The Original Alternative: Firey from the start
Phoenix, Firebird, Firefox. We’ve always had the fire in us. In fact, we rose from the ashes of the OG Browser War, way back near the start of the web itself.
Haven’t heard this story yet? It’s a good one. Let us take you all the way back, back, back to the ancient history of 1997 and 1998.
It was a much different web back then – Candy Crush didn’t exist yet, the word “google” was just a misspelling of a really really large number, and there were only like two players in the browsing business. Netscape Navigator was the pioneer, created by future Silicon Valley super-genius Marc Andreessen and his partner, Jim Clark. But sensing opportunity, Microsoft developed Internet Explorer and quickly emerged as the leader, thanks to the fact that they could pre-install IE with nearly every new PC on the market. After some intense rounds of feature-fighting, Microsoft was ready to hit Netscape with the KO.
So a lawyer at Netscape pulled the ultimate anti-monopoly move: she laid the groundwork to release the browser’s source code, for all the world’s developers to help fight the good fight. That lawyer was our Executive Chairwoman, Mitchell Baker. Mitchell became co-founder of this new adventure called the Mozilla Project, which started off as a small team but eventually grew into its own foundation devoted to creating an alternative browser. With lots of organizing, motivating, innovating, and zero collaboration software, the power of open source projects was demonstrated, and the browser that would become Firefox was born.
Here’s the thing about being open: we mean it in every way. It started with the decision to fight for an Internet that’s open to innovation and competition. It was pushed forward by a global community of volunteer developers working out in the open, with code that’s open to all. Heck, even our first foray into print advertising was an open effort (and this was back in the days when Motley Crue still held the monopoly on kickstarting stuff). On December 16, 2004, thousands of Firefox fans all over the world contributed their hard-earned cash to fund a full-page ad in the New York Times – that’s how a tech-world passion project turned into a global people-powered movement.
As Firefox and the web have grown up together – awkward phases and all – we’ve continued to stand up for an internet that’s open to any adventure you wanna get up to, instead of keeping you and your info in an ecosystem that makes profits off your back.
So yeah, we’ve been around since the early days of this crazy thing called the interwebs. And we’ve stood for freedom, independence, and people power the whole time. In fact, much like the fanny packs we may or may not be wearing RIGHT NOW, you might say we’re the original alternative. (Because yeah, we’ll say it for ourselves.)
And we’re rising once again.