Mozilla first unveiled its Firefox OS back in 2013. The company was mainly targeting the developing world and people looking for low-cost handsets. It tried to differentiate itself from its chief rivals the Android and iOS by becoming a web-first mobile OS; it had no native app but only web apps.
Well, that didn’t work out so well for the company and sales have always been poor. Not only did the smartphone running Firefox OS fail to ignite some interest among consumers, but also the market was already flooded with cheap handsets running Android OS. In an industry that depends on economies of scale, Firefox OS never really caught on and became a thing, and the company was spending more that it was getting as revenue from the business.
— Jane Finette (@janefinette) December 8, 2015
During Mozilla’s developer event held in Orlando (Mozlando), Florida on Tuesday, Dec 8, the company announced the end of its smartphone experiment. Mozilla said it has come to the conclusion that stopping any further development and selling of the Firefox OS smartphone is the best thing for the company. The company will be better off putting its time, energy and resources towards developing technology for connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) networks. Ari Jaaksi, Mozilla’s SVP of Connected Devices made the following statement to TechCrunch: “We are proud of the benefits Firefox OS added to the Web platform and will continue to experiment with the user experience across connected devices. We will build everything we do as a genuine open source project, focused on user experience first and build tools to enable the ecosystem to grow. Firefox OS proved the flexibility of the Web, scaling from low-end smartphones all the way up to HD TVs. However, we weren’t able to offer the best user experience possible and so we will stop offering Firefox OS smartphones through carrier channels. We’ll share more on our work and new experiments across connected devices soon.” That is not all, last week, Mozilla also said that it will soon be looking for new homes for its Thunderbird email and chat client. The company now wants to focus on areas of its core competencies. During the ‘Mozlando’ event, Mozilla also unveiled a new ad blocker, Focus that will stop trackers on iOS 9 devices.
Perhaps, it might be important to point out that the company’s Firefox browser market share has over the time ceded more ground to Google Chrome. Mozilla might be in more trouble than meets the eye.