With the recent release of Firefox 5 and the EOL for Firefox 4 coming after 3 months some enterprise customers are complaining about the Firefox release cycle and the lack of caring about enterprises. I think those customers have a very valid concern and see this as a huge concern.

In 2008 I was working with a customer with twenty thousand users. They were running IE 6 on Windows XP and planning their upgrade to Windows Vista and IE7. Their budget for testing and : fixing their applications was about $12 Million dollars. It ended up costing $13 Million and most of the application incompatibility was around the browser upgrade. Those costs were just around the application testing and remediation and didn’t include any deployment costs.

That is life in a large enterprise environment. They adopt change slowly because the risk of making changes to 20,000 PCs, and having it break something important, is just to high. The cost of testing is high and so is the cost of making changes to 20,000 machines. So they stay on a technology for a period of time, sometimes painfully long. A vendor needs to support that. That is why Microsoft has the www.microsoft.com/lifecycle page so you can see all products support cycle.

I believe Firefox is going to need to change their support methodology or they will alienate organizations of any size. Their current methodology is fine for home users and very small organizations that can just upgrade their browsers quickly and with little impact.

For more:
Understanding the Corporate Impact
Firefox 5 goes live. But is it any better than Firefox 4?
John Walicki: We Have a Solution to Your Firefox Deployment Problem