Firefox OS: We Don’t Want To Be The Third Platform

Firefox OS smartphone

Firefox OS smartphone by ZTE, sold in Spain

Firefox OS was released earlier this week in Spain, and will be released next week in Poland. It’s a very important moment in Mozilla’s history. The launch has generated hundreds of press articles around the world and I see that in many of those articles our approach is analyzed as if we were yet another commercial company. Because our main competitors are publicly-traded companies, people tend to deduce that Mozilla aims at becoming the third mobile platform (right behind Android and the iPhone). This is not how I — and most likely many people within the Mozilla project — see things.

With Firefox OS, we’re not aiming for a third place. We intend for the Web to become the first mobile platform.

I’ll leave it to Mitchell Baker to explain our approach:

We build products that provide a great user experience and engender openness, innovation and opportunity into the technology of the Web itself. (…) We have always built Firefox to give developers huge opportunities for innovation in areas they care about. We do not seek to control the ways developers can innovate, or the way people take control of their software. (…) With Firefox OS we hope to do something similar with the mobile computing environment. We want to bring the power of the open Web to this world. We want to bring the same kinds of flexibility, opportunity and freedom to this computing environment that the original Firefox brings to the desktop.

When you think about Mozilla’s approach, let’s not forget that we’re a proudly non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the power of the Web in people’s hands — in other words, we’re not doing it for us, we’re doing it for the Web.