First, for new growth, Mozilla must make its open-source browser appeal to an even more mainstream crowd, one that's more interested in working and playing online than in sticking it to Microsoft or being part of a cause. Second, it's got to keep the loyalty of the technically savvy early adopters and Web developers that Google now has been courting with its Chrome browser.
"We have to do both," Lilly said in an interview at Mozilla headquarters here. "We have to be a better browser for your standard everyday user of the Web who uses IE now, but I think we have to redouble our efforts to be good for Web developers."
The world changed for Mozilla when Chrome burst onto the scene in 2008. Mozilla didn't see itself as complacent, but Chrome was a wake-up call that "clarified some of our priorities," Lilly said, including snappy performance.
"It made some things real crisp," Lilly said.
Indeed, in the months after Chrome's arrival, these priorities appeared in Mozilla's Firefox planning: "Observable improvements in user-perceptible performance metrics such as start-up, time to open a new tab, and responsiveness when interacting with the user interface. Common user tasks should feel faster and more responsive." And future versions of Firefox likely will look more like Chrome embracing some of its less obtrusive framing of Web content and applications.