Tuesday Internet browser rival Microsoft sent Mozilla a congratulatory cupcake for shipping Firefox 5. It wasn't six feet tall with a bikini-clad bimbo inside waiting to burst through the icing. There wasn't even anything explosive or stinky that would bring the launch party to a screeching halt. Instead it was just a large cupcake sitting in a box, wrapped with a pretty blue ribbon and sporting Internet Explorer's iconic "e" logo like a big blue eye.
This isn't the first time Microsoft sent Mozilla a tasty congratulatory treat. The Internet Explorer team sent along an entire cake back in 2008 with the launch of Firefox 3, and then sent another somewhat smaller cake this past March when Mozilla unleashed Firefox 4. Typically the IE team sends its "love" with a comment like "congratulations on shipping," but seeing how the desserts keep getting smaller with each Firefox release, the IE team was reduced to writing the love note on the actual shipping box this time around.
So what's the point in sending the sweets if they're not laced with poison to take the rivals out once and for all? There's certainly nothing wrong with a little bit of friendly competition – competition is what drives innovation, and innovation brings us things like VoIP calling within a browser, HTML5 video and Farmville. And after all, even if IE and Firefox are competing browsers, Microsoft still wins in the end given that Firefox enables Windows-based consumers – those who don't like Internet Explorer – to shop for Microsoft products online, watch videos laced with Microsoft ads, and even use Bing to hunt down whatever they choose.
Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 9 on March 14 and saw up to 27 downloads per second, and over 250 downloads every 10 seconds, reaching a reported 2.3 million downloads in just 24 hours. The release of Firefox 5 was much more successful with 5 million downloads in 24 hours, partially thanks to its support for Windows XP. So essentially the cupcake is Microsoft's way of recognizing Mozilla's success while also reminding the Firefox team that Internet Explorer is still lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike at any moment. Oh, and thanks for the business too, gang. Take a bite on us.