2007, you’ll be blown away by the improvement.)
Next year, I expect we’ll see a beta version of Microsoft Office for the Web that is designed to run in a browser window.