When Mozilla quickened the release schedule for its Firefox browser, it was trying to avoid falling behind competitors like Google, which releases a new version of its Chrome browser every six to eight weeks. The accelerated pace may have been a way for Mozilla to keep up with the Joneses, but it had the unintended consequence of leaving some users -- particularly business users -- in the dust.
Mozilla raised the ire of business users who had just finished getting set up with Firefox 4 when it released Firefox 5 last month. As it turned out, Mozilla had quietly dropped security support for Firefox 4 upon releasing Firefox 5, and business users were left wondering if Mozilla would be hanging them out to dry with every new browser launch, which now happens every few months. If that's going to be the case, users said, then we'll take our browser business elsewhere.
That got Mozilla's attention.
In a post on the Mozilla blog, the company said it felt enterprise users' pain. "A key challenge for enterprises is that they need to certify their websites, apps, and add-ons each time Firefox is updated," the post noted. "This can take weeks or months. Security is also paramount; enterprises need access to a version that includes all known security fixes."
To that end, Mozilla said it is "exploring solutions that balance these needs." Hence today's announcement of the Mozilla Enterprise User Working Group.
The Working Group, Mozilla says, is "a place for enterprise developers, IT staff and Firefox developers to discuss the challenges, ideas, and best practices for deploying Firefox in the enterprise. It will be a place to ask questions and get information about Mozilla plans."
In other words, Mozilla wants to bring enterprise users into the loop so as to avoid a repeat of the Firefox 5 upgrade/Firefox 4 support kill-off fiasco.
The company is serious about trying to engage enterprise customers, and with good reason. With strong competition for browser market share coming not just from Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but now from Chrome as well, Mozilla can hardly afford to take users for granted, particularly enterprise users who could end up ditching Firefox en masse. If the Working Group can hammer out good solutions for keeping the accelerated upgrade pace without leaving business users as collateral damage, then that's a win for Mozilla.
This article, "Mozilla aims to placate enterprise Firefox users," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.