So Eric Lai reports (via slashdot). The article cites some people suggesting that this is so because Firefox does not woo the corporates into using it. I wonder if that will help. The traditional reason given for not using Firefox has been that the company has a lot of IE specific applications. No wonder many have still not upgraded even to IE7, in spite of Microsoft making it a critical update. So, Mozilla might not be the only one to blame here.
However, I think there is a bigger corporate culture here, which prevents adoption of such tools. More than the support factor, companies are worried that they might given more than enough power in hands of their employees. Yes, that is right. Tools like Firefox give a lot of freedom to its user, installing addons, changing themes, which pushes the machines to a certain limit. And companies do not like it. They feel that they are secure when they have everything under their control by curbing freedom of the employees.
And for this they build policies, most of which, in my opinion, are stupid. I visited a client once and was not allowed to connect to their network because they could not run their anti-virus tool on my machine. And guess why they could not; yes, it ran Linux! In environments which are so tied to a certain platform, using Firefox is a far fetched thing.
I can see what corporates might demand from Mozilla if Firefox is to be used in their environments. It is not only about deployment tools, but also about giving some kind of layered permissioning system. Not allow the employee to install addons, but allow some executive to do so, and then allow a centralized network installation of Firefox, which overrides every individual employee’s preferences. I wonder if people behind Firefox would even agree to this.
As for IE specific applications, I think corporates are too lenient towards development of their internal applications. And then these constraints are created to compensate for them. Somehow value and productivity are left far behind while discussing these things, and managing tools is given more importance than actually using them.