Monthly Archives: December 2007

Firefox brand stronger than Netscape ever was

In the recent news about the end of support for Netscape, a few people suggested that someone should buy the Netscape brand and donate it back to the Mozilla Foundation. This made me start thinking about just how strong the Netscape really was back in the golden (?) years of Netscape dominance. While I’m certainly willing to admit I know little about brand strength analysis, I thought these figures would be interesting nevertheless.

Back in December 1996, Netscape dominated the browser market with a more than 75% market share. While pre-1996 statistics were even more impressive, the Internet population grew very fast, so the 75% market share of 1996 was more impressive than the >80% market share of 1995. Some 30 million people were using Netscape in 1996.

Fast forwarding eleven years and we’re back to present time. Today, the number of Internet users are exceeding 1,245 millions. Netscape hasn’t done quite so well. It now has a market share of 0.06%, translating to roughly 770,000 users.

At the same time, Firefox currently has a global market share of (very conservative figures here) around 10%. That translates to some whopping 125 million people.

firefox-logo.jpgWhy is this interesting to me? Because for a long time after the actual death of Netscape, I thought Netscape was a very strong brand, and would have agreed with the people suggesting Netscape should be given back to Mozilla to be used as the product name for Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox. But (quoting an infamous CEO): “Not anymore baby!

It turns out Firefox has a much stronger brand-recognition than Netscape ever had. Only veterans like myself could possibly be fooled to think otherwise. This is also anecdotally evidenced by the fact that few people know what Netscape is when I explain to them about the legacy of Mozilla.

R.I.P. Netscape indeed.

Introducing Ken Kovash

We’re getting closer and closer to Christmas. The days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting longer. Some animals now go into a deep sleep known as hibernation. Ironically, during this time of the year you expect to work harder than ever, spend all of your money on Christmas gifts, and stay in touch with everyone you know on the planet. How do we cope in a world like that?

My cure for the Christmas stress is, and has always been, Mr Ken Kovash.

Ken Kovash

K-K-Ken Kovash. President of the Mozilla Corporation.

Ken is like litmus paper. He is always trying to learn. He has one of the sharpest wits, he is intelligent, and he is cunning — that is a strange word to use about him, because it implies deviousness, and he is one of the least devious people I have ever met in my life.

Read more about Ken Kovash in next month’s issue of Tech Review.

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NSID – No Shaving In December

Since about a week ago, I have joined the noble effort No Shaving In December (NSID), originally created by my brother look-a-like Johnathan Nightingale of Mozilla fame. Here’s my personal progress so far:

It has just now started to itch, but I’m definitely still hanging in there! Have a look at the other member’s impressive progress in the NSID Flickr pool and join yourself today! It’s never too late to start.