Time to Play Catch-Up for Mozilla

My colleague Sean Michael Kerner touches on one heck of a shortcoming at Mozilla:

Why doesn’t it do more to cross-promote its own projects?

Mozilla’s rivals certainly don’t share the same reluctance to aggressively cross-promote their products. Look at Microsoft, which hasn’t been shy about the practice. And now, Apple is being widely chastised by Mozilla execs and much of the blogosphere — that portion that cares, anyway — for doing the same.

(The blogosphere, of course, largely overlooks the fact that Apple’s been doing this sort of thing for ages, perhaps most recently with iTunes and QuickTime — not to mention pushing Mac OS along with its hardware, in a larger sense.)

As many have rightly mentioned, Apple is far from the only company pursuing this kind of tactic. The use of an updating app to push out new wares, specifically, isn’t new, either.

Which means it’s Mozilla’s responsibility to rethink its strategy, if it indeed finds recent moves like Apple’s so threatening, as it seems to.

Why doesn’t the group go to greater lengths to promote (as Sean suggested) Thunderbird alongside Mozilla? Both offer boatloads of related plugins and skins. And if you’ve already taken the plunge into an alternative browser, it seems likely that you’re at least willing to consider a new e-mail client.

While we’re at it — why isn’t Lightning or Sunbird seriously promoted with Thunderbird? One might think that at least some users moving to Thunderbird are seeking alternatives to Microsoft Outlook or other combined e-mail-and-calendaring apps. Why isn’t Mozilla making it easier for its users to get the same functionality by pushing a calendar app or plugin with its e-mail application?

As rivals like Microsoft work to counter the progress it’s made with Firefox, Mozilla may do well to consider that if it doesn’t get its act into gear, it’s going to have much more to worry about than merely Apple poaching its market share.

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