Mozilla exec calls Apple's Safari plan 'duopolistic'

COO John Lilly says Steve Jobs' keynote last week reveals a "corporate-controlled" view of browser market that "betrays (Apple's) thinking."
Written by Jo Best, Contributor
Mozilla's chief operating officer, John Lilly, is calling Steve Jobs' plans for building Safari's market share "out of date" and "duopolistic."

Lilly made his comments following the Apple CEO's keynote speech last week at the Worldwide Developers Conference, where the Mac maker unveiled a version of the Safari browser designed to run on Windows Vista or XP.

In the speech predicting how Apple would expand its market share, Jobs showed a slide with Safari dominating almost a quarter of the market--a market shared only with a single other browser, Internet Explorer.

Lilly says he doesn't believe that this was an omission or simplification, but instead an indication that Jobs is hoping to steal people who use Firefox and other smaller browsers in order to run a "duopoly" with Redmond.

"This worldview...betrays (Apple's) thinking: it's out-of-date, corporate-controlled, duopoly-oriented...It's not good for the Web. Which is sort of moot, I think, because I don't think this two-party world will really come to be," Lilly said in his blog.

A browser market split exclusively between two companies is the "wrong thing to do" and would cause a dip in end-user experience, as well as ruining participation and engagement, the Mozilla Foundation executive said.

Still, Lilly went on to welcome the latest addition to the browser market. "Another browser being available to more people is good," he said. "I'm glad that Safari will be another option for users...We've never ever at Mozilla said that we care about Firefox market share at the expense of our more important goal: to keep the Web open and a public resource. The Web belongs to people, not companies."

Lilly, however, cast doubt on whether Jobs' two-browser state would come to pass, saying the rise of Wikipedia and Linux suggests that people are no longer content with the "monopolies and duopolies and cartels of yesterday's distribution" led by the big software vendors.

Since Safari for Windows debuted on June 11, it has notched up 1 million downloads. It has also seen a number of security vulnerabilities unearthed, resulting in Apple issuing three patches.

Jo Best of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.

Editorial standards