Full Article Attached Mail/News Performance Effort Underway

Friday November 2nd, 2001

Seth Spitzer today sent an update out about what the Mail/News team is doing to meet their goals for Mozilla 1.0. They'll be focusing almost 100% of their effort for at least the next two milestones (0.9.7, 0.9.8) on Footprint and Performance of the various parts of Mail, News, and Addressbook. Not only will they be focusing on it, they'll also be locking down their part of the tree and only accepting performance or footprint fixes. Very few exceptions will be made. Click the Full Article link to see Seth's full post.

#60 Re: Re: Re: unbelievable

by strauss

Tuesday November 6th, 2001 10:01 AM

You are replying to this message

> BTW, what "strategic importance" and "economic network effects" are you talking about? Whose strategy and whose economic network? <

The strategic importance of the browser is that the browser has become a primary development platform. Microsoft is willing to give away their browser for free because it is important to them that they dominate the market for development platforms. In particular, they were afraid that the rise of the browser as platform would make Windows irrelevant, and so they have been developing Explorer both as a fallback against that possibility and as a way of tying the browser back to Windows -- for instance, by undersupporting other platforms such as Mac and Linux, and by tying content to proprietary Windows-only technologies like ActiveX.

Network effects are an economic phenomenon of importance to devlopment platforms in which the value of each unit is increased by the value of every other unit deployed. The value of a copy of Internet Explorer or Windows or any other platform (including Mozilla) grows exponentially with the number of other units deployed because of issues like the greater probability of software being developed for that platform and the ease of interchanging data with other users of the same platform.

The strategic importance of Mozilla/Netscape 6 to AOL Time Warner is that it prevents them from being completely at Microsoft's mercy when it comes to their content platform. If they use their installed base to drive adoption of Mozilla, Mozilla will benefit from network effects ropughly at the point where it achieves a threshold market share at which many major sites decide they have to tune their content to work optimally under Mozilla. At this point the race becomes more even and AOL Time Warner is happy because it has more control over the content platform. That's their strategic interest.

Personally I do not like Microsoft dominance at all, but I would be much more enthusiastic about Mozilla as a competitor if not for the fact that (1) AOL Time Warner is at least as evil as Microsoft and (2) it doesn't seem that Mozilla is actually superior to Explorer, only different, and so far inferior from a development perspective w.r.t. bugs and feature completeness.

As for email clients, email is much simpler and much less of a development platform than web pages, and since these days you can exchange email perfectly well between any of the clients, network effects don't really come into play. That's why an email application doesn't have the same strategic importance. If email compatibility between user agents was as impaired as web page compatibility between user agents, it would be a different story. For instance, if people were stupid enough to turn on the "Use Word format for email" option in Outlook, that would start to feed network effects, but they're not that stupid for the most part.

Similarly, an HTML editor could theoretically be strategically important, much like Microsoft's development tools for Windows are strategically important, but since in fact they're all roughly equivalent and none is more compatible than any other (FrontPage is specifically tuned for Explorer to try to feed network effects, but it does not achieve that goal), there's not an actual strategic play there. The market for HTML editors will remain dominated by tools like DreamWeaver, HomeSite, BBEdit, etc. Netscape's mediocre HTML editor does nothing to further AOL Time Warner's strategic goals.