"Hey there, you little boy-slut!" was Firefox's first greeting.
IE gaped his mouth open in shock, but the words were not addressed to him.
Opera huffed instead.
"Not anymore, you ass. And you should never ask a man about how he made his first million users."
This computer was getting a bit crowded, Internet Explorer thought. First there was that cheeky Opera, with his revoltingly different looks, and now his nemesis Firefox, who liked to mimic everything IE or Opera did good and came up with his own revoltingly diverse ideas.
"Stole any new feature from me lately, jerk?" Opera continued, apparently bent on the offensive.
"I don't steal. Ideas are not for hoarding, you corporate money-grabber. You're free to learn from me too. If you can," Firefox added with a smug grin. "Not that you haven't anyway, except you stuff them in your own interface. Careful with that figure."
Opera sneaked a look at his own frame.
"My figure is doing very well, thank you very much, not that it's any of your business. I'm fast and athletic."
Firefox turned around a bit, to better show off his own lean, sleek silhouette.
"Yeah, yeah," scoffed Opera, "wait until you can actually do something useful, and get loaded with extensions like a Christmas tree just to do everything I can do. Let me hear those jingling bells, baby!"
That's not what decent browsers were supposed to do, IE huffed privately. Browsers were just for browsing. Why should it compute your yearly income for you, when you had the nice Calculator all bundled up with Windows? As for weather, why, there were all sorts of sites you could go to, no need to have it lurking in your status bar like that!
And now these two intruders were eying each other and making some noise, acting as if IE wasn't even there! That was not what decent browsers did, sighed IE. What was the software world coming to?
"Ahem," IE said.
Two interfaces turned to him, and he suddenly felt very self-conscious about his own looks, and his careful prepared speech about respect and civility fell away from his grasp. Luckily, Firefox relieved him of the burden of saying something, because he spoke first. How typical, IE thought, not feeling grateful in the least.
"Oh, it's you," Firefox said disdainfully. "Knew you'd be around, since you cling to Windows like a leech."
"That's it," IE yelled. "You two jerks barge in on my ground, parade your shameless tricks in my face, and now you're attacking my friendship with Windows? You jerks haven't been around the web for as long as Windows and I have been together!"
"Why so bitter?" Opera said. "You're still leader of the market."
"And he's just getting a tiny chunk of it," Firefox piped in, "while I'm growing all the time. So you see, IE, it's Opera who gets the dibs on bitterness."
"You only get the herd of Microsoft-hating geeks!" IE exploded. "You're impostors, both of you!"
Opera and Firefox looked at each other, blinking. Oh yeah, they thought they were funny, with their banter? IE took it serious.
"None of you cares about the average user, who just wants to go online without, without being troubled and encumbered by a load of options and customizations and..." he stopped for a clockbeat, because his engine was running madly, and Firefox took advantage of it in the same time as Opera.
"...helpful features to choose from, plus security," one said.
"...security, plus a load of features," said the other.
They both looked at each other. Then they looked at IE, who felt a sense of dread.
"You know," Firefox said, taking Opera by the toolbar, "I think the two of us have more in common than either of us has with him."
Opera looked unconvinced.
"I care about the non-tech-savvy user, they just don't get to hear about me."
"So do I, my friend," both Opera and IE snorted, "my friend, yes," Firefox continued, as if struck by a sudden inspiration. "They don't hear about you because they think he's the only browser there is."
"Most don't even know what a browser is," muttered Opera, "and that there can be more of them."
IE noted with increasing horror that Opera had relaxed a bit into Firefox's touch.
"And that's where I come in! Thanks to me more and more people hear about such thing as installing a new browser, and that's your way to getting better known. As soon as you sort out that non-friendly updating procedure anyway," he added in a small font.
Opera glowered at him but, IE noticed, not in the hateful way of their earlier fights. And there was nothing hateful in the way Opera pushed Firefox against the wallpaper and pressed against him.
"Oh yeah, what's so great about yours, cowboy?"
"Show you mine if you show me that fast engine of yours?" Firefox grinned, wriggling his tabs suggestively.
Oh Gates, IE thought and covered his user interface. "What have I started?"