In our previous article we were telling you that the history of browsers is more like a Game of Thrones and that “the Starks” (ie, the Mosaic/Netscape team) were massacred by the House of Microsoft at the Netscape Castle which ended-up by being sold to AOL.
So today we will resume our short story from there and start by telling you that the “Starks” had to flee the castle, of course.
But they re-assembled under the Mozilla Fortification.
During the Netscape-to-Mozilla transition, a bunch of 3 Netscape employees, that is a 14 years old intern named Blake Ross and 2 developers (Dave Hyatt and Joe Hewitt) started yet another browser experiment as, in their opinion, the then-ongoing Mozilla project was blunt (and we discretely skip mentioning their opinion on IE).
Their experiment was a success but its initial name, Phoenix (meant to express the idea of re-birth from the ashes) had to be changed because of trademark issues.
So it became Firebird, a synonym for the Phoenix, but only to face new trademark issues. Therefore, in early 2004 the name changed again to Firefox, this time for good and the experiment became an officially released browser on November 9th, 2004.
And once more, the rest is history.
Mozilla Foundation’s open-source Firefox browser became a worldwide respected browser in all aspects and, despite never reaching the World’s number 1, it constantly enjoyed a very solid reputation.
For a long time it was world’s number 2 (in some countries including Germany being number 1 most popular browser). In 2010 IBM decided to name Firefox its default browser for all its over 400.000 employees, while also recommending it as best-option browser to all its customers.
But how can a Foundation finance maintenance and development of a free product?
Well, with a little “help” from its “friends”, of course.
Among them: the House of Google, which not only provided substantial financial contributions but also provided some development task forces as well.
Basically, a “Firefox + Google = LOVE” kind of relationship.
But love is extremely rare even in a Game of Thrones, let alone in the real-life Browser Wars.
Google secretly started its own browser project too, so by end-2008 the Google Chrome web browser was released.
Which by end-2011 surpassed Firefox and became world’s number 2 browser.
Oh well, “c’est la vie!”