Browser makers Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera reacted to news that Google is introducing a browser of its own, saying that they welcome the competition and are not afraid of the search giant's move.

"We're not worried about Google as a competitor," said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Norwegian browser developer Opera told Computerworld US. "Competition keeps everyone on their toes, and so that's positive."

Separately von Tetzchner told PC Advisor "Google Chrome borrows many ideas from Opera such as Speed Dial, the placement of tabs and our Quick Find feature in the address bar".

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Microsoft, also alluding to the new competition, sounded confident too. Although the company declined to make a member of its Internet Explorer team available for comment, it issued a statement attributed to Dean Hachamovitch, IE's general manager. "The browser landscape is highly competitive, but people will choose Internet Explorer 8 for the way it puts the services they want right at their fingertips," Hachamovitch was quoted as saying.

Mozilla CEO John Lilly didn't publicly hit the panic button, either.

In a post to his personal blog this morning, Lilly acknowledged Google's entry into the browser business, saying he isn't surprised that the search company had made a move. "Their business is the web, and they've got clear opinions on how things should be," Lilly said.

Later in his post, Lilly expressed confidence in Firefox's continued growth. "Even in a more competitive environment than ever, I'm very optimistic about the future of Mozilla and the future of the open web," he said. "We've got a truckload of great stuff queued up for Firefox 3.1 and beyond - things like open video and an amazing next-generation JavaScript engine, to name a couple."

Lilly struck that chord as well in his reaction to Google's entry. "With IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc., there's been competition for a while now, and this increases that," said Lilly. "So it means that more than ever, we need to build software that people care about and love. Firefox is good now, and will keep on getting better."

Apple, which distributes Mac OS X and Windows versions of its Safari - which is built atop the same open-source WebKit rendering engine that Google chose for Chrome - did not respond to a request for comment on Google's push into the browser market

Google has posted a Windows XP and Vista version of Chrome to its website. Mac OS X and Linux editions are planned, but the company has not shared ship dates for those betas.