HBS on Mozilla

I know this is over 6 months old, but even after 6 months it astounds me.

Two Harvard Business School professors publish a “strategy” paper in 2006 about the 1996-1999 Netscape – Microsoft web browser wars.

Economic and Technical Drivers of Technology Choice: Browsers — HBS Working Knowledge

The Q&A here with this highly informed professor is just chock full of gems of expertise.

Q: So Firefox and other new browsers, no matter that they have new features and refinements that IE lacks, remain at a competitive disadvantage?

A: Game over. Firefox and the others have to get the installed base of IE users to switch to their browser, a much harder proposition than IE faced in the ’90s when all it had to do was get new users to pick IE rather than Netscape as their first browser.

Either the innovations would have to be huge improvements over what IE can currently do, or a huge problem would have to arise with current IE use to create an opening for such a late second mover to make headway and lead people to go through the hassle of switching their browser.

Lessons from the Browser Wars — HBS Working Knowledge

I don’t know about you but anyone who’s reading HBS strategy papers about web browsers gets exactly what they deserve: information that’s 10 years old and out of date.