Microsoft’s Worst Nightmare: Business 2.0 has a good article on the new front in the browser wars: rich client apps. Firefox has XUL, which is a language to create applications within the Firefox browser. This article explains why Microsoft should be worried about it.
[…] Firefox’s open platform gives it enormous potential to hatch a new class of applications that live on the desktop but do business on the Web. Amazon (AMZN) could build a search application into the browser that lets users buy books without visiting its website. Google could make Web-based Gmail accounts behave like desktop applications such as Outlook. Word processing, calendar applications — virtually anything could be programmed right into Firefox.
While I think the title of the article is a little hyberbolic, the abundance of extensions for Firefox tells me that this programming platform thing is headed in the right direction.
(Tip: Business 2.0 gives you two minutes of free viewing, so when you first load this link, scroll down and open the second page in a new browser window so you’ll already have it up when your time limit runs out.)