The non-profit, bent-to-innovate-the-internet giant that brought you Firefox, is now taking the open-source revolution to uncharted territory. Mozilla plans to build an open marketplace this year for applications that run across mobile phones, tablets and PCs, enabling developers to distribute and earn revenue, without the restrictions enforced by ecosystems like Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market.
Challenges & Opportunties, the World of App Developers
In its 2012 roadmap, published Sunday, Mozilla outlines the app marketplace. The gyst of it all is that the true essence of internet freedom needs to percolate down to the developer community where it counts the most, the bottom line. Imagine being able to have a revenue channel which virtually does not cost a dime…According to Ragavan Srinivasan, principal product manager, “Mozilla believes that the web is *the* platform and the entire web should be your marketplace.” Further, “to this end, we are building products and services across three different threads.”
This will address critical challenges that developers currently face, such as increased investment in building, maintaining, distributing and marketing apps, loss of control over customer relationships, update frequencies and technologies, fragmentation of the consumer base etc. In mid-2011, Mozilla announced it is at work on an open, web-based mobile OS. According to Mozilla researcher Andreas Gal, the initiative, dubbed “Boot to Gecko”, will “find the gaps that keep web developers from being able to build apps that are–in every way–the equals of native apps built for the iPhone, Android and (Windows Phone).” Seems like the company is really set to make a difference in the mobile arena, as it did with Firefox in the internet arena.
Mobile App Stores, Mobile Payments, the Whole 9 Yards
Mozilla will build a cross-platform web runtime, dubbed Apps/WebRT, that leverages their existing web rendering engines Gecko and WebKit as a base, and then add native OS integration for installing, launching and managing apps. Moreover, Mozilla also will build monetization tools into WebRT and the accompanying marketplace, promising a one-click payment experience. “Using our payment solution, developers will be able to enable 1-click experiences for common transactions such as buying a premium app, in-app payments, subscriptions and more,” the Mozilla report details. This is exciting, and let’s see how it affects the Apple App Store, Android Market, Blackberry App World, and the other giants on the block.