Err – Hi Flock, you just made no sense

11 Apr
2007

I used to be quite snarky about ‘start-ups’ over at AJAX Review. I intended to do the same here, but somehow lost my way in between posting …

So first up: Flock replies to Mozilla’s Co-op. For those that don’t know, Flock adds some ‘social-network’ features on top of FireFox (it is a complete separate download, not an extension). Mozilla (makers of FireFox) recently announced Co-op, something very similar.

Conventional wisdom makes this a no-brainer: chance of company that requires a separate download vs primary company bundling co-op?

Personally, I hate the idea of such crap. Give me a browser that doesn’t choke, not one trying to be hip-and-happening.

Mozilla will likely beat them into the ground. The number of people who know about FireFox versus the number of people who know about Flock should be roughly 90% of the battle. Throw in the ‘actual developers’ of FireFox vs ‘external developers’ of Flock, and it just makes sense that Flock is going to be crushed (the FF product might not be great at first, but it will catch-up in iterations).

Two part argument by Flock, neither of which make much sense:

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First, Flock shares with Mozilla a passion to innovate and provide choice to online users around the globe. Mozilla’s interest in this specific area is an enormous validation of the premise upon which Flock is based: that there are today massive opportunities to truly innovate the browser…

That is nice. But last time we checked, you are in the business of making money. Yeah passion is a key ingredient, but all your passion doesn’t change the fact that Mozilla will be bundling in 90% of what you offer. I don’t see a single killer feature, so all that innovation doesn’t really matter right now (sorry).

Second, rapid prototyping and visualization is an important step in imagining new products and services, but the hard work is what follows. That hard work is all about making compelling new capabilities Dependable, Discoverable, Usable and Fun for average, active Internet users.

The hard work for Flock was convincing users to test them out. Inertia is an absolute bitch, and it takes a lot of effort to overcome it. FireFox does not have that problem – Co-op simply becomes another installation option. Comparing apples and oranges in terms of challenges (Mozilla’s only ‘problem’ is making the product decent).

Sorry Flock, but your goose is cooked.

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