Of all applications, the browser is now by far the most competitively fought over. Four major organisations are each spending around $50-100 million annually on a free product, with regular upgrades due in the next few months:
- Microsoft: Internet Explorer 8 with a totally re-written browser engine
- Mozilla: Firefox 3.1 with fast performance and new functionality like native audio and video, plus the release of Firefox for Mobile.
- Apple: Safari 4 with new standards support such as a native database and fast performance
- Google: Chrome 2.0 with a streamlined interface and fast performance
Most of the browsers above are open source - the only exceptions are Internet Explorer and the user interface of Safari. Browser vendors have cooperated over the HTML5 and CSS3 standards. They also have common test suites and performance tests such as SunSpider. But they haven't cooperated as much as they could.
Perhaps a bit more cooperation would help them both move forward faster. Why not agree on a standard tool for developer help (perhaps based on Mozilla's documentation), or a standard text editor (based on Mozilla's Bespin)? Perhaps Google could take the lead with process separation, and Apple with profiling tools. None of this would prevent further competition in the main browser engine, but it would ensure rapid progression for everyone.