TR: Obviously there has been a lot of focus on the ongoing EC investigation into bundling IE with Windows – do you feel that Microsoft is still benefiting from its past actions?
TN: I'm not the best person to answer questions on this because I'm not directly involved, but it is my opinion that shipping a single browser with something like 95 per cent of PCs is of course a very significant advantage and so the playing field is not level. It is clearly benefiting Microsoft.
I hope that Microsoft will make progress in this regard; the stakes are really high because we know that the browser is influencing the choice of the search engine so Microsoft is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Should they favour their new search engine Bing? I don't know how they will deal with that.
TR: You must be delighted that Firefox has reached a 20 per cent market share…
TN: Yes – I have been with the Mozilla project for a very long time - even in the dark days before Firefox - and at the time our goal and our dream was reaching 10 per cent of the market – we saw that figure as an amazing start and we knew at the time that, even if we reached 10 per cent, you can lose five per cent very quickly and suddenly become irrelevant.
Now we are past 20 per cent we think we are here for the long term which is great because we want to influence the web so that it's here to serve the users and we need to be there for them.
TR: And it's at a time when browsers are becoming increasingly pivotal in computing.
TN: It's true. Something that I do when I go to conferences is that I sometimes ask the crowd what is the app they would save if they had to pick only one and for something like 95 per cent of them it is the browser. You have spreadsheets, you have word processing and then you have new stuff like Google Wave.