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Firefox swings to the rescue

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Moz/FF

Firefox seemingly came out of nowhere in November 2004, and has since captured a market share of 8-10% worldwide—but close to 30% in Poland, Germany and a few other countries—almost entirely through word-of-mouth marketing.

And that has a lot to do with Mitchell Baker, formerly of Netscape but nowadays the “chief lizard wrangler” (sic) of a non-profit foundation called Mozilla, whose main product is a web browser called Firefox.

“The browser matters; it's the piece [of the internet] that touches human beings,” says Ms Baker, whose asymmetrically cut swoosh of red hair is reminiscent (“by coincidence”) of the Firefox logo. “This area shouldn't be stagnant; it should be exciting,” she says. Thanks to Firefox, it now is.

Ms Baker gradually found herself the leader of this project. Perhaps this is because she is a somewhat unusual member of the Netscape diaspora. For a start, she is a woman in a community populated, as one (male) colleague puts it, by geeky males with “spare time and no social life”. Ms Baker herself has never even written code.

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