Lessons from the Browser Wars: On distribution and diffusion

A study by the Harvard Business School confirms something that I discovered when preparing a presentation on the Cola wars – that distribution is the key to diffusion – and other considerations are secondary. In case of the colas, the comparion only influences decision making when both are available simultaneously, but that rarely happens. How often have you seen Pepsi and Coke placed side by side at the same stall/shop?

Anyway, it’s one of the things that strikes you as fairly obvious when it becomes obvious – after all, how will diffusion take place if the product isn’t easily available. 🙂

Even in case of technology, distribution is the key diffusion and technology is secondary. Which is probably why most people still use IE instead of clearly superior alternatives in Firefox and Opera. With the kind of extensions available with Firefox (blogging, tagging, download managers, RSS readers, easy to use bookmarks, tabs, small search engine toolbars) I can’t imagine switching back to IE anytime soon.

Do read this interview of Pai-Ling Yin at HBS: Lessons from the Browser Wars.

Interesting quote about Firefox users: “those users are on the tech-savvy end of the user spectrum.”

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