The maker of the open-source Firefox web browser, Mozilla, has been on the hunt for a new CEO for almost six months since the announcement by John Lilly that he’d be seeking other employment. It appears that their search has ended with Gary Kovacs. But who is Gary Kovacs and what does his appointment mean for Mozilla and Firefox?
Miguel Helft at the New York Times Bits blog brings us the answers to these questions,
Mr. Kovacs is currently senior vice president in charge of mobile products at SAP, the German software giant. Before that, he was a senior executive at SAP-owned Sybase. Between 2003 and 2008, he held various senior executive positions at Macromedia, and later, at Adobe, after those two companies merged.
Mr. Kovacs joins Mozilla at a time when its flagship product, Firefox, faces growing competition from Google’s Chrome, as well as Apple’s Safari and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. As it turns out, Google is also the biggest patron of Mozilla, which is owned by the non-profit Mozilla Foundation. And that makes for interesting dynamics between Google and Mozilla…
The Google development of the Chrome browser and its competition with Firefox, while being a big player with Mozilla, does make for some fun times—especially because most Chrome users are also Firefox users. I wonder how they will continue to view each other, especially as Chrome continues to mature. Comments from Kovacs and others on the Mozilla side seem positive about Chrome and they suggest that Mozilla (and Firefox) may simply branch out into other niches.
One example may be a mobile version of Firefox with a great deal of social media engagement enabled. Already a lot of products—especially mobile apps—attempt to centralize social media identity, but few of them come out of powerful open-source outfits like Mozilla.
I am briefly reminded of Flock—dubbed “The Social Web Browser”—which I haven’t seen much news about in the years since it first appeared. Perhaps we’ll see a resurgence of this idea from Mozilla’s new administration.
Kovacs has said his first milestone will be to ship the next version of Firefox.