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UPDATED: Why is Mozilla getting involved in the IE/Chrome Frame debate?

Mozilla vice president Mike Shaver has criticized Google's Chrome Frame, claiming it renders many of Internet Explorer's features "less effective". I have one question: Why is Mozilla getting caught up in the whole IE/Chrome Frame debate?

Mozilla vice president Mike Shaver has criticized Google's Chrome Frame, claiming it renders many of Internet Explorer's features "less effective". I have one question: Why is Mozilla getting caught up in the whole IE/Chrome Frame debate?

On his blog, Shaver is highly critical of Google Chrome Frame.

"Users who wish to render sites with Chrome can already use Chrome, of course, and should ... Running Chrome Frame within IE makes many of the browser application’s features non-functional, or less effective. These include private browsing mode or their other security controls, features like accelerators or add-ons that operate on the content area, or even accessibility support."

There's only one reason that I can come up with as to why Mozilla are so anti Chrome Frame - because Mozilla is worried that, after making IE a better browser, Google might next turn its attention to Firefox. After all, Google's not really interested in capturing a browser market share. What Google wants to do is get a foothold on as many computers and browsers as possible. Google will do this not just through browsers, but through toolbar, search tools, operating systems and plug-ins to make browsers better.

Given that Google has a faster JavaScript engine than Mozilla, there's no reason not to assume that Google might not try to shoehorn the engine into Firefox. The best defense for Mozilla is a strong offense, and so it makes sense to try to knock this whole Chrome Frame thing on the head right from the start, before people start taking it seriously.

Problem is, Chrome Frame is compelling technology because it allows people to switch browsers without really switching. That's scary technology for the folks in the browser business because it could start to erode the concept of market share, which has become the bedrock of the whole "which browser is best" debate.

While it remains to be seen whether Chrome Frame will catch on or not, it's certainly disruptive technology.

[UPDATE: And here we have it:

Google may intend to produce a Chrome Frame plug-in for Firefox, Mozilla's chief engineer said.

"The code is certainly there," said Mike Shaver, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, referring to parts of the Chrome Frame source code that indicate Google could crank out a Firefox plug-in similar to what Google released last week for Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE).

Could Google make Firefox better?]