Mozilla CEO On Chrome: “No Real Surprise”

Mozilla CEO John Lily cannot be a happy camper, but he tried his best to put a positive spin on Google’s announcement of their Chrome web browser via his blog today:

“Competition often results in innovation of one sort or another — in the browser you can see that this is true in spades this year, with huge Javascript performance increases, security process advances, and user interface breakthroughs. I’d expect that to continue now that Google has thrown their hat in the ring.”

That’s a good point. Competition is good for innovation. Perhaps someone should point that out to Microsoft. But I digress.  He goes on to say:

“Mozilla and Google have always been different organizations, with different missions, reasons for existing, and ways of doing things. I think both organizations have done much over the last few years to improve and open the Web, and we’ve had very good collaborations that include the technical, product, and financial. On the technical side of things, we’ve collaborated most recently on Breakpad, the system we use for crash reports — stuff like that will continue. On the product front, we’ve worked with them to implement best-in-class anti-phishing and anti-malware that we’ve built into Firefox, and looks like they’re building into Chrome. On the financial front, as has been reported lately, we’ve just renewed our economic arrangement with them through November 2011, which means a lot for our ability to continue to invest in Firefox and in new things like mobile and services.”

That means the gravy train financial support for the Mozilla project will continue for some time to come. Google is the default search engine on the Mozilla Firefox browser. That nets Mozilla significant amounts of cash. For example, Google revenues were $56 million of the $66 million that Mozilla Corp. made in 2006. Not exactly chump change.

I suppose at the end of the day he has no choice but to spin the positive and hope that a competitive landscape helps Firefox survive at the end of the day. I’m not saying that Firefox is doomed or anything, but Chrome is a 700 pound gorilla that’s going to be tough to ignore.

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