In the last few weeks we have seen Google come out with Chrome. All the news surrounding this got me to thinking what this really means for browser management on the enterprise network. The answer unfortunately is probably not much. Lets face it, which browser out there has tried to address enterprise management requirements in their solutions. While I do like my Firefox icon, from my initial thinking I am left with believing it is Internet Explorer. Tell me how the other browsers supply functionality for:
– Centrally controlled and scheduled updates
– Centrally deployable and enforceable policies for configuration options in the browser
– Deployment of internal CA root certificates (yes this may not be an IE function, but it is much easier because the browser uses the OS certificate store, and therefore the deployment and management functionality).
– Third party browser add on restrictions
While there may be have been attempts in the community to address these issues (i.e. Firefox ADM for Firefox), why should an enterprise commit to such solutions if the commitment of the developer into the future is an unknown. Guys, AD is everywhere, or its has enough of a penetration that surely its worth the effort to try build/support GPO enforcement options.
Now, we can look at it from a business model for the alternative models. Why should they care about the enterprise. The enterprise brings a whole heap of functionality requirements that the consumer space does not, and lets face it, the consumer space is much more forgiving and much larger. However, with the push into the Web console/interface for enterprise systems, by not supporting enterprise requirements the alternative browser teams are giving up on the opportunities for enterprise to require the use of more non-proprietary frameworks from their third party software vendors (bring on the death of ActiveX).
The majority of people may have IE forced upon them during their work life, which is a considerable amount of time. Naturally they become trained/self-trained on the use of IE, so why would they go home and not use IE. Its what they known, its what they are comfortable with. So you can argue that IE maintains its market penetration because it comes with the OS, but maybe the answer is not that simple. People are lazy and don’t like pain, so why would the general population even care about the alternative browsers. Those that have changed, are those that appreciate certain features and functionality, and therefore have got past the personal pain/effort barrier .
Consider this thought: “Hey I have to use Firefox/Opera/Chrome/Safari at work and I like it so much better than IE. How do I install it at home”.
So browser developers, give us real enterprise browser alternatives, and we will train our end users in your solution, and maybe…. Just maybe, it may drive your consumer market adoption.