Mozilla is best known as the developer of Firefox, but it’s reaching well beyond the browser with a 2012 strategy that strives to use the open Web to counteract ecosystem lock-in.

Firefox embodied Mozilla’s attempt to counter the damage that Microsoft’s browser dominance caused on the internet. however now, as found out in Mozilla 2012 plans revealed Sunday, the non-benefit group is placing the crosshairs on different large competition, too: Apple, Google, and Amazon.

Those companies, along with Microsoft, each are building an ecosystem encompassing devices, operating systems, app stores, and apps. People should be worried about getting locked into any of those ecosystems, Mozilla believes.

Some recent non-Firefox projects at Mozilla have come across as dalliances, but the organization is beginning to sound now like it’s found a new cause worth fighting for.

Mozilla believes that the web is the platform and all the web should be your marketplace, one of the 2012 making plans documents mentioned.

The 2012 Mozilla road map documents detail plans to improve the Web as a foundation for applications, to create open, decentralized Web-app technology, and to build Mozilla’s own app store. That ecosystem-busting work accompanies plans for Firefox’s future, efforts to build a browser-based mobile operating system, and better handle identity issues on the Web.

Expanding the mission
Mozilla for years led the rate to modernize web browsing in a global ruled via Microsoft’s internet Explorer, but in many ways in which’s last decade’s aggressive struggle. while Firefox’s consumer base extended to the mainstream and made it clear that IE could now not rule the sector, the vintage competitive dynamic shattered.

In its place grew a browser dynamic that’s more complicated by far: For one thing, Google’s brought its power to the desktop browser scene with Chrome. For another, Microsoft came to its senses and embraced the Web standards that Mozilla, Opera, and Apple had previously supported on their own. And a new mobile era began, with Apple’s Safari dominating and Google’s Android browser growing fast.

In quick, the browser market is arguably as competitive as it’s ever been–and that implies Mozilla wishes to look past merely being a foil to internet Explorer. It opened a few explorations closing 12 months, however now it’s picked its priorities.

In short, Mozilla wants to liberate people and programmers from lock-in that’s spreading across the Internet landscape. Mozilla is picking its battles, but the organization appears to be bridling at everything from Facebook to Google and Apple app stores.

Here’s what Jay Sullivan, Mozilla’s vice president of products has to say about the matter:

We’ve entered a new phase of Internet life. People are experiencing the Internet from a wide variety of mobile devices, using touch, voice and other new interfaces. Their Internet experiences have become inherently social.

Along with the development of these new experiences, new Internet ecosystems have developed that are not very much like the Web: ecosystem owners seek to lock in users to vertically integrated stack of hardware, software, identity, and services, rather than enable choice, competition, and innovation at each of these layers.

Mozilla can and must continue to empower people with choice and control over their online lives and give developers the power and freedom to innovate and realize their creative potential.

When it comes to ecosystems, Mozilla is working to fight fire with fire by developing its own.

For its programming technology, it’s using the Web, and for its underlying operating system to run those programs, it’s got Firefox and a new project called Boot to Gecko that aims to build a browser-based operating system for mobile devices.

To that finish, Mozilla launched its internet API attempt to endow browsers being able to keep an eye on webcams, screen battery usage, and dial phone numbers; more recently it joined forces with Opera and others to marry that web API attempt with the all over the world web’s software API (DAP) challenge. Mozilla plans to exhibit BTG in the first quarter.

Mozilla also is working to improve the Web as a programming foundation. That’s work that’s been going on for years there and at other browser makers, but it takes on new importance in light of Mozilla’s effort to form a competing ecosystem and in light of the success of native applications running on iOS and Android.

We want the platform in Firefox to enable app-quality experiences and developer productivity that rivals native platforms, Mozilla said in its Web platform roadmap. That means faster networking, push notifications to get customers’ attention, better multitouch strengthen, mouse-lock to let other folks use the mouse as a sport controller so they may be able to steer with no need to carry the mouse button down continuously, give a boost to for the flexbox interface to conform layouts to varying display sizes, and a substitute for the web intents generation Google proposed so that you can permit a internet apps hand off information comparable to footage to some other.

And at a higher level in the ecosystem, Mozilla is building an app store, building off its existing add-ons download site.

Mozilla is building a marketplace for apps that work across desktops, phones and tablets. Through this market, developers will be able to distribute and monetize their apps, Mozilla said. users will have the ability to get, install and use their apps across all of their devices, irrespective of the underlying tool/OS systems. This marketplace will also be the one vacation spot the place users can find both go-platform apps in addition to Firefox extensions.

There are a couple differences between Mozilla’s ecosystem and its rivals’. First, it lacks any specific underlying hardware. Firefox is widely used, but not on mobile, and BTG so far remains a project without a real-world way to get it into the people’s hands. As Hewlett-Packard has shown, it’s hard to break into a mobile market dominated by iOS and Android.

Second, it’s an ecosystems designed to keep away from lock-in. Mozilla wants web apps to paintings on more than one browsers, to be available from other app shops but even so its own. To that latter point, it’s running on an interface to be able to mean people only have to buy an app once–not as soon as from every app store.

That’s in strongest contrast to Google’s Chrome Web Store. Apple’s app store for native iOS apps is one thing, but one gets the feeling from Mozilla’s that it views a proprietary store for Web apps as a particularly offensive abomination.

The Chrome web store is an unsurprising outgrowth of Google’s wish to distribute Chrome extensions and apps for Chrome OS, Google’s browser-based operating system. that can make life more uncomplicated for developers who best have to check apps towards a single browser–but it also undermines the cross-platform nature of the web.

Firefox future
Firefox remains a core element of the Mozilla strategy. That’s sensible, given its continuing if diminished influence, the reality that it’s the only reason most people have any idea about Mozilla, and the fact that it drives Google search results that provide the lion’s share of Mozilla’s tens of millions of dollars of annual revenue.