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Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs is optimistic about the future of the mobile web, but as it stands now, he simply isn’t satisfied with the mobile web’s accessibility and openness.
“We’re standing in the middle of a tremendous platform shift,” Kovacs said today in a keynote at the CTIA Wireless conference. “[But] I look around our industry and I see a lot of walls going up again. The reason we could plug in our computers and access the Internet in the first place was because we could agree on standards.”
Related: Exclusive video, Kovacs gets realistic about the mobile web
Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox web browser, has a reason to be agitated at the state of mobile web. With Google and Apple increasingly controlling how the web works on mobile devices, a player like Firefox could get boxed out.
“The essence of it is that we are individuals and we want choice,” Kovacs said. “It’s impossible for me to believe that one or two companies will be able to curate content and foster development for 5 or 6 billion people around the world. It doesn’t add up.”
Kovacs said 7.2 percent of the world is now using mobile browsers, but by 2017, more than half the world will be using mobile browsers. That means Firefox needs a strong presence on mobile on top of its fairly strong hold on PCs and Macs.
He said he hopes HTML5 continues to grow and that, with 3 million HTML developers today, the web experience will continue to evolve and native platform development will fall off.
“Someone in this room will re-imagine the way we experience the mobile web,” Kovacs said. “We have to do better. HTML5 has taken off. It’s only a year old. A lot has happened in a year and a lot continues to happen.”
The way forward for mobile, Kovacs said, will be openness, standards, and a common language.
“Imagine if we all spoke a common language,” Kovacs said. “Image the explosion of innovation that would happen. I can’t predict the future, but I do know that the future is sooner and scarier than any of us can expect. … I’m pretty sure there will be one thing we can rely on: the web.”