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Saturday, October 23, 2004
Om Malik writes with amazing insight here, "The Spawn of Mozilla/Firefox offers a valuable glimpse of what's in store. Firefox shall provide business opportunities for startups, established software companies, and Web giants alike. Firefox's open platform gives it enormous potential to hatch a new class of applications that live on the desktop but do business on the Web. Amazon (AMZN) could build a search application into the browser that lets users buy books without visiting its website. Google could make Web-based Gmail accounts behave like desktop applications such as Outlook. Word processing, calendar applications -- virtually anything could be programmed right into Firefox. This is a roundabout way to challenge Microsoft's Windows monopoly -- attempting to refashion the Web itself as an operating system where every bit of software is controlled through the browser. Companies around the world have also started using Firefox's technology to develop applications. They range from Edvisors Network, a Quincy, Mass., student loan company that developed an application for loan management, to TV New Zealand Interactive, which cobbled together a content management system.But the biggest opportunities reach far beyond the walls of corporate offices -- and most have yet to be discovered. That's why Firefox is likely to inspire countless startups selling programs based on it. One of those, called Cenzic, has built an entire business around Firefox, selling a tool that scans e-commerce and financial firms' networks for security threats. CTO Ambarish Malpani built the prototype on Internet Explorer, but found it hard to work with. "If you run into a problem with Explorer, you have no control," he says.
Microsoft has promised that its next operating system, dubbed Longhorn, will include a framework that lets users build Web applications much the way Firefox does.But Longhorn doesn't hit shelves until 2006, and by then it may be too late. Among the key extensions to Mozilla are:
FoxyTunes -Lets you control just about any media player (including iTunes) without ever leaving the browser.
Googlebar - Zaps pop-ups and searches the Web with a click; an unofficial replica of the IE Google toolbar.
Gmail Notifier - Alerts users when new Gmail messages arrive, using an icon on the status bar.
Sage -Monitors and aggregates new headlines as they appear on your blog newsfeeds.
As more upstarts like Cenzic flood the market with add-ons, Firefox will only grow more powerful. No wonder, Firefox is expected to touch the 10 million download mark shortly, even before its official release slated for November. |
|Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld